중앙데일리

A fast route to a face that’s naturally young

Apr 03,2007
When it comes to offering enticing visions of a better you, there is no industry like the beauty industry. Every other advertisement on television seems to assure the public that “youth can be restored in under a minute” or that they can “stop the aging process altogether.” It takes a strong personality to resist buying these nostrums and hence give up the offer of a brighter future.
The newest product to attract Korean women to the pursuit of youth and beauty are BB creams, or “Blemish Balm” creams.
This supposed miracle worker is not new. It has been a cult favorite among beauty junkies and entertainment stars for around 10 years. But a few remarks from some Korean celebrities about its merits (including the actress Hyeonyeong, who said recently that she appeared in the movie “The Strongest Romance” with nothing on her face except some lotion and BB cream), caused rumors about the effectiveness of these creams to start spreading like forest fire, mostly by word of mouth.
The cream was initially made as a “treatment foundation,” intended for those who are having a skin-peeling session at a dermatologist’s office or skin care clinic. The cream was designed to protect the face from ultraviolet rays while alleviating redness and irritation that can be caused by the peeling process.
However, the majority of people who employ BB creams do not use them for the purposes stated above. Rather, they use the cream to achieve a natural, cosmetics-free look on their face without the worry of applying layers of base product, moisturizer, foundation and sun protection cream during the busy hours of the morning.
The craze for BB creams parallels the trend for a flawless “ssaengeol,” or nude face. After the trend for a perfectly “sculpted” look, with lip liners, face contouring and thick eye lines drawn in, died down during the late 1990s, Korean women embarked on a mission to achieve a look that says, “I have no make-up on and I wake up looking perfect like this.” The pioneer of this trend is actress Han Ga-in, who mostly appears in public without much color make-up.
The first BB cream to achieve popularity was Christine Schrammek Kosmetik’s BB cream, which was designed to be used alongside its Green Peel, an herbal deep peeling treatment. Now numerous Korean companies, including Etude, Hanskin and Missha, have all released BB creams. At Auction, one of the biggest online shopping malls in Korea, more than 3,000 BB creams on average are sold per day.
Contrary to many people’s belief that this cream is a “miracle worker,” some dermatologists say that there are limitations.
For one, they say that because the cream is multi-functional, not all its goals can be properly achieved. Lee Dong-won, the chief dermatologist at CNP Cha and Park, is one of the leading dermatologists in Seoul. He says that the sunscreen function in BB creams is short-lived and that one needs another application after a few hours. Also, many users have complained on the Internet that the cream evaporates rather quickly, making it necessary to have a mid-day fix-up. On the other hand, devoted users say that it is a fast, effective cream bringing about a natural look for busy women.
“I’m addicted to this cream,” said Jung Sun-joo, an office worker who has been using the cream for four months. “Without it, my daily make-up routine would probably be 30 minutes longer.”


By Cho Jae-eun Staff Writer [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]


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