What is BB Cream?
BB cream (blemish balm, beauty balm, or Blemish Base) is a cosmetic product whose aim is to even out skin tone by covering blemishes. It’s like a tinted moisturizer but better because it doesn’t leave your face feeling greasy like most moisturizers do. Even if you’ve never had a blemish in your life, some people find they still benefit from its use because it gives a light coverage while evening their tone and adding moisture to the skin. I really don’t know why some people go all over their face with it while others stick to areas where they have darker spots/scars/zits… maybe they’re afraid of looking white-washed?
I know some people who were resistant at first, but once they tried it, they realized that it’s so much better than expensive tinted moisturizers because you get natural-looking coverage. The cream also has the effect of evening skin tone and camouflaging discolorations/blemishes. And unlike makeup foundations, BB creams usually contain SPF 30 or higher (which is perfect for days when you want to go light on the sunscreen).
What is NOT BB Cream?
1.) This is not a foundation nor does it claim to be the foundation. It appears far too dewy in the finish (and in texture) to be the foundation. If you’re looking for a full coverage matte foundation with staying power, this isn’t what you need. This is a moisturizing cream with a bit of coverage and SPF.
2.) This is not a camouflage product. While the color tones certainly help to mask or camouflage, this isn’t going to cover up tattoos or other large marks/blemishes. It’s a nice little finishing touch that makes those areas less apparent but it won’t completely hide them if you have something like a very dark scar or birthmark on your face.
3.) This is not for people who need wrinkle reduction, anti-aging benefits, etc. Those claims might technically be true as applying anything to your skin has some benefit (the ingredients just aren’t there), we’re just saying that this isn’t going to reduce wrinkles, repair sun damage, stop aging, etc.
How to know which ingredients to look for in your BB Cream
To create the best homemade bb cream, you will want to find a cream that has some of these types of ingredients:
- Titanium Dioxide (physical sunscreen)
- Zinc Oxide (physical sunscreen)
- Iron Oxides (coloring agents)
- Allantoin (anti-irritant/skin-soothing agent)
- Licorice Root Extract (a lightening agent that reduces hyperpigmentation and brightens skin tone… if this extract is not labeled as “gluconolactone”, it won’t work as an anti-hyperpigmentation agent; gluconolactone is converted by the body into licorice root extract but gluconolactone itself doesn’t have any anti-hyperpigmentation benefits)
- Honey Extract (anti-oxidant, moisturizes as well as reduces inflammation and helps reduce acne as it is antibacterial… the only honey extract that works for this purpose is from Manuka flowers/ bushes which can be found in New Zealand or Australia since those areas host the specific pollens needed to make high-quality honey extract; I like this one and you can find it here )
- Grapefruit (brightening agent, also has anti-bacterial properties; there are a lot of synthetic alternatives used instead because they work just about as well but without the smell… if you want natural then grapefruit will be your best bet)
The Best Homemade BB Cream Recipe
If you have dry skin, use a moisturizer with no SPF in it beforehand. If you have normal/combination or oily skin, go ahead and use the moisturizer of your choice before applying this mix. The best DIY bb cream mix is made up of 1/4 teaspoon titanium dioxide powder mixed with 1/2 teaspoon zinc oxide powder. To that mix, add 2 teaspoons of your favorite moisturizer (this recipe will work fine with even the most basic face lotion). After that has been thoroughly blended together, add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance if you’d like as well as a drop or two of honey extract. Mix everything together until it’s smooth creamy and voila! Apply to the face with fingers or a makeup brush.
While this may not provide quite as much coverage as you’d get from department store BB Creams, it does provide well-rounded sun protection and moisturizes well so it’s perfect for daily wear. If you need more coverage to cover acne or scars, I would suggest either adding some powder foundation to the mix (start with 1/4 teaspoon) or using the homemade bb cream to even out skin tone and then finishing up by applying your regular foundation over top to cover blemishes.
Will this help ALL sensitive skin types?
Unfortunately no… if you have extremely dry skin that lacks sebaceous filaments (the little hairs on your face that secrete oil), this will probably work just fine. If you have extremely oily skin that gets shiny within an hour of cleaning your face, this will probably work just fine.
People with normal or dry sensitive skin might be able to use this mix but there is a chance it may cause some irritation. This recipe does contain glycerin and honey extract which can be irritating if you don’t normally use them in your daily skincare routine so I’d suggest using the DIY bb cream on one half of your face for a week or two to see how your skin reacts before smothering it all over (and test patch behind the ear like we do when testing anti-aging products).
What about people who live in humid areas? Would this still work well?
The recipe does contain glycerin, which is a humectant so this will probably work even better for people living in humid areas since glycerin draws moisture to the skin.
What about people who live in cold areas? Would this still work well?
Glycerin works as an emollient/skin softener that helps hydrate skin… however, if you are living in very dry or cold conditions then your skin may need something stronger to keep it properly moisturized. This DIY bb cream mix will not provide much additional moisture on its own (unless you add more honey extract) but adding an oil-based serum underneath would be fine since oils are natural moisturizers much richer than pure water can ever be.
Will this help with acne or redness?
This homemade bb cream mix is so sheer that it will not provide a ton of coverage for blemishes. if you have severe acne then use a thick layer as a base and follow up with your regular foundation. If you have mild acne, feel free to smother this stuff on without worrying about how it looks because this DIY bb cream is completely invisible on the skin.
What other things can I do with this recipe?
This recipe works great as a final finishing powder over makeup (apply over the top of your foundation and blush/bronzer powders) OR as an eyeshadow primer (so your shadows don’t crease and last all day).
Is there anything else I should know about using this?
If you plan on using the DIY bb cream as a primer (for both eyes and face) or finishing powder, make sure to use it within 2 months since it doesn’t contain any preservatives. If you’re only going to be using it as a moisturizer then there’s no need for that kind of deadline unless your skincare routine uses something similar every day such as vitamin C serum (but that would work great with this mix so I hope you’d have a spare bottle lying around).
What does she have to say about sunscreen?
Sunscreen is an absolute must especially if you are planning on being outdoors for an extended period of time. If you already own a bottle of sunscreen from the drugstore, use it on your face and neck before applying this DIY bb cream. If you don’t already own a bottle of sunscreen, check out either Korean sunscreens (CVS sells them in-store) or Japanese sunscreens which are nearly identical but ¼ the price compared to western brands.
Will this clog my pores?
If you have extremely sensitive skin that struggles with acne then there is a chance that products containing glycerin and honey extract may irritate or clog your pores. If you haven’t tried either one before and suffer from acne, test the patch for no more than 2 days before using it on your whole face just to be safe.
What if I’m allergic to one of these ingredients?
I’m not a dermatologist so this is just speculation… If you are allergic to one of the ingredients then there’s no chance that your skin will love every single ingredient in this recipe. Glycerin and honey extract are both humectants that can be extremely beneficial for dry skin but they might make oily skin feel greasy if used in the wrong formula/concentration. There are many oils, extracts, vitamins, and simple chemical compounds that might irritate or clog pores if an allergy exists. This is all just my personal opinion when it comes to adverse reactions when using skincare/makeup products!
What about natural preservatives instead of parabens?
It definitely would be better for our health and the environment if we removed parabens from the beauty world and replaced them with natural preservatives. I’m not a biochemist so I don’t know all of the specific details but there are natural alternatives such as grapefruit seed extract, lavender oil, rosemary extract, and sodium benzoate (which is also used in soda) but these might not provide the same level of protection since they’re not regulated by FDA standards.
Would she still recommend this for dry skin?
Glycerin works wonders on dry skin because it adds more moisture to our systems.. however, glycerin mixed with water isn’t nearly as moisturizing compared to beeswax/coconut oil/honey, etc. So if you have extremely dry skin, you could leave out the glycerin in this recipe but it would be much safer to add more wax or oil instead. I don’t know how well beeswax mixes with the oils in this recipe so before trying it yourself, test the patch on your own arms just to be safe!
What if I’m allergic to an ingredient?
If you are allergic then there is no chance that your skin will love every single ingredient in this DIY bb cream. Glycerin and honey extract are both humectants that can be extremely beneficial for dry skin but they might make oily skin feel greasy if used in the wrong formula/concentration. There are many oils, extracts, vitamins, and simple chemical compounds that might irritate or clog pores if an allergy exists. This is all just my opinion when it comes to adverse reactions to skincare/makeup products!
How often should I use this cream?
Sunscreen is an absolute must especially if you are planning on being outdoors for an extended period of time. If you already own a bottle of sunscreen from the drugstore, use it on your face and neck before applying this BB cream. This BB cream is light coverage so if you have acne scars, dark spots, or even just uneven skin tone then I would recommend using a traditional concealer on those areas instead of piling more BB cream.
What kind of sunscreen should I use?
SPF 45 is the minimum recommended by most dermatologists to protect your skin from UVA/UVB rays. If possible try to find an SPF 60+ because it contains more titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which block out a wider spectrum of ultraviolet light.
How much do I need per application?
A pea-sized amount is usually enough for both my face and neck area but everyone may vary depending on how heavy they want their coverage! The product in the mini jar may last approximately 3-4 months of everyday use.
Does this come in dark skin shades?
It would be difficult to make a dark skin BB cream because most (if not all) of the common ingredients might end up oxidizing and turning orange/yellow on darker skin tones. If you want to try making your own, I would recommend finding some pure cocoa butter and mixing it with honey/beeswax, etc. If you need help troubleshooting or have any more questions please feel free to leave a comment below!