Your beauty vocabulary may need to be expanded if BB creams are set to become your new best buddies. Never heard of them? Well, I suspect you soon will as they are all the rage in those beauty superpowers, South Korea and Japan. It is said that all Japanese women, whether teenage or mature, use at least one BB cream and every drugstore has a BB corner.

BB  stands for blemish balm and the source of their appeal is that they are the ultimate multitaskers, standing in as moisturizer, foundation, under-makeup primer, concealer and sunscreen. Originally, BB creams were first developed to protect sensitized skin after cosmetic surgeries like peeling or laser treatments, while providing coverage to conceal the bruising or reddish skin tones. They claim to treat various skin troubles like blemishes, roughness, discolorations, brown spots, open-pores while concealing imperfections.

In a very short time, BB creams have established a whole new category in the Japanese beauty industry: "All-In-One" cosmetics.

One of the first to have made it to the US, Dr Ci:labo BB Perfect Cream ($38), describes itself as "beauty serum, makeup base for brightening, makeup foundation, and concealer. With EGF (skin rejuvenator) and the effect of Crystal Veil Powder, dark spots, wrinkles, fine lines and dullness can be immediately covered with just one application of the cream, creating a natural radiant look for your skin."

I am particularly enamored of the fact that the Japanese boom was triggered by the TV appearance of a popular transvestite and makeup artist called IKKO. Her personal favorite is MISSHA M Perfect Cover BB Cream. Although MISSHA’s ingredients include the skin brightener arbutin and a good handful of botanicals plus collagen, it doesn’t on the face of it look worthy of cult status. However, reviewers tend to rave – particularly those that haven’t before found a foundation to love.

Ingredients in MISSHA

Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cetyl PEF/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Zinc Oxide, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Arbutin, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Hydrolysed Collagen, Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Squalane, Caviar Extract, Adenosine, Algae Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide 3, Chamomila Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxycitronellal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citronellol. MAY CONTAIN [+/-; Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)