What You Need To Know Before Buying AB Base Makeup — or, The Beginner’s Guide to Cushion Compacts, BB Creams, CC Creams, and More
Plus, the newest members of our color cosmetics family—Hera's CC creams!
It’s a sad, but true fact, that Asian color cosmetics are quite limited in shade variety. While we eagerly await expansions that will better represent the diversity of our wonderful customer base, we want to help you decipher if one of our existing base makeup products might be a match for your skin.
As you might know, the look du jour in Korea is all about dewy skin. Pro Tip: To achieve this look, first and foremost, SPF is never sacrificed (although—sadly, this does not mean you should skip the extra step of your proper/regular sunscreen), and second, cushion compacts and BB/CC creams are favored over traditional, fuller-coverage foundations.
The cushion compact is a staple of any Korean woman’s cosmetic case. The dewy, almost translucent coverage imparted by a cushion is unrivaled in the world of color cosmetics & base makeup. Cushion compacts have experienced a meteoric rise in must-have status almost as rapidly as their BB cream siblings, thanks in part to helping us achieve that coveted dewy glow.
This compact is an absolute must-have, found in the bags of women in Seoul everywhere. It’s so popular, in fact, one is said to sell every six seconds in Korea. The C shades offer more coverage, and the N shades a lighter coverage which evens out the skin. 21 is a pale beige, with some pink in it and 23 is a little more tan, and complimentary on olive-undertoned skin. Though these cushion compacts only come in two shades (as they are not meant for heavy coverage, but rather to even and almost airbrush the skin) they can work with a bit more flexibility on a larger variety of skintones.
Hera’s cushion compact has much in common with its sibling from Iope, but it is a bit longer-lasting and offers slightly heavier coverage. This is a favorite of the Korean flight attendants, who depend on it to keep their glow going on long international flights. The colors follow the same system as Iope’s.
Dr. Dream’s cushion offers hydration and the heaviest coverage of our cushion options. It’s best-suited for those with pink undertones.
The BB Creams
BB creams were in fact, the gateway drug to Korean beauty here in the states. These tinted moisturizers x10,000 were meant to eliminate steps (funny, for a culture known for its multi-step regimen, yes? But that’s another story…). BB creams are essentially more pigmented than tinted moisturizers and less pigmented than foundations. These versatile creams also eliminate the need for primer and even (well, if you have normal skin, at least) moisturizer, as they are intended to pack skincare in to make up form.
Snail cream addicts: rejoice. Our favorite ingredient is concentrated at 45% in BB cream form. Snail is beneficial to all skin types due to its anti-inflammatory properties, but it is particularly winning for acneic skin types. This BB cream works to reduce blemishes, as well as scarring from blemishes past. Beware: this color is quite fair, and unfortunately only comes in one shade, which works well with pink undertones.
Shangpree’s Crystal BB cream comes in one, fair shade. However, if you are indeed, fair-skinned, it’s a good bet—it is truly more than just a tinted moisturizer. It’s so rich with skin benefits that the intensively trained aestheticians at Shangpree apply it at the end of facial treatments. As for those benefits? This BB cream includes antibacterial plant extracts good for reducing inflammation, and helps to reduce acne scarring.
This (truly) jelly-like BB cream is truly hydrating, making it a must-have for dry skin types looking for light coverage. Thanks to it's formulation—80% mint water & marine collagen, this BB cream helps the skin retain moisture and provides a cooling effect.
The CC Creams
The CC here stands for “color correcting.” These products are sort of like BB’s+—they work to improve issues like redness or sallowness with light-diffusing particles. The newest members of our color cosmetic family also hail from Hera, one of the many subsets of the high-end Amore-Pacific brand group.
This tinted cream is all about perfecting the skin—in fact, it's even been called "photoshop cream." It evens out skin tone, minimizes pores, and generally helps to "correct." Better yet, it boasts a cocktail of powerfully beneficial ingredients including honey and hyaluronic acid. This product both mattifies the skin and imparts a glow. It does feature a light, pleasant scent, though it fades away upon application. Shades No. 21 & 23 best suit fair skin tones with yellow undertones.