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BB for blemish balm, beauty balm … and beautiful babe? © Ariel Lin for Kose  

BB creams are like genies in a great many bottles: Ask and you shall receive. On the makeup spectrum, BB creams sit somewhere between tinted moisturiser and foundation, although permutations of every stripe exist, as evinced by the following selection of wish-granting wonders. Pick your poison!



TRY: For Beloved One Melasleep Whitening Blemish Balm Cream

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THE CLAIMS: This neat little Taiwanese tube is an oldie but goodie, in that it hews true to the BB cream’s “foundation” as a post-procedural soothing salve. This blemish balm is chock-a-block with comforting botanicals like chamomile and rosehip oils, all of which work in tandem to treat troubled skin. A patented poultice of next-gen antioxidants is also said to knock out overactive melanin cells, putting said pigments to sleep and preventing the formation of freckles and such.

WHY I LOVE IT: This For Beloved One beauty is the bee’s knees of blemish balms, as far as I’m concerned – it spreads like the thinnest of finespun honey, lends me a flirty blush that’s incredibly fetching, keeps admirers flocking to me like bees to … you get the idea. As for its claim of correcting bruised skin, I’ve used it on angry shaving nicks and can attest to its alleviating properties.

Oh, and a cosmetic confession is in order: I stash this in my weekender whenever I’m planning a sleepover with my unsuspecting girlfriends; surreptitiously slather it on before bedtime and they’ll be none the wiser the morning after!

GET IT AT: For Beloved One Melasleep Whitening Blemish Balm Cream, $50, is available in 2 shades at all Sephora stores. For more information, visit www.forbelovedonemember.com and follow For Beloved One Singapore on Facebook.


TRY: The Body Shop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream

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THE CLAIMS: This is essentially a spot treatment masquerading as foundation – a literal blemish balm if there ever was one. Shot through with an acne-assuaging dose of tea tree oil, expect all of the kumbaya feel-good factors associated with the eco-conscious brand: Said tea tree oil is sourced from Community Fair Trade communities “at the foothills of Mount Kenya”, and is also hand-picked, purified and bottled within 12 hours of harvest for amped up antibacterial action.

WHY I LOVE IT: It boasts gorgeous glide and surprisingly competent coverage; its comfortably creamy consistency means you can use it as a spot concealer on problem areas. There’s a pungent herbal tang that’s par for the course for tea tree oil products and a massive caveat: Tea tree oil isn’t tremendously friendly to the thin skin around your peepers, so don’t dab this on the orbital region.

That said, try leaving this in your office cubicle for mid-day touch-ups; I squeeze it straight from the tube and pat it in with dirty fingers, hygiene be damned: I’ll like to think that the formula’s tea tree oil takes care of any incipient germs.

GET IT AT: The Body Shop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream, $29.90 each, is available in 01 Light, 02 Medium, and 03 Dark from July 2014 at all The Body Shop stores. For more information, visit www.thebodyshop.com.sg and follow The Body Shop Singapore on Facebook and Instagram.


TRY: Kose Sekkisei White BB Cream SPF40/PA+++

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THE CLAIMS: The selling pitch is exquisitely finetuned to seduce the busy boardroom boss: Kose says its panel of testers took an average of just 80 seconds to “finish” their face using this product. Plays off the conceit of “snow-white” skin with the inclusion of what Kose calls “snow crystal powder”, which look like pretty snowflakes under the microscope and are meant to imbue your mien with a gossamer glimmer.

The Japanese formulation is also said to remain fresh when folded into your natural skin oils. Translation? Long-lasting, non-cakey coverage that doesn’t oxidise to boot. This being Kose, expect a suite of exotic Eastern extracts like angelica, Chinese pearl barley and white lotus, all of which are said to be deeply quenching for surpassingly supple and noticeably brighter skin.

WHY I LOVE IT: I’m partial to the very Japanese perfectionism of Kose’s products, right down to its porcelain blue packaging, so this little beauty has it easy from the get-go. The multi-tasking marvel hits all of my sweet spots, boasting superb spreading and staying power, not to mention a remarkably respectable SPF 40/PA+++ rating. Coverage is subtle but noticeable: My skin looks like my own, only better. Selfie-snapping Snow Whites will flip out over the fabulously fine finish, which I find to photograph really well, as if one were emanating light like a Disney princess.   

GET IT AT: Kose Sekkisei White BB Cream SPF40/PA+++, $39 each, is available at all Kose counters. For more information, visit www.kose.com.sg and follow Kose Singapore on Facebook.


TRY: Orbis UV Cut Sunscreen on Face Beauty and Beauty Light SPF34/PA+++

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THE CLAIMS: From one Japanese brand to the next, this relatively new player in Singapore’s saturated beauty scene has been quietly winning over fans with its purse-friendly price points and exceptionally exquisite products.

To wit, Orbis’ tinted sunscreen – which isn’t billed as a BB cream per se, but does everything expected of one – comes with the very evocatively monickered “Beauty Light Special Ingredient”, essentially a special blend of “sticky” powders that sops up grease and glosses over pits and pores at the same time. Other skin goodies thrown into the mix include potent moisture magnets like rosemary and raw sugar extracts; and physical sun filters for minimal skin irritation (as opposed to chemical sunscreens; look for octocrylene, octinoxate and their ilk on the ingredients label).

WHY I LOVE IT: This is a revelation in terms of tamping down shine without sacrificing that elusive glimmer that “good” skin tends to have. I’m blessed with pretty petite pores, so I can’t attest to its minimising prowess, but my less genetically blessed sister swears by this. The lush liquid consistency is very sexy on the skin, and lends just enough colour for me to get by without full-on foundation.

This is right on top of my list of go-to unguents for no-makeup makeup days: Think Sunday brunch soirees, when you want to look presentable without being preternaturally polished. Works like a dream as a makeup base, too; I like layering this under my usual arsenal of face paint on account of its pigment-grabbing power.

GET IT AT: Orbis UV Cut Sunscreen on Face Beauty and Beauty Light, $15 each, is available at all Orbis counters. For more information, visit the Orbis Singapore Facebook page.