BB creams are a great type of foundation makeup if you want lighter coverage that also works as skin care, helping to improve the appearance of your complexion over time while instantly evening out your overall skin tone and blurring out imperfections. Some people might find foundation to be a little too heavy but want more skin benefits than a tinted moisturizer. If you’ve never tried a BB cream before but are curious, this post will break it down for you, including its benefits, how to apply it, and how it compares to foundation and CC creams. We’ll end of course with recommendations of the best BB creams available on the market for you to try.
What Are BB Creams?
The “BB” in BB cream stands for blemish balm or beauty balm (in Western markets). BB creams gained popularity in Korea before spreading all over the world. They consist of a creamy formulation that’s lighter than foundation and used to even out skin tone to make it look more uniform in color.
BB creams will usually include moisturizer, SPF and primer in the formulation for a truly seamless look. As such, it helps hydrate, protect and provide coverage so you can skip the other steps in your routine, like using a primer and putting on sunscreen.
Since a BB cream doesn’t offer the kind of coverage you get from a foundation, you can use concealer to cover up especially noticeable marks and spots, like a prominent pimple. BB creams might also contain antioxidants to help protect skin from pollution, sun damage and free radical damage. In short, BB creams are a multi-tasking cosmetic that definitely belong in your skincare arsenal.
Keep in mind, though, that one problem or con with BB creams is that they don’t come in a lot of shades, so you might not be able to find the perfect hue for your particular skin tone.
BB Cream vs. CC Cream
If you’ve heard of BB creams, you may have also heard of CC creams. CC creams stand for color correcting or complexion correcting. They are tinted and more sheer than BB creams, and used to even out your complexion by hiding age spots or some redness. If your skin is splotchy, a CC cream may be particularly helpful. A great thing about CC creams is that it won’t feel like you’re wearing makeup, or it can help you get that coveted no-makeup makeup look. BB creams offer more skin benefits than CC creams, which are essentially just made to reduce redness and correct your complexion if it is uneven or has brown spots caused by something like melasma.
BB Cream vs. Foundation
As stated previously, foundations offer more coverage than BB creams. However, they don’t offer the same skin benefits. Of course some foundations have SPF built-in, but they will usually not have primer nor moisturizer as part of the formulation. Thus, a foundation won’t offer hydration or smooth out your skin so your makeup lasts longer. People with problem skin might still prefer foundation over BB creams because they will need that extra coverage.
When To Use BB Cream
BB creams are best when you don’t need a ton of coverage, so it’s ideal for daily use when you simply want to create a clean, even look. Also, if you’re in a rush in the morning, you can opt for a BB cream that will be easier to apply without making mistakes or having streaks due to the lighter coverage. Furthermore, if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to prep with moisturizer and primer, you can use a BB cream that already has those two in it. As you have probably figured out by now, BB creams are very versatile and great for use in a pinch. BB creams are also great for use in the mornings rather than evenings because they have SPF to offer sun protection during your day (just keep in mind that like with any sunscreen, you will need to reapply throughout the day to reap the protective benefits).
How To Use BB Cream
It’s best to apply BB cream with a beauty sponge or foundation brush, but because of its texture you can also use your fingers. Makeup blenders like beauty sponges will give you a more even coverage. Apply a small amount onto the blender or brush and apply to your skin in a circular motion to thoroughly blend the BB cream all over your face, making sure to get into hard to reach areas like along the nostrils. You of course can use your hands and fingers to apply a BB cream, but make sure you always wash your hands first.
Following that, apply the BB cream in dots wherever you want coverage, including under your eyes. Using the pad of your fingers, pat all over the BB cream applied area to spread it around and blend it into your skin. Patting motions are similar to using a blender and will provide more cohesive, seamless coverage. Once you’ve applied the BB cream onto your face, make sure you blend down into your neck or your face and neck might end up being two different colors.
If you’re unsure how to do the rest of your makeup after you’ve applied the BB cream, consider keeping the rest of your face simple. A little mascara, some light blush and lip gloss will go a long way to give you a fresh, radiant look without going overboard.
If you aren’t satisfied with the BB cream coverage, try using some concealer in problem areas like dark circles under eyes or a blemish that needs more than sheer coverage.
Best BB Creams
These are our suggestions for the best BB creams, including best BB cream for oily skin, best BB cream for dry skin and best Korean BB cream. You’re sure to find something on this list that will suit your particular needs.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur
This one is formulated for oily skin, and can help mattify your complexion and absorb excess oil. Furthermore, it minimizes the appearance of pores and offers great coverage for blemishes. The mattifier in this formulation is called airlicium, which absorbs 150 times its weight in oil.
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream
Smashbox’s BB cream features eight shades. It primes, protects, hydrates, reduces shine and protects with SPF 35. It is also good for normal, dry, combination and oily skin.
Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35
Coming in seven shades, the Bobbi Brown BB Cream hydrates and protects with a high SPF. It’s also great for both covering and treating wrinkles thanks to its moisturizing ability. The drier skin is, the more likely that wrinkles will be more prominent and visible.
IPKN Moist & Firm BB Cream
According to the brand, IPKN BB cream supports elasticity and improves skin firmness, making it look younger. It also evens out skin tone and makes it look more radiant. It is available in five shades from fair to medium-tan.
Erborian BB Cream Tinted Moisturizer
Erborian is a great Korean skincare brand. This particular BB cream features ginseng as a key ingredient to nourish and moisturize skin. Ginseng further helps smooth skin for a more youthful look.
Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream
The good thing about the Jane Iredale BB cream is that it comes in 10 shades, which is more than a lot of other BB creams. It’s also great for minimizing large pores and smoothing out wrinkles and fine lines. As a bonus it is water resistant for 40 minutes and reef-safe, meaning the SPF ingredients in it won’t harm coral reefs.
e.l.f. Cosmetics BB Cream
A lot of great key ingredients comprise this BB cream, including vitamin E (a wonderful antioxidant), jojoba (great for hydration), aloe (for soothing and hydration) and cucumber (for hydration and soothing). Another pro for this BB cream is that it’s only $6!
Burt’s Bees BB Cream with SPF 15
Although it only has three shades, this BB cream possesses essence of the noni plant, which is very hydrating and has antioxidants to protect against free radical damage. As a result, it helps minimize the appearance of wrinkles and firms and perfects. Moreover, this BB cream is made of 98.9% natural ingredients.
Kiehl’s Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Good for normal, combination, dry and oily skin types, this Kiehl’s BB cream is specially formulated to address dullness, roughness, uneven skin tone and texture. The shades are limited to only three, but this BB cream features vitamin C, which is a truly potent ingredient that brightens and firms thanks to its ability to synthesize collagen.
Estee Lauder Anti-Oxidant BB Beauty Benefit Crème
This BB cream from Estee Lauder contains a lot of great ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, vitamin C and antioxidants. It is a weightless cream that absorbs easily and readily into skin to provide a flawless finish. Unfortunately, it only comes in two shades so it might not work for everyone.
bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE™ Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Coming at a whopping 20 shades, this is the BB cream that will satisfy the most customers based on hues alone. But it also provides all-day hydration thanks to plant-derived squalane. It provides sheer to medium coverage and can be layered for more coverage.
Maybelline New York Dream Fresh BB Cream
An affordable drugstore choice, this option from Maybelline covers imperfections, brightens dark spots, evens out skin tone and provides a lot of hydration. It will feel light and easy on the skin for a refreshing, radiant look.
Clinique Acne Solutions BB Cream
Guaranteed not to clog pores and make acne worse, this BB cream was especially formulated for oily and combination skin. It will help to control oil and minimize the size of large pores. It also obviously covers existing blemishes.
MISSHA M Perfect Cover BB Cream
This is among the best Korean BB creams with over 30 million sold according to the company. A great thing about this cosmetic is that it helps treat wrinkles to make them less noticeable and has strong sun protection.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Protector
A key ingredient in this BB cream is retinol, which is a vitamin A derivative that is a great treatment for wrinkles, fine lines and acne too. Retinol works by increasing cell turnover to get rid of dead skin cells and let new skin cells emerge. It also stimulates collagen production to keep skin firm and prevent new wrinkles form forming.