Face Makeup

Beauty Q: Are There BB Creams For Darker Skin Tones?

The shade range is limited, but BB creams aren't your typical foundation

Photo by Anthea Simms

BB (Beauty Balm) creams are the beauty product of the moment because they’re multi-taskers that act as primer, foundation, sunscreen, illuminator and anti-aging moisturizer all in one. When several editors on our team recently tested out a slew of new BBs, one concerned reader, @Karen_Alexa, tweeted saying that it’s “another product unavail for black women.”

Karen’s definitely right that many brands have a narrow BB colour line-up and have yet to expand to a wider range of shades, especially for dark, chocolate tones, but BB creams aren’t as limiting as they appear at first glance. Unlike a foundation, a BB cream gives a veil of colour to mask discolouration or faint blemishes. It blends with the skin, taking on the skin tone’s qualities while adding a hint of a dewy or satin finish with added benefits like SPF. The bottom line: The shade of the BB on the swatch doesn’t have to perfectly match your skin tone. Thank goodness!

Beauty Tip: There’s flexibility, but that doesn’t mean that someone with a warm, honey-toned complexion can get away with an über pale, cool-toned shade. Try to match your BB to your skin’s undertones. If you have cool undertones (pinkish skin, tendency to burn, blue veins on forearm), you need a BB with a pinkish tint. If you have warm undertones (yellow or peachy skin, tendency to tan, green veins on forearm), you need a yellow or peachy tint. Also go for brands that have the deepest colour selection and don’t get freaked out by the shade in the bottle; most BBs go on very sheer and will let your skin shine through. Blend the cream along your jawline to check if it will work for you. To darken the shade, mix in a little of your favourite foundation.

A few of our favourites:

1.  Maybelline Dream Fresh BB in Deep Sheer Tint, $11, at mass market retailers.
2.  M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++ in Golden Beige, $24, missha.ca.
3.  Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream in Dark, $50, sephora.com.
4.  Gosh BB Cream in Chestnut, $22, launching at Shoppers Drug Mart in September.

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