lab rat

Lab Rat: Is This the Supreme BB Cream?

Photo: Courtesy of MAC

Beauty balms are great in theory. They streamline that moisturizer, SPF, primer, concealer, powder foundation dance that is both fussy-feeling and terrifying — after all, so much can go wrong with multi-step face prep. But for the past three years, I’ve found it nearly impossible to find a BB cream I like, or one that matches my skin. Enter a new line of beauty balms from MAC, which is my go-to brand for foundation. Would its Prep + Prime BB line be the ultimate in BBs? Let’s hope so, because winter is upon us, and I need to start faking glowing, healthy skin.

I tested MAC’s BB offerings in two formulations: its Beauty Balm SPF 35 — a light, tinted cream in a tube that wasn’t oily but definitely moisturizing — and its Beauty Balm Compact SPF 30 (same formulation, using a compact delivery system). While MAC products normally offer a great range of skin tones, I was disappointed with the spectrum of colors for this compact. I had a total Goldilocks moment. The Medium Dark was just too light, and when I used the compact version, it looked like chalky, pancake makeup, while the Dark Plus looked like I was wearing fake tanner. All ends of the spectrum seem slightly yellow-based, so anyone with pink undertones to her skin will find the makeup might make her look a little dry. The cream version in the tube was more forgiving, and I found that by mixing two shades, I could get a perfect match.

I’ve been wearing MAC’s Beauty Balm Cream SPF 35 nonstop, and I finally understand the magic of the all-in-one beauty balm. Every morning, it takes me about five minutes to make my skin look healthier, more glowing, clearer, more even-toned, and less blotchy, but nobody else can even tell I’m wearing makeup. It just looks like, for once, I’ve decided to start drinking the recommended daily dose of water.

Lab Rat: Is This the Supreme BB Cream?