According to TIA reader, Ha, BB cream is huge in Asia. Marta wrote about blemish balm cream and its incredible ability to moisturize, lighten and brighten skin tone, conceal, and act as both a foundation and sunscreen. Ha was given several tubes of Kiss Me, Heroine Make Essence in BB Cream, but wanted to make sure that she wasn’t “smearing poison” on her face before she began using it regularly, which I think was a pretty smart move.

It was something of a challenge to give an answer though as this particular BB Cream has packaging that is printed in Japanese, I searched the web for an English translation.

As it turns out, there are plenty of people out in the blogosphere who have tried and reviewed Kiss Me BB Cream. The majority of the reviews are positive, claiming that it works wonders as a multitasking skin care and makeup product. According to an English description of the product, the multi-functional cream provides seven effects: corrects pores, repairs, reduces dullness, acts as a liquid foundation, protects against UV rays, relieves dry skin, controls oil, and absorbs excess sebum (an oily substance that naturally lubricates skin), which prevents makeup from coming off. Its key ingredients are super-hyaluronic acid (binds water and promotes collagen formation) and nano collagen.

As magical as that all sounds, there are some downsides to Kiss Me BB Cream ($13). That same description claims that the color of the product is “compatible with the skin of Japanese.” Perhaps the most frustrating thing about not just this particular BB cream, but all of them in general, is that they come in only one or maybe two shades if you’re lucky. There is no way that the shades available are compatible with darker skin, and even people who have light skin but do not have yellow undertones may have a hard time matching a BB Cream to their complexions.

The other issue is Kiss Me BB Cream’s ingredients (see below for a full list). Now, I wouldn’t say that each ingredient individually is anything especially worrying, but taken together, I don’t feel comfortable recommending this particular BB cream. My main concern is the amount of silicones included in the serum; the very first ingredient (after water) is Cyclomethicone, a synthetic silicone oil. There is also PEG-9 Dimethicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, and Methicone, all of which are either silicone or silicone derivatives. Silicone, while approved for use in cosmetics (because the molecules are too big to be absorbed into skin), is quite controversial; it has been linked to cancer and many people are allergic to it. Although it is used to give skin that silky smooth feeling, it only moisturizes at a superficial level. Other than silicone, Kiss Me BB Cream also contains talc (linked to toxicity and cancer), PEG-10 and methyl paraben.

Still, just because this one brand of BB Cream may not live up to TIA’s stringent standards doesn’t mean that you should stay away from all of these multi purpose creams. In searching for a BB Cream with safer ingredients, I came across a product called BRTC Jasmine Water BB Cream ($17.60). Not only are its ingredients (see below for a full list) less hazardous than Kiss Me BB Cream’s, but also it is well reviewed on various forums. It functions as a whitening, wrinkle repairing sun block (SPF 30). One of its main ingredients, arbutin, is a melanin inhibitor that doesn’t appear to have adverse side effects. Adenosine, another ingredient, is an anti-inflammatory. Other components include jasmine extract, portulaca oleracea (full of omega 3 fatty acids), green tea water and aloe vera gel. The negatives are that it contains two preservatives (parahydroxybenzoate and phenoxyethanol) but, overall, the good may outweigh the bad – especially if you want to reap the benefits of BB cream’s versatility.

Ingredients in Kiss Me, Heroine Make Essence in BB Cream:

Water, Cyclomethicone, PG, Triethylhexanoin, Zinc Oxide, PEG-9 Dimethicone, Phytosteryl / Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Phenyl trimethicone, Cellulose, Camomile extract, Acetyl hyaluronic acid Na, Rosa canina fruit extract, Hydrolyzed collagen, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Aluminum Hydroxide, Dimethicone, Stearic acid, Sodium citric acid, Polymethylmethacrylate, Methicone, BG, Talc, (dimethicone / (PEG-10 / 15) crosspolymer, Methyl Paraben, (dimethicone / vinyl dimethicone) crosspolymer, Titanium Oxide, Iron oxide, Mica



Ingredients in BRTC Jasmine Water BB Cream

Functioning Ingredients: Arbutin, Adenosine, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate

Ingredients: Jasmine Extract, Sweet Almond Oil, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, White Birch Extract, Green Tea Water, Madecassosid, Aloe Vera Gel

Marked Ingredients: Parahydroxybenzoate, Phenoxyethanol