Wake up and Get it Done

Early morning wake ups are never fun. They are even less fun when you need to get up and get moving fast. A few days ago, I received a 7 AM text from one of my stylist colleagues who had just arrived at an early morning wedding and the bride’s makeup artist had gone into labour. “Could you come and do makeup?” Well anyone who knows me well knows I require a good hour to wake up and 1.5 cups of coffee. The rule in my house is no speaking to each other until we are half a cup of coffee in.

But, when necessary, as in the case of a desperate bride, I can pull it off. From PJs to in the car, coffee in hand, it took me 27 minutes. Yup, that is heels on, hair, makeup, coffee and protein bar, and I never miss my morning meditation (but in this case it was a fast one in the shower). A girl has gotta be able to multi task.

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As I was working on one of the bridesmaids, she commented that she couldn’t believe how fast I had gotten to the wedding and how put together I was at 7:45 AM. I laughed and said, “It’s all practice and I cheated today.” She asked how I had cheated. I explained that when I need to get ready quickly, I use a dry hair shampoo (see from Sweaty to Sexy), put my hair up, and use a BB cream instead of foundation. We then launched into a huge discussion on what BB cream is and how to find a good one. It was such a great conversation and this woman was so excited to go out and buy a BB cream afterwards, that I decided to share the details with everyone.

BB is short for Beauty Balm, and it was designed by a German dermatologist who wanted an all-in-one cream to give his laser patients SPF protection and coverage. BB creams are a great invention; they streamline your beauty routine and are perfect for the woman who doesn’t have time, doesn’t care, or can’t be bothered to moisturize her skin and put on makeup. They are great for moms, sporty girls who don’t want to wear makeup, and  for girly girls who want to cheat and have a casual day. BB creams are meant to act as a moisturizer for hydration, a primer to perfect the skin’s surface, and a foundation to even out skin tone. Plus, they should have an SPF to protect skin. However, BB creams have grown to be one of the biggest beauty trends, so finding a good one can be a painstaking process.

If you think that putting makeup on is a pain in the ass, I can tell you that buying makeup is an even bigger pain in the ass. The amount of products and product lines for everything and anything available today is ridiculous. I am a makeup artist – I  love makeup, I read, research and know what I want, but even I find that walking into Sephora is a vortex. It’s overwhelming, intimidating and freakin’ out-of-control expensive. You can be in there 15 minutes and before you know it, you have dropped $300 on five tubes of stuff. Then you get it home, use it for a week, and it either doesn’t work, is the wrong shade, or you forget about it and it ends up in the basket under your bathroom sink. This is why the beauty industry makes millions every year! Because we as women get sucked into believing that if we buy just one tube, we will look beautiful!

However, if you’re gonna buy just one tube, then BB cream is what I’d recommend. It does work and will help any woman look better, brighter, and healthier without looking like she’s wearing makeup. Plus, it’s easy! Not cheap, though, but if you consider it replaces two to three products, then you are actually saving cash. The key to finding the right one right is a combination of four main things:

  1. Find the correct shade for your skin tone to give you proper coverage (you don’t want the dreaded 80s orange foundation line).
  2. Hydration: you want it to make your skin glow, but not make you look like you just hung your head over a greasy deep fryer.
  3. It has to have a light texture because if you feel like you have a plastic bag on your face you’re not going to wear it every day.
  4. Most importantly (at least to me because I don’t like to touch up), it has gotta last. From first thing in the morning, through my work-out, to a full day at the salon and dinner out.
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    Before the Estee Lauder BB Cream
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After BB cream and with lip gloss

It took several girlfriends and I over a week to weed through 15 different BB creams to find the ones we thought were the best.

Here’s Our Top 5 BB Creams

#5  Stila Stay All Day 10-in-One HD Beauty Balm

Key things to know: SPF 35, Price: $38 or $50, Colour range: one shade/self-adjusting

What I liked: The texture, it was light and it lasted. What I didn’t like: They have 3 formulas: Illuminating, Bronzing or with an SPF. Why don’t they put the SPF in all 3 formulas?

Conclusion:  This one was interesting because most BBs feature 3 things or 5-in-One. I am still not sure what the 10-in-One actually is. I am assuming it’s everything plus anti-aging, rejuvenating, blah, blah, blah. It’s a good texture, but if I am gonna spend $50, I would rather have it all.

#4 Dr. Brandt BB Cream

Key things to know: SPF 0, Price: $49, Colour range: one shade/self-adjusting

What I liked: Awesome hydration, this one was the best at making my skin glow without the deep fryer effect. Plus, my lines and wrinkles were reduced.  What I didn’t like: the one shade, it did not really blend my skin tone and it did not give the coverage.

Conclusion:  If you have really dehydrated skin, use it, and if your skin is even in tone you will probably be okay with the one shade. You can always go over it with your foundation to correct the skin tone.

#3 Gosh BB Cream (foundation, primer, moisturizer)

Key things to know: SPF 15, Price: $ 22, Colour range: 5 shades

What I liked: Okay coverage and very good hydration. I got the glow and the less wrinkles, plus coverage.  What I didn’t like: There wasn’t much, it was great for a day off where I did not need more coverage and I really liked the texture. If you have a lot of redness in your face, this isn’t the one for you.

Conclusion:  For the price point, this is your best deal. A great product for under $25. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but it has the basics. Your face will feel great and look fresh – just  make sure you get the right shade!

#2 Estée Lauder Double Wear All-Day Glow BB Cream

Key things to know: SPF 30, Price: $45, Colour range: 8 shades

What I liked: Amazing texture, super thin and light. Felt like I was wearing nothing. Plus, it gave a slight glow and very good coverage because I found the right shade due to the fact that they have 8 to choose from.  What I didn’t like: Very little, this is a good one. Perfect for any woman over 35 wanting a natural look with a glow and coverage. Plus, you don’t want to feel it. I would have liked it to last longer, as I did have to touch up  throughout the day.

Conclusion:  This one is for the natural woman; it’s oil-free, natural and feels great, plus has all the benefits of glow, coverage, SPF protection and wrinkle reduction. It is worth the $45.

#1 SmashBox Camera Ready BB Cream

Key things to know: SPF 35, Price: $50, Colour range: 8 shades

What I liked: Everything, but the best part was the hydration. It really gave a great glow without me looking greasy and it lasted all day. Awesome coverage! Again, 8 shades so you get one that matches. The texture was slightly heavier then Estée Lauder’s, but I felt more moisturized. What I didn’t like: Nothing, other than the price. It wasn’t the most expensive one, but it is up there.

Conclusion: Great product, worth the $50 because you will use it. Added bonus: my wrinkles and lines were reduced. They say that after 4 weeks, you notice a visible reduction, and I noticed after a few days.

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Before Gosh BB Cream
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After BB Cream with lipgoss

My Conclusion
 After a great dinner party and a few bottles of wine with my girlfriends who had helped me test out the BB creams, I definitely had a few converts. Several ladies had already gone out and purchased their favourite BB cream and were using it. Why? Because it is fast and easy, and for most of my girlfriends, that’s what counts most. I am just happy if I can get them to put makeup on their face, so this was a double win. The key to this product purchase is to not buy it if you’re not gonna use it. When you do buy it, get the right shade! However, my personal disclaimer as a makeup artist: of all the BB creams I have tried, none of them gives the same flawless results that I get from doing all the steps. My personal choice of moisturizer, primer, foundation and illuminator still makes my skin look truly amazing. So if you want to look really, really good, you either have to do all the steps or get your makeup done professionally. But for day to day and gettin’ ‘er done, you will not lose out with a good BB cream.


Marjie Martini

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