The BB Cream Hack List: How to get your base to do more than cover up

After years of worshipping at the altar of perfectly-matte, shine-free face base, I've learned to embrace my natural shine, thanks to the cult of chok-chok. This dewy, bouncy glow had all of us falling back in love with moisturizing, with some swapping out foundie faves for the ultimate KBeauty staple: the BB cream.

Combining moisturizer, foundation, sun protection, and in some cases, serum-infused skincare, this do-all product has been the ultimate power house, with every brand from drugstore to luxe coming up with their own version (or two). And for good reason: a well-blended BB can be a beauty girl’s Swiss Army knife! Here are four beauty hacks your should try to get the most use out of your BB cream!

Tone-up Cream/Illuminating Base

Though chok chok is all about looking “naturally” dewy, the truth is we all have days where our skin can’t be convinced to shine. That’s where “tone up” creams enter the conversation: shimmering skincare slash makeup designed to provide an instant “brightening” effect! We at PV have actually fallen in love with toning up so much that one even made it to our "Best Drugstore Products of 2017” list, but if your wallet is still smarting from the Christmas holidays, your trusty BB cream can make for a great substitute.

For this hack, I chose a BB cream with a watery consistency for that added dewy finish. The Aqua Petit Jelly BB by Holika Holika (P795, BeautyMNL) works even for oily-skinned girls like me, as it keeps skin looking moisturized instead of greasy. I blended it on with a loose iridescent powder then smoothed it over my skin until I got the glowy finish I wanted. Since I’m relatively fair, I chose a white-toned iridescent pigment from Ellana Cosmetics, but deeper-skinned girls can go for golden or pink-toned powders, to better match their skin tone!

The best part of this hack? The heavier coverage (from the addition of a loose powder) means that this was good enough on its own; no foundation needed!

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Cream Blush and Highlighter

Long-time readers will recognize this hack as a similar technique to the DIY cushion blusher. For that “diffused blush” effect popular in both K- and J-Beauty, you can either opt to pat on a thin layer of BB cream over your existing powder blush or, as I did in my case, blend a bit of the blush pigment with some BB cream on a palette.

For this hack, I used this Eres Tu BB Cream I picked up at Watsons. While I’ve lost the exact price (I’ve had this for a while), I believe it was approximately P800 for a tube, and supposedly comes with skincare benefits. I rarely use it because it does not have SPF, but its slightly “whipped” consistency made it ideal for a cream blush!

This hack also works great with highlighter, especially if you want your glow to have some serious staying power. I blended my BB cream with some remaining product from my BYS Highlighting Palette (P449, Zalora) and was pleasantly surprised by the intensity of the fresh and dewy glow created by the combination of cream blush and cream highlight!

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Eyeshadow Primer/Cream Eyeshadow

As an avid KPop fan, I’ve noticed that idols - even the guys! - always have impeccably blended eyeshadow, usually done in gradient-like contour pattern that has an almost creamy finish. After staring at one too many photos of my bias, I decided to try and see if I could achieve the same second-skin effect by using BB cream as an eyeshadow base!

 Swatches: top has BB base while bottom is without

Swatches: top has BB base while bottom is without

My arm swatch clearly shows how having BB cream as an eyeshadow base definitely made a world of difference in pigmentation and even feel. The mattes from my BYS Peach Palette looked deeper and creamier with the addition of the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery BB (P450, BeautyMNL) I chose as base.

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On my eyes, I found it was easier to achieve that subtly “contoured” wash of color with just a single shade. While I chose peach/pink here, I’ve noticed that many K-idols (especially boy groups) favor shades of champagne, gold, and bronze for a “natural” effect with a subtle shine.

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Gradient Lip “Liner”

While the gradient lip isn’t the only way to create a perfect KBeauty pucker, it is certainly one of the most iconic looks. Other than the iconic Laneige Two-Tone Lip Bar, many brands have created their own take on the one-swipe ombre lip, but I’ve found many of these usually lack the intense pigmentation I prefer.

To create my own gradient pucker, I turned to one of my favorite cream tints: Club Clio’s Virgin Kiss Silkuid Lip, which I paired with an Ettusais BB Mineral White that I got on a recent trip to Japan. By itself, the Club Clio lippie is a bright salmon-pink that I find a bit too bold all over the lips. The cream is also quite slippery, which makes even application (as you can see from this image) a bit difficult.

To create the perfect gradient, I outlined my lips with the BB cream, then blended it out over the lip cream. I then touched up the center of the lips, making them appear darker. The BB cream also makes the lippie feel less drying, even without the application of lip balm!

Voila! There you have it: a full face of BB cream hacks! Which one are you looking to try?

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