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Well, talk about being fashionably – or is that beautifully – late. Blemish balms are quite literally a dime a dozen (stay well away from the bargain bin selection, shoppers!), but hey, it’s no skin off Kiehl’s nose.

Here’s why the heritage beauty brand appears coolly confident about circumventing the aisle-to-aisle competition. Take it from the bigwig herself: “At Kiehl’s, being first in a category is not our focus,” says Cammie Cannella, Vice President of Global Education. “We don’t launch and discontinue products as trends change, [but] choose to deliver real benefits in formulas that take innovation to the next level.”

Pointed words indeed, but what’s so innovative about the American apothecary’s new BB cream? At first blush, not much – we’ll eat our compact if you can point out a product that doesn’t claim to have so-called beautifying benefits.

Instead, the devilish genius is in the details … and they’re right up our beauty brainiac alley. The lab coated folks holed up in Kiehl’s clinical hubs have pulled off a nigh impossible feat: They’ve managed to encapsulate a highly volatile form of vitamin C in a stable soup of skin-toned pigments.

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Now, this is when things get really interesting. Notebooks on the ready? We’re going to ask you to try this little experiment at home: drop dissolvable vitamin C capsules into two glasses, one filled with water and the other with oil. You’ll find that the one in plain old H20 fizzes up in a jiffy – and that’s because the acidic vitamin molecules are water-soluble.

This presents a most vexing conundrum. You may be aware that the flesh-toned pigments in your base products – foundations, concealer and their ilk – are best formulated with oils; this is precisely why most paintings are described as being “oil on canvas”.

So here’s where we stand. Vitamin C dissolves in water, but to create a serviceable BB cream you need oil-based pigments. Oil and water are not the best of buddies, to put it mildly, so most vitamin C-infused creams tend to “separate” over time into greasy gruel.

We’ll let Kiehl’s Worldwide General Manager Cheryl Vitali walk you to the finish line: “To address skin tone correction, we knew vitamin C was an efficient ingredient, but it’s challenging to mix pigments with vitamin C and even more challenging when adding a high SPF sunscreen.

“After two years of development and more than 4,000 applications of product, we were successful – and from where we stand, this is a major achievement in the BB category.”

Key takeaway? A lot of love went into making this cream a quadruple threat: High sun protection, colour-true coverage, short-term hydration and long-term brightening benefits.

(Of course, it’s also free of fragrance and pore-clogging parabens and mineral oils; allergy tested for sensitive skin and non-comedogenic, but we won’t expect any less of Kiehl’s, would we.)

You want firm figures? Here’s the cosmetic coup de grâce: Kiehl’s says clinical evaluation after four weeks yielded “significant skin tone correction”, with 35 percent overall improvement in luminosity, 32 percent improvement in skin smoothness, 26 percent improvement in skin hydration … and so the beauty band marches on.

And that, ladies and gents, is why this marvel of a tube deserves to be on your dressing table.

P.S. For bonus reading, we suggest you bookmark our handy guide on the new alphabets in skincare. And Kiehl’s, let’s not wait quite so long for you to come up with a CC cream, shall we.

Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream SPF 50/PA +++ in Fair, Light and Natural, $68 each, is available from April 2014 at all Kiehl’s stores. For more information, visit www.kiehlstimes.com and follow Kiehl’s Singapore on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.