Based on my observations.
according to webMD, BB creams is said to originate from germany where dermatologist formulated it for patients who've just underwent laser treatments in order to cover the temporary post-treatment redness. it is known as a "blemish balm", or "beauty balm", suggesting a product with a considerably thicker consistency, most probably for a better coverage.
the BB cream that i personally come to know of originated from korea, since the koreans were the ones who made them popular. for a very long time, i've been trying to distinguish the difference between a foundation and a BB cream. i'm sure many of you have been confused like me! after years of careful observation and research, i've finally arrived at an answer.
BB cream basically embodies everything a busy and/or lazy woman may want - moisturizing, priming, sun protection, and slight coverage in an all in one package. if you're still not clear what a BB cream is, it's an all-in-one product (much like the two in one shampoo and conditioners).
there isn't any standard definition for BB creams. as a young girl, i was told that a BB cream is skin care product with some coverage. while it's not entirely false, this could be misleading because i actually thought that it's okay to not remove the BB cream after the entire day since "it's a skin care product!". it's not.
how so is the BB cream different from the foundation? to be honest, not much difference!!! in fact, you can probably make your own BB cream by mixing a full coverage foundation with a sunscreen and moisturizing cream of your choice!
of course, this wasn't the case many years ago. makeup formulation has changed over the years to match itself to the market demand. the success of an all-in-one product means that more foundations are having multiple functions these days, so it's safe to say that foundations aren't that different from BB creams anymore.
the functions of specific BB creams/foundation varies between product lines. asian BB creams tend to promote the whitening and brightening benefits, whereas western BB creams tend to promote mattifying or oil control effects. just goes to show how different the two markets are.
we may have been led to believe that BB creams and foundations are two separate entities. that may be true a decade ago, but that boundary isn't there anymore! the same goes for tinted moisturizers, which is again, a blend of foundation and a moisturizing base. i will expect the tinted moisturizer to have a lighter coverage than most bb creams and foundations though.
for comparison purpose, i put together two popular base products! you get the idea.
when i think of BB creams, what appears in my head is a foundation with a stiffer formula - more like whipped cream than a liquid. perhaps that's the only difference between a bb cream and a liquid foundation that i can currently think of. the stiffer consistency means you have more control over the product, allowing you to work with your fingers instead of relying on brushes or sponges.
in conclusion, a BB cream is much alike a foundation in terms of capabilities, both offers a wide range of benefits depending on the brand and product line. there is really a formulation for every different needs - anti aging, whitening, mattifying, oil control - you name it, they have it.
when it comes to making a decision between the two, you're better off asking yourself what tools you like to apply your foundation with. if you like fingers, then give BB creams a chance! otherwise, stick to foundations that you already have, because buying a BB cream when you already have a foundation is just a waste of money and space, since the foundation can do just the same thing the BB cream can do! well, unless you have the space and money, then, be my guest.