Beauty Balms: What’s the Fuss?

tumblr_m04tpjrjML1ql3mo5Before the Beauty Balm make-up craze hit I happened upon Stila Beauty Balm HD, and decided to try it out. I thought it was a good product, and it quickly became a staple in my daily morning routine; now I can’t open a magazine without advertisements for at least a dozen different BBs. So what’s the fuss? I originally liked the balm for its evening quality on my skin, and for creating a good base, with a natural look. I am someone who doesn’t like to cake on make-up or typically wear that much, so something light and fresh that I can put on quickly and without a lot of additional products seemed perfect.

Fastforward 6 months and beauty balms run the gambit as far as what they promise they do, and some have left me wondering if they really do anything at all. Some BB creams may give an initial feeling of freshness, or provide a good base for the day, but why are there so many different “types”?! I have seen them advertized as sunscreens, break-out reducers, primers, moisturizers and even anti-aging serums. Ridiculous! Why must we take a simple, easy to use daily product and create such a fuss! After paging through a Cosmo and counting no less than 7 BB creams, either as an advertisement or spotlighted, in one issue, I decided to compare and contrast 5 of the ones I  see most in magazines and on TV.

1) Stila Beauty Balm HD- Retail $38.00StilaBeautyBalm

As I stated earlier I have been an early user of this balm, the first iteration that I owned did not have any SPF protection, but the newer products do. They also have a tinted, bronzing balm on the shelves, which I tried in addition to the regular HD balm for comparison. The HD 10 in 1 balm I feel provides a great moisturizing base layer, that evens my skin tone, and that I can use as more of a primer before I put on my powder foundation or as a stand alone product. I did find it was better to put any concealer on first, then the BB for the most even blended look.  The basic BB does not come in multiple tones, so I would be interested to see if it work well on both light and dark skin tones, since mine is olive and this blends seamlessly. The tinted balm however, was a little too dark for my tanned olive skin tone, I was quite frankly orange. I have however found that mixing a bit of the tinted BB with the HD really gives me the best look for my complexion and more of a sunkissed glow.

Verdict? A 4/5 star primer now that they have added sun protection (which comes with a sun tan like smell which fades after application but surprised me when I put it on my fingers)  into the HD 10 in 1 balm, but the tinted balm is a bit too dark for my liking, and definitely not appropriate for lighter skin tones.

2. Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30 – Retail $37.00clinique-bb_300

My mother has been a long time Clinque customer. Anything that was in her makeup drawer growing up was from Clinque, she must have gotten every free gift promotion that they ever offered, because my adolescent bathroom has the evidence of samples and cute make-up bags to prove it. Somehow this translates to my adult opinion that Clinque is a make-up market staple and I was anxious to try their BB. As many of the newer balms offer, this has an SPF, but without as much noticable sun screen smell as the Stila HD Balm. As the name suggests, it is supposed to moisturize and sets out to provide some age defence (I am not sure how reliable that claim is since I am comparing for daily use). Unlike Stila, Clinque offers 4 different tones which I think is a huge bonus. The Clinique BB seems more like a concealer or foundation layer than a primer for your skin.

Verdict? A 4/5 star more full coverage BB cream. If you want something that gives a fuller coverage and is more of a foundation for your face this is defintiely the BB for you. While I don’t think a BB cream needs to be full coverage, it is definitely a good combination of spf, age defying elements, and coverage. Since this BB cream is more of a foundation it stands to reason they would have the 4 options of color, which is definitely a plus for different skin tones.

3. Garnier B.B. Cream Miracle Skin Perfector SPF 15 – Retail $12.99garnier-bb2_300

This BB cream is by far the most popular ad I have seen in magazines so I decided, though I don’t typically test out garnier products for anything but my hair, I would give this well advertized option a try. I previously haven’t really thought of price as a prohibiting factor since each container last several months even with daily use, but this is certainly a case of you get what you pay for. This was definitely less “lush,” than the other creams I compared. My skin felt more oily and I didn’t feel like I got the same kind of coverage as with other products. I also felt that though there was a good tint, this cream had by far the strongest smell of any of the other products I had tested out. Quickly discarded this one.

Verdict? 1/5 stars fort his bad smelling BB cream. I’d call this a tinted moisturizer, **NOT** a BB cream

4. Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 – Retail $38boscia-bb_300

This BB cream falls into the category of being more of a skincare product than a makeup product for me. It comes out of the tube white, and though its supposed to blend into every skin tone, it’s another BB cream that is created with light skin tones in mind. Boscia also doesn’t seem to stay moist for very long, you can only apply with your fingers because a sponge would immediately soak up all of the cream.  Maybe a brush would be better? Just too thick for me and is extremely quick drying.

Verdict? 3.5/5 stars . While Boscia really evens out skin tone, it is too thick for my tastes, and definitely not the best of the bunch. There is also a slight shimmer to the product, which isn’t really my style.

5. Smashbox BB cream – Retail $39.00SB_2301_430

This cream has the coverage of a light foundation, and I could easily see myself switching from Stila to this product.  Smashbox has the bonus of multiple shades for different skin tones, 5 in total, but left my skin feeling slightly oily. I feel it is probably better for someone who has drier skin, and not someone like me who is prone to oil.  I also like the SPF in this brand because there doesn’t appear to be much of a scent at all. Also in the plus category for Smashbox is the easily application – it is so easy to smooth on during application and blends well. Definitely the best coverage of any of the BB creams I tried out in this 5 product comparison.

Verdict? 4/5 stars for a non-smelly SPF BB cream with good coverage, even tone, and easy spreadability. The only drawback for me personally was that I just didn’t like the oily feeling I was left with.



Obviously this is by no means the entirerty of available BB creams on the market, there are probably nearing 100 of them out there. These were the ones that I had heard the most about and were some of the most affordable options. Do you have  BB cream that you use? Have you used any of these?

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About the Mrs.

Hi. I’m Amy, a newlywed living in Richmond, VA and obsessed with food, fitness and fashion. I'm always on the hunt for new, exciting trends so I created this blog to share all my adventures, inspirations, discoveries and recipes along the way.

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