Monday, 3 December 2012

What's in BB cream?

BB creams are all the rage at the moment as they act as a multi-purpose product. Having recently finished my degree in biomedical science, I've had the time to research some of the major ingredients in some Western BB creams.

I have done this research out of my own personal interest and all information below is my interpretation of information gathered from sources listed at the end.

Rimmel 9 in 1 BB Cream.
The Nine Claims:
1. Primes
2. Moisturises
3. Minimises pores
4. Conceals
5. Covers
6. Smoothes
7. Mattifies
8. Brightens
9. Protects.

Is all this true when you look at the ingredients?
I won't include the whole ingredients list because I highly doubt you'll read through every ingredient. I will just discuss some of the major ingredients used. I'll post my sources in links at the end.

Ingredient 2: Dicaprylyl carbonate. This is what is used to make your skin feel velvet smooth. It acts as an emollient with spreading properties to produce the smooth feeling without leaving an oily residue.
Ingredient 16: Glyceryl stearate - also acts as an emollient.
Claim 6 - Smoothes: tick!

Ingredient 3: Mica. Mica is a mineral which gives a white sparkly effect when added to cosmetic products. As it is a naturally occurring product, it contains traces of heavy metals, however the levels in cosmetics are very low and considered safe.
Claim 8 - Brightens: tick!

Ingredient 4: Cyclopentasiloxane. This is a silicone found in many beauty product and acts as an emollient. An emollient helps to make the skin softer and more hydrated as they reduce evaporation from the skin, increasing the water content of the skin.
Ingredient 5: Glycerin. This acs as a moisturising agent, as it attracts water (moisture) from the air into the skin.
Ingredient 12 is shea butter, a well known moisturiser.
Claim 2 - Moisturises: tick!

Ingredient 7: Ethylhexyl Salicylate - you may know of it as salicyclic acid. This is widely used in cosmetics and has uses as a sunscreen agent.
Ingredient 8: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate. It is an active ingredient in sunscreens due to its UV filters. 
Ingredient 11: Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane. Absorbs UV light to protect against sun damage.
Ingredient 14: Octocrylene - a UV absorber found in sunscreens.
Claim 9 - Protects: tick!

Ingredient 13: Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer. This absorbs sebum, the fluid produced by the oil glands on your face.
Claim 7 - Mattifies: tick!

Ingredient 18: Aluminum dimyristate. I couldn't find much information on this, but apparently it is an anti-caking agent, an emulsion stabiliser (stabilises the interface between mixture of liquids) and viscosity controller (controls thickness of a liquid). I'm going to interpret this as priming abiliy as it helps stabilise the intergrity of makeup on the skin. I could be wrong. 
Claim 1: Primes - debatable 

Ingredient 19: Ascorbyl glucoside. This is a form of Vitamin C which is taken into the skin and used to inhibit the formation of melanin (the pigmentation in our skin). It can be used to hide the appearance dark spots. 
Claim 4: Conceals - debatable 
Claim 5: Covers - debatable 

Ingredient 24: Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract. Extracts from a licorice plant that can tighten the skin and/or produce a tingly feeling
Claim 3: Minimises pores - tick!

Well, thats all the claims covered so I won't discuss any more ingredients. Even though all the claims can be accounted for, it should be noted that some of the ingredients appear quite late in the list, so the extent of which they play a role may not be very significant.

Anyways, let me know what you thought of this post. Was it too scientific and boring? Would you be interested in seeing any more of these types of posts?
Don't worry, I'll still do my usual type of blog posts with swatches/reviews etc :)

Dicaprylyl carbonate




Ethylhexyl salicylate

Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate

Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane

Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer


Glyceryl stearate

Aluminium Dimyristate

Ascorbyl glucoside

Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract


  1. Loved this post sarah!! I didn't find it boring at all, it was really informative, and this way I can look for those ingredients in other products too :) Glad to see that the BB is really living up to all its claims.

    1. Thank you, I'm really glad you found it helpful! :)

  2. I am unsure about claims 1,4 and 5 but I could be wrong. I love looking at ingredient lists too! Awesome post Sarah :)

    1. Looking back at the 'evidence', I agree! I've changed my post slightly :) Thanks Jasmine!

  3. I love seeing posts like these, it always good to dig deeper into the claims cosmetic companies make! That was really interesting to read :)

    1. Thanks, I'm glad you found it interesting :) it was pretty interesting to look at it from a scientific point of view, I think I'll be paying more attention to ingredients now!

  4. Hi Sarah! Great informative post. Loved reading this :)

    1. Who knew science + beauty would make a good read? :P


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