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The first mass CC cream to be introduced in the U.S., the biggest market in the world for color cosmetics (by retail sales), was Olay Total Effects CC Tone Correcting Line, which arrived on shelves toward the end of 2012. The brand claims to treat seven signs of aging, as well as providing color correction and UV protection. It hits all the right spots, but in multiple categories—and that might encourage brand cannibalization trends going forward.
The CC development is clever, and like BB, the trend originally came from Asia. In effect, CC creams have taken a concept that has worked extremely well and given it a marketing overhaul just at the moment when demand was starting to look vulnerable. The world’s biggest soft drink manufacturers activate this re-branding strategy all the time in order to stay ahead of the game. And it works.
Make no mistake about it. CC creams and their spin-offs will be a big hit in Western markets in 2013—and they could blur the boundaries between skin care and makeup even more than BB creams. And as yet, it is unclear whether that will have negative implications over the long-term.
It might be that consumers simply get used to what, in effect, is a new and fast-growing beauty care category, made up of skin care/makeup hybrids.
Excerpt from “Multifunctionality: The Sweet (and Sour) Spot for Color Cosmetics” by Rob Walker, Euromonitor International, originally published in April 2013 in GCI.
Like other products, the answer lies in the ingredients. As with any formulation, the active ingredients and their concentration determine a BB cream’s efficacy. Depending on the formulation, the efficacy of anti-aging actives could be less than one that concentrates on a particular concern, such as brightening, or treating fine lines and wrinkles. Consumers who are more interested in treating a single condition might not be satisfied by using a multifunctional BB cream.
However, BB creams provide an option for those who don’t have the time or the desire to apply multiple products in the morning. For women on the go, the all-in-one formula provides most of the benefits they need to get out the door, offering an anti-aging boost without much effort. By swapping a regular foundation with one that also has sunscreen and anti-aging benefits on a daily basis, mature clients who might not otherwise use these products should notice a difference.
In most cases, the benefits—whether they be lightening or firming—are gradual. It’s important that consumers understand that the coverage, as well as the benefits, are best layered and acquired throughout time.
Men are also getting in on the action. About two years ago, the Korea Times reported a new trend among males purchasing personal grooming items beyond the typical aftershave, with eye and night creams, and BB creams now on their radar. As with their female counterparts, men like the “bare-faced” coverage these creams afford.
Excerpt from “BB Creams: Beauty Balms, Blemish Base or Just Brilliant Beauty?” by Sam Dhatt, DermaQuest Skin Therapy and Allure Labs, originally published in the January 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Editor’s note: An unabridged version of this article, including formulas and additional technical content, ran in the February 2013 issue of GCI sister publication Cosmetics & Toiletries. All rights reserved.
BB cream has its origins in northern Germany in the 1960s, where dermatologist Christine Schrammek, MD, invented it to protect the skin of one of her surgically treated patients.1 These creams did not become popular until they were introduced to Korea in 1985, where they currently occupy a large market share of the beauty market. Skin lightening had been commonplace in Asia, but modern skin-lightening products such as BB creams differ greatly from those used in the past. In Japan, the Geisha adopted many methods to lighten the face color, including the application of heavy, white makeup. Following folk tradition, Chinese women ingested minced pearls to obtain skin lightening, and past lightening products have been formulated with phenol derivatives such as hydroquinone, which has been associated with side effects. Alternatives included foundations that imparted heavy, unnatural results. Tinted moisturizers were then introduced, which were less binding and offered some pigments, but did not correct underlying skin color.
A fundamental principle of color and light physics became clear, as understood by Japanese and Korean women—a complexion cannot be bright if it does not receive illumination from the lower skin layers. This principle was well-known by painters of the Renaissance who prepared the base of the canvas with a bright white to allow pigments to perform with enhanced shine and brightness. Similarly, Asian women have been known to apply a thin layer of cream or “base” containing white pigments and fillers first to enhance the luminosity of skin tone provided by the foundation that followed.
BB stands for “blemish balm” in Asia or “beauty balm” in some parts of Europe. It is defined loosely as product that combines serum, moisturizer, base cream, foundation and sunscreen in one. The success of BB creams has been aided by the discovery of spheronized pigments coated with layers of transparent materials. BB creams must be multifunctional, easy to use, have immediate results and impart a natural look. Only recently have BB creams seen popularity in the Western world, where large beauty brands have launched their versions to eager consumers.
In general, BB creams consist of oil-in-water (o/w) emulsions of medium to medium, low viscosity (creams and lotions) with easy application. This form allows the contemporary application of both hydrosoluble and oil-soluble ingredients and provides better delivery, light cooling effects and quick drying after distribution. The final perception of absorption, typical of an o/w emulsion, is also guaranteed and supported by adequate amounts of emulsifiers. In BB creams, emulsifiers are generally used at slightly higher amounts than in standard emulsions.
The skin color of consumers purchasing BB creams varies widely; therefore, opacifying effects in these formulations also vary from strong to delicate. These are obtained with fillers like kaolin and synthetic mica, but mostly using mineral pigments. To provide a natural appearance and invisible coverage, mineral pigments are coated with layers of equalizing agents, which allow for a special reflection of the illuminating light. Amino acid and silicone are the most successful coating agents for their compatibility with skin proteins and their inertness.
Titanium dioxide, providing the white opacity effect, is frequently accompanied by iron oxides (also in their coated form) to obtain light skin colors. The proper selection of pigments is related to matching the complexion of a specific market. In general, Eastern countries require a higher hiding effect while Western products are more transparent.
In general, the amount of mineral pigments in BB creams is noticeably lower than in foundations, varying between 0.5–5%. The hiding and wrinkle-concealing effect is obtained with soft-focus filling ingredients that optically mask the wrinkle signs.
For skin lightening and illumination, the most successful skin-lightening actives remain vitamin C and its hydrophilic and lipophilic derivatives, which are well tolerated by the skin and promote the production of collagen fibers. They need to be protected from oxidation in the formula with sulfites.
In the skin-lightener market, many raw material suppliers offer several alternatives. In a patent, an adenosine derivative is reported to depigment the skin.2 In another patent, the illumination is provided by micron-sized titanium dioxide combined with pearls coated with a combination of titanium dioxide, mica and silica.3
An array of vegetal extracts are also the source of several efficacy claims related to BB creams. Among them, Portulaca oleracae extract is used to support the efficacy of vitamin C by providing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions. The powerful antioxidant Daniella densifolia extract has recently been claimed as a powerful skin-lightening agent.4 Also, a blend of extracts from cucumber, white mulberry and hibiscus is claimed to whiten skin by acting at several levels of pigmentation.
Many BB creams also are formulated with actives that stimulate skin renewal and provide anti-inflammatory effects. Even the remineralizing effects of thermal water are considered useful for their replenishing effects of the oligo elements that correct skin enzyme function while toning and plumping skin. Thermal water containing salts is able to perform a buffering effect on the cutaneous pH, compensating the disequilibrium-inducing effects of environmental pollution.
Moisturization is usually obtained in a BB cream through a combination of short- and long-term actives. Hyaluronic acid is the model molecule for long-lasting water coordination. At the same time, it provides a velvety sensory feeling and easy application to the skin. Short-term moisturizers and humectants associated with hyaluronic acid include glycerol, propylene and butylene glycols and the recent, silky-feel humectant isopentyldiol.