Trend Tracking: BB Creams

As the first post in the “Trend Tracking” series, we’ll be looking at the evolution of BB cream: from its conception to being a full-blown trend. So how did BB cream become so popular? Who came up with the idea in the first place? Keep reading for the answers to those questions and more.


First off, what is a BB cream? BB stands for “beauty balm” or “blemish balm”. These creams are touted as “miracle creams” because they offer many benefits to the skin. Many BB creams can simultaneously be a moisturizer, sun block, primer, and skin evener while offering benefits like antioxidants, acne-fighting ingredients, brightening effects, and more. So where did BB creams come from?

Sometime in 1950-1960, Germany: Dr. Christine Shrammek has created a “blemish balm” which soothes a patient’s sensitive skin after a peel or laser treatment. It also covers imperfections and helps regenerate the skin. It is offered in 4 shades.

1985, Korea and Japan: After several years of prescribing her cream privately, Dr. Shammek is invited to present her product to the public. South Korean actresses start using the balm to cover their skin after their frequent cosmetic procedures.

1980s: As customers became aware of the balm, Korean companies decide to cash in on this growing trend. These companies market it as a magic balm that protected, regenerated, hydrated, and covered. This balm soon explodes in the consumer market of South Korea. The companies race to put the most skin benefits in one product, and broadcast them as “the secret of Korean actresses”.  It is so popular that it makes up 13% of the total cosmetics market, and is even used by men. As Korean actresses and singers reveal their use of beauty balm, the use of beauty balms spread throughout the Asian market.

Around this time, some companies switched from a balm-like texture to a cream. The BB creams were easier to spread, lighter, and more appealing to the consumer. The ingredients changed as well. The previous healing ingredients were dropped in favor of more cosmetic ingredients for whitening, anti-aging, hydrating, etc. Some products

2011, America: Due to the success of BB creams in the Asian market, Garnier and Dr. Jart launch BB cream lines in America.

2012-present, America: Dior, Estee Lauder, and Clinique jump on the bandwagon and launch BB creams in the Western Market. Brands continue to launch BB creams!


Wung, Jonathan. (2012, April 8). Updated: The Beginners Guide to Cosmetics [Blog post]. Retrieved from

BB Cream [Website]. (2012, August 17). Retrieved from

The Magic Potion [Website]. (2011). Retrieved from

Written by Jessica, intern.