BB Glow: The Ultimate Guide
Everything you need to know about the BB glow treatment – how it’s done, how much it costs, benefits, risks, and best examples.
BB glow was the most hyped up treatment a few years ago, and it’s still a sought-after facial. It’s a treatment that combines the effects of permanent makeup with micro/nanoneedling to recreate the look of foundation.
Therefore, it’s also dubbed semi permanent foundation.
It’s been in and out of the spotlight, and it’s often considered the most controversial permanent makeup treatment. So you’ve probably heard about it, but you may not be 100% clear on what it is or how it’s done.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about the BB glow treatment.
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ABOUT BB GLOW
What Is the BB Glow Treatment?
BB glow is a complex treatment that is supposed to improve the texture, quality and tone of the face. It’s a fusion between the microneedling/nanoneedling facial and semi permanent makeup, so it targets a number of skin issues, and gives an anti-aging effect.
It’s supposed to give the effects of wearing lightweight foundation, or BB cream.
Want to find out more about the BB glow? Follow the links:
BB Glow Before and After Gallery
Image source: Instagram @homeofbeauty_engelholm
What Issues Does the BB Glow Facial Target?
The BB glow can diminish:
- Discoloration (redness, age spots, dark undereye circles, freckles, etc.)
- Acne scars
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Large pores
- Dull, dehydrated skin
It improves the overall state and appearance of the skin by giving a brightening effect and increasing the production of collagen and elastin.
Who Is a Candidate for the BBGlow?
Anyone who’s dealing with any of the skin issues listed above and who wants to improve their overall skin state. That said, since the treatment does involve breaking the skin surface and pigmentation, there are certain contraindications.
Who Isn’t a Candidate for the BBGlow?
Due to the nature of the application and the pigmented serums used, the BB glow facial isn’t suitable for clients who are:
- pregnant or nursing
- undergoing cancer treatment
- suffering from skin conditions like Psoriasis, Rosacea, active acne, etc.
- suffering from any infection
- prone to keloid scarring
- prone to allergies to cosmetic products
- taking blood-thinning medications
- taking Accutane
Image source: Instagram @tokyoskin_chicago
ABOUT THE BB GLOW TREATMENT
How Is the BB Glow Treatment Done?
Basically, the BB glow facial is micro/nanoneedling with an added step of applying the tinted serum. It’s a complex treatment done is several steps:
Step 1 – Cleaning
Since the surface of the skin will be broken, the face needs to be clean of any bacteria, dirt, and makeup and skincare residues.
So the first step is cleaning the face with a gentle cleanser.
Step 2 – Exfoliating Gel
Then, a gentle chemical peel is applied. It removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and increases the absorption of products used in the following steps.
The gel is usually applied with a brush and there’s no need to massage it in. Most formulas are based on lactic and mandelic acids, but ingredients vary from brand to brand.
The gel is left on for a few minutes, depending on the sensitivity of the skin and its type:
- Sensitive skin – up to 2 minutes
- Normal skin – up to 3 minutes
- Oily skin – up to 5 minutes
Step 3 – Neutralizing Solution
It’s not enough to just wash off the chemical peel gel – it needs to be neutralized so its activity stops. If left on for too long, it could cause damage to the skin.
So a neutralizing solution in the form of a foam that stops its chemical reaction is applied.
Step 4 – BB Booster Application
Next, it’s time for the first round of micro/nano needling.
This step is the application of serums that treat different skin issues. There’s a wide range of serums that can work together to improve the overall skin state, but also target specific conditions.
The technician assesses the state of the skin and chooses the best serum to meet your needs.
The serums are applied with a derma pen. This device features micro or nanoneedles which pierce the skin, allowing the serums to penetrate it and get absorbed. The device is moved across the whole face in circular motions.
Step 5 – BB Glow Serum Application
Finally, it’s time for the application of the tinted serum.
Serums come in several shades. A serum 1 shade lighter is used for the majority of the face, but darker shades can be used to contour the face, and there are even rosy serums that recreate the look of blush. Basically, the semi permanent foundation recreates the look of several complexion makeup products.
Drops of the tined serum are distributed over the face, and the same micro/nano needling device is used to implement them into the skin. The tech will go over the entire face several times, usually 3 times on the first session, and 4 times on further sessions.
After this, the residues can be manually massaged into the skin for maximum absorption.
Image source: Instagram @perfectlashescali
Step 6 – Nourishing Mask
The final step is a hydrating sheet mask, which soothes the skin after the treatment and provides it with some additional nourishment and hydration.
It’s placed onto the face and left on for around 15 minutes.
And that’s it! The next session can be booked 2-4 weeks later.
The BB glow treatment can also be combined with some other facial, like the dermaplaning treatment, or LED therapy.
Does the BB Glow Facial Hurt?
Since nanoneedling devices emerged on the market, most beauty techs switched from microneedling pens to the thinner version.
The tips of the tiny needles on a nanoneedling pen are extremely thin, and as such, the cuts made are so tiny they don’t hurt. On top of their microscopic diameter, they penetrate the skin very shallowly.
The penetration of the nanoneedles does not hurt. It feels like tingling, or very slight stinging at most.
Some clients report that the exfoliating gel was the most uncomfortable part of the treatment, and even that is just a slight stinging sensation.
How Many BB Glow Session Do I Need?
Since the pigmented serum is injected into the epidermis layer, so very shallow into the skin, its saturation is built up over time. Likewise, micro/nanoneedling improves the texture and state of the skin gradually.
Therefore, the BB glow is done over a course of 2-10 sessions, depending on the severity of the skin issues targeted. Most clients need 3-5 to achieve the desired result. Significant improvement is visible after the first session, but the longevity of the results is ensured through multiple treatments.
Image source: Instagram @bbglowperth
How Long Does the BB Glow Treatment Take?
Each BB glow session takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE BB GLOW FACIAL
How Do I Prepare for the BB Glow Treatment?
The micro needling BB glow doesn’t require any complicated preparation, but here’s what you should do:
- Discontinue use of Retinol, Retin A, or Vitamin A for 5 days before the treatment
- If you take any acne or blood-thinning medication, consult your doctor and see if it’s possible to discontinue use for some time before the treatment.
- Do a patch test.
BB GLOW AFTERCARE
Does the BB Glow Facial Require Any Aftercare?
Yes, because the skin is sensitive and prone to infection until it recovers, but it’s quite simple.
Here are the rules of BBglow aftercare:
- Don’t touch your face for a few days
- Keep your face dry for at least 24 hours (no washing, but also no sweating)
- After 24 hours, wash your face with lukewarm water and mild soap for a few days (avoid harsh products)
- No makeup for at least 2 day
- No swimming for 7 days
- No sunlight exposure for a few days; after that, wear SPF when you’re outside
- No facials and harsh skincare for at least 2 weeks
- No vitamin C or retinol for at least 8 weeks (these can speed up pigment fading)
How Long Does the Skin Need to Heal After BBGlow?
The treatment is relatively non-invasive, so there is no actual downtime.
But since the skin is broken, it needs some time to close up the tiny micro-wounds. They’ll close up quickly, within a few days, but during this time, you need to be very careful not to let it get contaminated – follow the aftercare tips.
The skin needs around 14 days to heal completely, including internal healing, so that’s how far apart the sessions need to be spaced out. This also allows the pigments to settle.
BB GLOW EFFECTS
What Are the Effects of a BB Glow?
The BBglow is supposed to act as semi permanent foundation. It serves both as a skin texture perfecting treatment, and as a form of pigmentation that evens out the skin tone.
So, the final result is a more even, radiant complexion with discoloration diminished, and an improvement in the texture and quality of the skin.
Here’s how the BB glow improves the skin:
- The micro/nanoneedling technique in itself stimulates collagen and elastin production – the tiny punctures on the skin cause it to regenerate and emerge as tighter, firmer, and plumper.
- The special serums target specific skin issues. There are universal ones which provide nourishment and deep hydration, but also special formulas for diminishing acne scars, or line lines and wrinkles.
- The tinted serum implants pigments into the surface layer of the skin, perfecting its tone and blending any discolored spots into the rest of the skin.
How Long Do the Effects of a BB Glow Last?
The longevity of the BB glow results is 4-8 months, depending primarily on how many sessions you got in the series – the more sessions, the longer they’ll last. They may even last out longer.
The pigments implemented are supposed to stay very close to the surface of the skin, and fade away after some time. The body breaks them down and extracts them, but the skin’s natural turnover cycle also greatly contributes to the fading.
The longevity also depends on your skincare routine. If you often use anti-aging or chemical peel products, or do mechanical peels often, the results can disappear faster.
If you want to refresh the results, get a maintenance session every 4-5 months.
Image source: Instagram @bbglowperth
BB GLOW SIDE EFFECTS
Are There Any Side Effects of BB Glow?
It’s important to distinguish between the skin’s immediate response to the treatment, and long term side effects that can be problematic.
Immediate Side Effects
The immediate side effects are minor for most clients, and they include:
- Pinpoint bleeding (might happen during the procedure on sensitive skin)
- Minor skin peeling – more likely for dry skin
All these are normal, since the surface of the skin is broken and a reaction is therefore inevitable. They should subside within 24 hours, except for the peeling, which can occur a few days later.
Infection or Allergies
Whenever the surface of the skin is broken, even with a nano needle, there’s a possibility of it getting infected. But if the treatment is performed in sterile conditions and using sterile equipment, and if you follow the aftercare tips, there’s a very low chance of contamination and subsequent infection.
Allergies to the products used are very rare with high-quality formulas, but they can be manifested through redness, rashes or itching. To prevent them, have the tech do a patch test with all the products that will be used before the treatment, especially if you’re generally prone to allergies to cosmetic products.
Long Term Side Effects
The tinted serums used for BB glow contain pigments. When the pigments are implanted into the skin, they should stay very close to the surface, and basically color it into a certain tone. With proper technique, they can settle more or less consistently in all areas, but sometimes, the saturation ends up patchy.
Since the tone of the pigments is very similar to the client’s natural skin tone, this isn’t very prominent – until the skin gets tanned.
If you get a BB glow, tanning is not a good idea. The skin tans, but the pigments don’t, and you could end up with lighter patches that don’t look too attractive.
Plus, sunlight exposure can cause the pigments to turn color and end up ashy or grayish.
BB GLOW COST
How Much Does BB Glow Cost?
BB glow is usually charged per session, so the more sessions you get, the higher the final cost.
The cost of a session varies from salon to salon, but the average price is around $200. There are salons that charge as low as $120, and those who charge as much as $400 per session.
Most salons offer discounted package deals if you book several sessions, which you probably will.
Image source: Instagram @glowithjustine
BB GLOW SAFETY
Is the BB Glow Facial Safe?
One of the biggest beauty debates in recent years has been whether BB glow is safe or not, and whether the risks outweigh the benefits.
Here’s the thing – BB glow has not been approved by the FDA.
Many artists have spoken out against the treatment, claiming the formulas are not safe. The skin-tone color of the tinted serums is given by titanium dioxide. Many scientists claim that long-term exposure to titanium dioxide is potentially harmful.
The treatment claims to not implement the tinted serums into the dermis, only into the epidermis. And while the needle length during the application of the tinted serum may be short enough not to reach the dermis, if the previous step was medical (deeper) microneedling, the channels that will lead the serums straight into the dermis.
The dermis isn’t shed, so some of the pigments, and therefore, titanium dioxide, can potentially stay stuck in it forever. That’s some serious long-term exposure.
So if you decide to get a BB glow treatment, make sure you find a salon that uses as high-quality serums as possible, and make sure the needling depth isn’t too deep.
BB GLOW – MAIN TAKEAWAYS
BB glow is a multipurpose treatment that can help improve or camouflage a number of skin issues. It combines the techniques of micro/nano needling and permanent makeup: a derma pen device injects serums into the skin which help treat specific conditions and tints the skin for a brightening effect of wearing a lightweight foundation. It can give great immediate effects, but it requires special attention long-term and regular maintenance.