What would be that one essential item you would bring to the deserted island? Predictably, this is a question the casts of the reality TV show Survivor get asked for their profile pages all the time. Of course, their deserted island isn’t quite so Robinson Crusoe, so answers like pictures of their family, tweezers, or camera are more than common. I’m only a teeny bit embarrassed to admit that my own answer (as a cast of Survivor, not as Chuck Noland from Cast Away) would be even more blatantly vain than those. I would bring a tube of BB cream. Hey, if you are going to be on TV, who can argue against the importance of having good skin? They won’t have any makeup artists on that set.
These days, it’s impossible to walk through the beauty isle in a drug store without seeing yet another brand jumping on the BB cream wagon. It’s hard to believe that even just a couple of years ago, most women in North America had not heard of what BB creams were.
In case you are still living in the dark ages of beauty products, BB Cream, A.K.A. “beauty balm” or “blemish base”, is the ultimate multi-tasking facial cream that can contain moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, and foundation with acne-busting, brightening, regenerating, and/or anti-aging qualities. Its distant Neanderthal cousin tinted moisturizer has rapidly become the modern-day stenographer or telephone switch operator of the beauty land.
What the devotees may not know, however, is that the origin of the explosive popularity of the BB cream is Korean actresses. The use of BB creams originated in Asia and most notably in Korea, (though formulated by a German dermatologist in the 1960s) and even goes as back as the 1980s when dermatologists used the cream to help laser surgery patients to help with their highly sensitive skin and to provide coverage for scars and redness. Soon, the Korean cosmetic companies adapted the technology and made it available to the general public. Then the Korean actresses and their legendary and relentless pursuit of flawless skin ended up spreading the popularity to Japan and China, then to the west. When popular Korean actresses such as Song Hye-kyo started revealing their secrets and endorsing the product, the rest became the proverbial history. Now BB creams are even popular among men in Korea. Today, BBC even reported that Amore Pacific, Korea’s biggest cosmetics company, estimated that 20% of young men now wear some kind of foundation occasionally, wanting to look well-groomed in Korea’s highly competitive society.
As for me, I, too, have not been able to escape the cult following ever since I discovered them on my trip to Korea. Uneven skin tone? No problem. Blemish to hide? Check. One easy step in the morning routine that can save those precious 10 minutes or more can actually allow you to catch that express bus to work on time which could end up saving you up to 20 minutes in total, or conversely grant you 20 more delicious minutes of sleep. Who can blame me for getting that separation anxiety as I find myself squeezing the last remaining bit of cream out of the tube with both thumbs? Luckily in these days, the cure for the withdrawal is nothing more than a quick trip to the Shoppers Drug Market. Time saved. Sanity restored. The appearance of presentable skin preserved. Thank you, Song Hye-kyo.