In the last few months you've probably noticed BB creams popping up in all your favorite makeup shopping spots. It seems as though just about everyone has a version of BB cream these days from drugstore favorites like Garnier to department store mainstays such as Estée Lauder and Clinique. But, what is BB cream? And, more importantly, do you need it?

BB cream, also known as beauty balm or blemish balm, is basically a one-stop-shop for your face. Most formulas do three things: moisturize, protect and cover. BB cream is meant to take the place of your daily lotion, primer, SPF, serum and foundation.

BB creams hydrate first, then infuse your skin with beneficial ingredients. These vary with the formulas, but they often include antioxidants, wrinkle fighters and elements that even out skin tone. BB creams also contain sunscreen, so you can skip that step, too. BB creams act as both primer and foundation. They are most similar in texture to a tinted moisturizer. They vary in thickness but are popular because they melt into skin instead of feeling heavy.

While it's been said that BB cream was invented in Germany as a treatment for patients recovering from facial laser treatments, the product found popularity in Asian countries when it was revealed to be the secret behind the flawless skin of several Korean actresses.

BB creams are gaining notoriety in the United States right now because they offer a natural, no-makeup look and countless skincare benefits. They've been touted as especially great for acne-prone, sensitive or oily skin.

I've been trying one myself and the results are truly eye-opening. My skin looks glowing, and my makeup routine has been significantly shortened. If you already use tinted moisturizer or want a multitasking product to replace all those bottles spilling out of your medicine cabinet, I suggest you try a BB cream. Do your research and find one that offers the benefits your skin needs. Make sure to get as close to your skin tone as possible. Because BB creams blend so well, they often come in very few shades. Don't be tempted to use one that is too dark or light—just look around for a better option.

You may also want to visit HealthyWomen's Skin Health Center or read:
How to Look Fresh for Spring
5 Tips to Liven Up a Tired Face

Bethany Porter is a blogger and beauty junkie. She believes in healthy living and that women have powerful potential for beauty both inside and out.

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