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Beauty Throwdown: Battle BB Cream

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After dominating the skincare markets in Asia and Europe for the past few years, BB creams finally landed stateside last summer, and they’ve been on a tear ever since. Brands like Clinique and Too Faced have rushed to introduce the multitasking wonder to their offerings, and many others will be jumping on the BB bandwagon in the months to come. Similar to a super-charged tinted moisturizer, the what-can’t-it-do? product marries the benefits of an emollient hydrator with the coverage of a sheer foundation, using an active formula that boasts skin-perfecting ingredients like hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and brighteners to break up pigmentation. Two newcomers—a luxe version by Dior and a more budget-friendly option from Garnier—have just joined the fray. Here, we toss both in the ring for our latest beauty throwdown.

The Prestige Contender: A new addition to Dior’s popular DiorSnow brightening skincare range, this potent BB is, like the rest of the line, infused with radiance-boosting Icelandic glacial water and hyperpigmentation-combating Lightenine, as well as meadowsweet extract to calm skin and hibiscus to counteract fine lines and wrinkles. Of all the BB creams we’ve encountered, this one seems to be the closest thing to skincare. It hasn’t helped fade my freckles/sun damage yet, but because it offers very high protection from UV rays—SPF 50—it will definitely prevent new spots from forming. It also provides a surprisingly good amount of coverage, but it can appear a bit chalky on dry skin, so definitely slather on a serum or lightweight moisturizer before you apply.
$50, www.dior.com.

The Drugstore Challenger: Garnier raises expectations by calling its BB the Miracle Skin Perfector and makes a good case for its grandiose name. You’ll notice its creamy texture immediately and the way it hydrates without looking cakey. It goes on sheer—much more sheer than Dior’s—and imparts a very luminous finish, which will earn you more than a few compliments about your “glow.” While it remains unclear if it is in fact a miracle in a tube, it does provide a pretty perfect dewy look.
$12.99, www.garnierusa.com.

The Bottom Line: It’s hard to pick a winner because it really depends on your priorities and how much money you have to burn. Garnier gets a gold star for its incredible price point alone. The fact that it leaves skin looking practically incandescent is another huge bonus. But Dior’s is the truer BB Cream as it packs a potent antiaging punch while providing sunblock-level protection. The price is a bit steep, but when you look at it as a pillar of your skincare and makeup regimen, it’s a much easier pill to swallow.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

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