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Part moisturizer, part makeup, part sunscreen, BB and CC creams promise it all. But just how natural is that UV-fending glow they give off?
What’s the diff between all those BB and CC (colour correcting) creams that have taken over shelves? Judging from the ingredients on these two Aveeno products, zilch. They are carbon copies, from the endocrine-disrupting octinoxate and oxybenzone sunscreen chemicals to the rash-inducing methylisothiazolinone preservative shunned in the UK but still used here. The only bright side is that parent company Johnson & Johnson has beefed up its policies around palm oil sourcing to become deforestation-free. Regardless, take a pass. $25.
Origins’ whole shtick is that it’s “powered by nature.” While it does pack a healthy supply of plant ingredients into the mix, which is free of big red-flagged ingredients like parabens, the company relies on the same octinoxate and oxybenzone sunscreen chems mucking up conventional drugstore products like Aveeno. Also boasting “high-performance naturals,” Tarte is guilty of similar issues with its BB Illuminating Moisturizer, though at least that company’s slightly different BB Tinted Moisturizer uses mineral sunscreens.
These are your most natural drugstore options. They’re made by Physicians Formula, but without the synthetic crap used in its regular makeup. These are both Ecocert- certified to be 100 per cent naturally derived and 70 per cent certified organic. Plus, the Ecocert seal guarantees it’s free of GMOs, nanoparticles, silicones, synthetic perfumes, parabens, PEGs and other nasties common in creams. A bit pasty initially but absorbs to a matte finish. Decent coverage, particularly with the foundation-like CC cream.
The two colours may only work with light-to-medium skin tones. I found the Light/Medium a smidge orangey. CC is SPF 30
BB has no SPF.
If you’re looking for a Canadian BB cream, this is it. There are others on the market, but DermaE’s BB has dodgy octinoxate, Zorah’s is certified natural but really sheer, and FitGlow’s would be cleaner without the triethanolamine and palm-derived stuff. Vancouver-based Haut makes a high-performance BB cream loaded with organic ingredients. It hides imperfections with great coverage in a whopping eight shades (all without mica’s child labour issues). It’s got palm oil, yes, but it’s certified organic. It’s also more for those with normal to dry skin rather than oily types. It’s not advertised, but this product was formulated to be SPF 24 non-nano. Unscented. hautcosmetics.ca. $39.
These 70 per cent organic sheer-tinted moisturizers from California rescued me in the depths of winter, giving me a warm, all-natural glow. And now that the sun is shining they’re doing double duty with 30 SPF via non-nano zinc oxide. Not sure the fruit stem cells actually repair skin cells as claimed, but they have a light, smooth texture that keeps my combination skin happy, evens out skin tone and minimizes pores, and all without dodgy preservatives or mica. Plus, they’re non-GMO, vegan and only $22 at your local health store (or well.ca). Note that my fave, the CC, is richer, with rosehip oils and comes in two warmer tints. The BB is either “sheer tint” or untinted oil-controlling. (Those with darker complexions should check out Haut or Suntegrity Tinted Moisturizing Sunscreen.) Scented.