The BB cream bandwagon

Here at Cult of Clothes I like to ask hard-hitting questions on topics with real world consequences. Today I'll look at BB Cream, a product whose popularity verges on explosive, whose status verges on cult. Is it a product worth adding to your arsenal, or is it just snake oil peddled by an old timey traveling salesman who'll skip town just when you find out it turns your face green?

BB cream is touted as a magical cure-all that moisturises, covers blemishes, primes your skin, works as foundation, and protects against sun. It will also watch your kids while you pop out to the sales and then have a cocktail. Colour me skeptical, but I'm suspicious of all-in-one anything, especially when it also claims to blend with any skin colour. All-in-one and one-colour-suits-all? Curiouser and curiouser.

In spite of my misgivings, I decided to give it a shot, mostly because one of my friends uses it, and her skin is so perfect and smooth, it makes everyone else's skin look like scaly old dragon toes. This friend uses L'Oreal Nude Magique, and in spite of the silly name, it seemed like a good place to start.

Perhaps the universe knew I would never go ahead with such an experiment unless I could get a deal, so it sent me a gift in the form of a 50% off sale at the chemist, and I got my Nude Magique for the bargainous price of $10.

I used it faithfully every day for a week, layering it under my usual five minute face: concealer, cream blush and mascara. If I was a scientist with access to masses of funding, I would have tested other brands to do a proper comparison, but I'm a writer, and I figure that a sample of one is more scientific than just making up the whole story.

My verdict? It went on smoothly, and blended with my skin colour. Even though I checked obsessively from every angle in many different lights I couldn't tell where the made-up skin ended and my neck skin started. Remarkably, it seemed that one colour did suit all.

It didn't deliver on its dewy skin promise, in fact it got points off for making my face quite matte. But unlike most matte foundations or bases, my cream blush glided on smoothly and blended well. It was definitely long wearing; it lasted all day, even though the humidity that week put a shine on everyone's foreheads and a murderous glint in their eyes.

Annoyingly it settled in fine lines and wrinkles, and let's face it: nobody wants any help looking older than they are. But the ultimate test was whether it made my skin look like my friend's, and the answer is no, it didn't. It would seem it's not the BB cream that makes her skin perfect, but her genes. How devastatingly unfair. So much for experimenting.

If you're looking for an all-in-one product to replace your foundation, I'd say give BB cream a try, especially when it's hot out and you want to avoid the I'm-wearing-a-mask look. My regular make-up regime works pretty well, so I'm going to make like an old person and resist change.