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Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 — The Queen BB

BB Creams are putting the “b” in buzz-y this season, with everyone from Dior, Dr Brandt, Dr. Jart+, Estée Lauder, and Clinique releasing their own lightweight, skin-perfecting formulas, meant to moisturize the complexion, boost luminosity, reduce the appearance of pores, even skin tone, conceal any dark spots or blemishes, reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles, and provide natural-looking coverage, along with UVA and UVB protection.

Thus far, I’ve tested a handful of BB Creams – from the Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30, which disappointed me due to the greasy residue it left behind, to the Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25, which delivered minimal tinted coverage but worked wonders instead of providing that lit-from-within glow that makes all women appear more youthful and vibrant.

Out of every beauty balm I’ve tested this year, none has lived up to the high standard established by the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 ($39 at Sephora.com and Smashbox.com). Available in five shades — fair, light, light/medium, medium, and dark — this multi-tasking balm manages to deliver enough coverage to conceal any existing imperfections without looking cakey or flaky. Instead, the beauty balm leaves skin looking so natural that no one will be able to discern whether or not you’re wearing makeup.

The Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream soothes inflamed areas thanks to the incorporation of wheat germ extract and cooling cucumber extract, while glycerin and barley extract work to moisturize and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, and apple extract rejuvenates the skin thanks to its rich concentration of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Caffeine, meanwhile, tightens the skin, making it appear firmer and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Mineral pigments provide a translucent veil of color and deposit fine light-reflecting particles that give the skin a dewy finish. A combination of physical sunblocks and chemical sunscreens — octinoxate, octisalate, oxybenzone, and titanium dioxide — work in tandem to provide broad spectrum UV protection, thereby safeguarding the skin from free radicals and their worrisome aging effects on the skin.

Ideally, you should smooth the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 to cleansed and moisturized skin, either allowing this lightweight balm to serve as your minimalist complexion enhancer or employing it as a primer before applying foundation, blush, lipstick, and any other cosmetics.

When you wear the Smashbox BB Cream, your complexion won’t look oily or greasy, nor will it look flaky, patchy, and streaky — which, in and of itself, sets this BB cream above the rest. It also manages to deliver a sizable amount of coverage without your face looking “done up,” transforming your face into a flawless, impeccable, radiant, fresh-looking canvas that everyone will stare at with the intensity they’d reserve for Renaissance Era paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On days when I don’t want to apply much makeup and instead want to rely on an unfussy, uncomplicated look, I’ll apply the BB Cream in Light, using a BeautyBlender sponge to smooth the product into all the nooks and crevices of my face and ensure that the cream is perfectly blended. In the end, no one can usually tell I’m wearing anything at all — which is precisely how I like it! If I do need more coverage, I’ll apply a tinted moisturizer or creme-to-powder foundation above the BB Cream, and I’ll be set for the day.

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