I’ll bet you think you already know everything there is to know about BB Creams, CC creams and the whole alphabet of tinted moisturizers. You’ve probably heard that Beauty or Blemish Balms, like many of today’s makeup and skincare trends, originated in South Korea. BBs were designed as all-purpose balms to offer several benefits in a single product thereby eliminating the need for several skincare steps (something for which Korean beauty regimens are renown). Generally speaking, authentic BB Creams provide broad spectrum (both UVA and UVB) sun protection along with other skin beneficial goodies like antioxidants, hydrators, brightening agents, etc. as well some novel additives of dubious benefit (snail secretion anyone?).
True BB creams are an ideal match for busy moms in need of a single product that provides multiple benefits – coverage, sun protection and some healthful skin treats. But unless you have a friend or relative who travels to Korea and can hook you up with a continuous supply of authentic Korean BBs minus the expensive and time-consuming shipping, you’ve probably been using the ones readily available locally.
Lost in Translation
The problem with BB and CC creams widely available in the USA and Europe is most are little more than glorified tinted moisturizers. The added benefits are just an afterthought, amounting to no more than a smattering, way down on the ingredient list after such nasties as fragrance, volatile plant oils and even alcohol. Incredibly, several of the most expensive BB products out there do NOT provide broad spectrum protection against both UVA (the main factor in wrinkle development and aging of skin (yes, I’m looking at you, Lancome) and UVB rays. Blows my mind when there’s so much research proving how damaging UVA rays are for all types of skin tones (Source SkinCancer.org)! Even among products offering broad spectrum protection, many have SPF ratings no higher than 30. However, in order to reach that level of sun protection, you’d have to apply a full tablespoon of product, and I don’t know anyone using that much, certainly not when some brands have the nerve to charge more than $50 for their products (yep, still you, Lancome)! But I’m happy to report there is a product out there that is every bit as good as true Korean BB creams, and I’ll bet you’ve never heard of it.
Revision Intellishade SPF45 ($45) is a truly great tinted moisturizer and (despite the name) Intellishade qualifies as an honest-to-goodness beauty balm with a many benefits.
Here’s why I love it: First, it has an SPF of 45 with broad-spectrum sunscreen. This means that you’re totally protected from both UVA (the main factor in wrinkle development and aging of skin. Again reference SkinCancer.org) and UVB rays. The higher SPF means that even if you don’t use a full tablespoon and even if you don’t use a daytime moisturizer with sunscreen underneath this product (I get it, you’re too busy to be bothered with multiple sunscreen steps in the morning), you’re still getting a good amount of protection. Intellishade also contains 3 different types of peptides specially formulated to target multiple layers of skin cells (reference: Beautypedia Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary); a stabilized form of Vitamin C for antioxidant protection and to brighten skin as well as Green Tea Leaf extract and Vitamin E (tocopheryl) for even more antioxidant support; along with several other ingredients (listed below) which have been proven to provide hydration, decrease irritation and inflammatory response of the skin and combat wrinkles and aging. It’s also available in two formulations – regular (for normal to very dry skin types) and matte (for oily skin). The sole shade is very neutral will work for most light to tan skin tones. Very dark skin shades may find it a tad light, but I’ve never tested that theory. According to Revision, the product magically blends with all skin shades and tones (hence the name).
I can testify to how gentle this product is on even the most sensitive skin. It’s so gentle, in fact, that I actually used it immediately following a fractional laser treatment. Now if you’ve ever had that particular treatment you know that 1.) it hurts (like a lot) and 2.) you should never expose your freshly lasered skin to sunlight. Usually you wouldn’t want to apply anything to your face immediately after this treatment either, but I’d made the mistake of scheduling my treatment at noon in the middle of summer in Florida (by the way, do NOT make this mistake), so I needed some SPF before walking out of the doctor’s office. I slapped on some Intellishade and (to my surprise) suffered no consequences in the days that followed – no bumps or irritations developed despite having applied it directly on raw, exposed skin. It’s that soothing, and it’s that gentle!
• Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide. Physical sunscreens providing broad-spectrum (UVA+UVB) protection.
• Blend of 3 peptides – reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
• Vitamin C (THD Ascorbate). Brightens and provides antioxidant benefits.
• Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Beeswax & Aloe Leaf Extract – offer skin-soothing hydration & anti-inflammatory benefits.
• White Birch Extract, Yeast Extract, Plankton Extract and CoQ10 – help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
• Octinoxate & Octisalate. Provide UVB protection.
• Vitamin E & Green Tea Leaf Extract – provide additional antioxidant protection.
• Lecithin – reduces the appearance of pore size.
So Why Haven’t You Heard of This Amazing Product?
Well first of all, you can’t just walk into CVS or Walgreens and find Revision’s products. You won’t find them at ULTA or Sephora either, not even in department stores. Revision products are available exclusively through dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons offices. And not all these docs sell Revision. Believe me. I’ve checked. To locate a doctor’s office near you that sells Revision, you’ll need to use the “Where to Buy” locator feature on the Revision website found here. (FYI – Docs that sell Revision almost always have free sample sizes they’re happy to give if you want to try before you buy. And most offices are happy to ship it to you if you order by phone.)
Another reason you may not have heard of this product is related to their market focus. Because Revision sells exclusively through physicians and med-spas, their products are not featured in Allure or Cosmo. I’ve never heard of a Kardashian using Intellishade (they totally should, given the amount of $ they spend on cosmetic procedures, but I digress). You may see an occasional ad in More or New Beauty Magazines (check out this review from New Beauty’s blog). But if you’re like me, you probably haven’t been reading too many magazines lately. You’re probably too busy chasing your kids around to sit around, leisurely leafing through periodicals.
But trust me. This product is well worth the time it takes to locate it and purchase it. We are talking about your face here. And this is going to save you time and money in the long run. Remember it combines several steps into one and will get you pretty faster and out the door quicker. And just think about the money you’ll save not needing laser treatments for sunspots. With all that SPF, you’ll need fewer Botox treatments (if you’re so inclined). I hope I’ve convinced you to try it. Samples are available for purchase via eBay in both original and matte formulations if you’re curious but not yet ready to commit to a full-size product.
However, if you’re still not convinced and/or you just prefer a product you can pick up at your local Sephora, I present you with a second best option, a reasonable facsimile if you will.
The (Reasonable) Facsimile (and why it’s a 2nd best option):
Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm SPF45 ($39) is available in 2 shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. The former is more ivory/pink (warm) while the latter is more yellow, olive in tone. I would add that the Medium/Deep option is often sold out on Sephora’s website. So if that’s your color range, either grab it when it’s available or be prepared for a wait. Here’s a swatch of Intellishade (left) and Dr. Jart’s in Light/Medium (right).
It features broad-spectrum sun protection provided by mineral sunscreens titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (same as Intellishade). Dr. Jart also toutes the inclusion of 2 key ingredients Arbutin (proven to lighten or brighten skin because it is a derivative of hydroquinone; reference) and Adenosine (a yeast-derived ingredient with proven anti-inflammatory properties; reference). However, if you are sensitive to hydroquinone, you may be sensitive to Arbutin as well, so keep that in mind. And the Adenosine is way down the ingredient list, just above (of all things to include in an anti-aging product) alcohol so it’s doubtful the adenosine will have a tremendous impact. Speaking of alcohol, the amount here is relatively low, but it’s worth noting. The primary antioxidant sources (Tocopheryl Acetate and Soybean Oil) are also in relatively low amounts (soybean oil is listed after Adenosine). The peptide complex (also highly touted in the marketing of this product) are even further down the list (all after the alcohol), meaning the amounts are very small and not comparable to the amounts in the Revision product. I’ve provided the full ingredient list below for reference. Finally, the singular formulation available will probably not work for all skin types. Oily skins types will likely not be satisfied with the emollient, almost shiny finish of this product.
Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm SPF45 Ingredients (per Sephora online):
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Arbutin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Magnesium Sulfate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Calcium Stearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Talc, Tocopheryl Acetate, Adenosine, Alcohol, Lecithin, rh-Oligopeptide-1, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, PVP, Platinum Powder, Steareth-20, Chrysin, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide.
Verse of the Day:
Wisdom is worth much more than precious jewels or anything else you desire.
~Proverbs 8:11 (Common English Version)
Read more here.
Resource of the Day:
Beautypedia Cosmetics Ingredients Dictionary