The BB glow treatment emerged a few years ago, promising to be a solution to all your complexion problems. Marketed as a treatment that combines anti-aging effects with evening out the complexion, it was supposed to double as a (semi-)permanent version of foundation or concealer.
The hype around the treatment subsided a bit over the years, but it’s still widely available and many clients seek it. They know they want it to improve their skin imperfections, but they may not be 100% sure how it works.
If you’re curious about how the BB glow treatment is done, keep reading for a detailed walkthrough.
What Is the BB Glow Treatment?
The BB in BB glow stands for blemish balm or beauty balm, and the treatment was designed to imitate the effects of BB cream – a lightweight type of foundation that diminishes imperfections but also nourishes the skin. So it’s supposed to provide care, but also to improve the complexion by coloring skin imperfections to blend them with the rest of the skin.
But from within. The BB glow treatment is done using the nanoneedling technique for the purpose of micropigmentation. Using the derma pen with super fine needles (nanoneedles), the skin is opened up in tiny dot incisions, and nourishing and tinted serums are injected into it.
So it’s actually a form of pigmentation, but that’s not its only function.
The effects a BB glow treatment is supposed to give are:
- evening out the skin tone
- camouflaging imperfections such as redness, hyperpigmentation, and dark undereye circles
- nourishing and hydrating the skin
- reducing the visibility of pores
- reducing fine lines and wrinkles for an anti-aging effect.
The promise of all these effects from a single treatment is what made BB glow so popular a few years back. But it also makes it a very complex treatment with several steps. Let’s see which.
Image source: Instagram @salon_mooi_by_laura
The BB Glow Treatment Step by Step
Here are the steps of a BB glow session. Each step uses a different product that serves a different purpose.
The BB glow treatment implies breaking the surface of the skin, so the area has to be clean of any dirt, makeup and skincare residues to make sure no bacteria can get into the incisions.
So the first step is cleaning the face using a mild cleanser that won’t irritate the skin before the treatment.
2. Exfoliating Gel
Then, an exfoliating gel is applied onto the face. The purpose of this step is to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and increase the absorption of serums used in steps 4 and 5.
The gel is a combination of acids (lactic and mandelic acids are common ingredients) that do a mild chemical peel. It’s applied with a brush and there’s no need to massage it in.
The gel is left on for a few minutes, depending on the sensitivity of the skin:
- Sensitive skin – up to 2 minutes
- Normal skin – up to 3 minutes
- Oily skin – up to 5 minutes
*The time can vary depending on the formula of the gel.
Tingling and redness are normal and expected.
Then, the face is covered with a neutralizing solution, usually in the form of a foam. The neutralizer stops the action of acids, and it’s a very important step, because the acids could damage the skin if left active for too long.
4. BB Booster Round
Next, the derma pen comes into play. The pen features a number of very fine needles that penetrate the skin very shallowly. Using circular motions, the entire face is covered.
The BB booster round is the application of nourishing serums that treat different skin conditions. There are several different formulas that give different effects. Some provide only nourishment and hydration, while others target skin issues such as redness, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, or give brightening effects.
The technician decides which serum is the best fit for the state of the skin. All serums contribute to skin regeneration, and the technique itself – creating micro-traumas to the skin – contributes to the stimulation of collagen production.
Image source: Instagram @bdlashesandmore
5. BB Round
Finally, it’s time for the pigmented vitamin serum.
A derma pen is moved over the skin in circular motions. Pigmented serums come in several shades, and more than can be used to recreate concealer, blush, and the overall foundation.
For the entire face, a serum 1 shade lighter than the skin tone is used, but the BB glow treatment can also contour the face by injecting slightly darker shades in specific spots, and even a rosy shade that recreates a light blush effect.
Usually, several passes are made. The first session usually includes 3 passes, while 4 passes are done in further sessions.
Some technicians do a quick massage after the needling is over to rub in the residues of the serum.
6. Hydrating Mask
The final step is a nourishing sheet mask that will hydrate the skin and soothe it. Like any sheet mask, it’s left on for 10-15 minutes and the residues can be massaged in.
BB Glow Downtime and Aftercare
Since the BB glow treatment creates very little trauma to the skin and the needles go very shallow into it, there’s virtually no downtime. The skin can be a bit red and some minor swelling might occur, but it all subsides very quickly.
In terms of aftercare, the BB glow treatment is really not that demanding:
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep your face dry for 24 hours (no washing, but also no sweating).
- After that, wash your face with very mild soap and lukewarm water for a couple of days.
- Don’t wear any makeup for 48 hours.
- Wear SPF when you’re outside (sunlight exposure can fade the pigments).
Does BB Glow Require Multiple Sessions?
For one, the treatment of any skin condition requires more than one nanoneedling session. But apart from that, the pigment serums are injected so shallow into the skin that they need to be built up over several sessions.
Most clients need 3-4 sessions to achieve the desired results, but more severe skin issues require up to 6 sessions. The sessions are done 2-4 weeks apart, to allow the skin to heal and the pigments to settle.
Image source: Instagram @line_studio_ykt
How Long Do the Effects Last?
The effects can last around 4 months with proper maintenance. The pigments injected into the skin are supposed to be gradually broken down by the body, and eventually fade. The skin should go back to its previous state.
Why Is the BB Glow Treatment Controversial?
You must have heard many technicians speak out against BB glow. The problem with the treatment lies in the pigmented serums.
Once color is injected into the skin, it stays there for a while and keeps its shade, no matter what happens with the skin around it. Since the face is often exposed to sunlight, 2 things can happen:
- The skin gets a tan and the pigments inside it look like lighter patches.
- The pigments react with UV radiation and their color changes.
Although they’re supposed to fade, sometimes the pigmented serum formulas cannot be broken down by the body entirely, so they stay stuck in the skin. To make things worse, they can’t be removed as other permanent makeup can.
So, Should I Get the BB Glow Treatment?
The BB glow treatment can definitely help with a number of skin issues due to the collagen induction through nanoneedling, but the pigmentation part of the treatment is controversial. If you do decide to get a semi-permanent foundation, make sure you find a skilled tech who uses top-quality pigments that are stable and don’t change color and be ready to commit to keeping your face out of the sunlight as much as possible.
Cover image source: Freepik