Best BB Creams

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
5 Models Tested
1 Experts Interviewed
192 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best BB creams

Last Updated September 2019

Anyone who wears makeup is probably fairly familiar with foundation and tinted moisturizer as options for evening out your skin tone and covering up spots. BB creams tend to be more of a mystery, however. But that should change, as BB creams are a multi-tasking product that can simplify your makeup and skincare routine into one easy step.

A BB cream, also known as a beauty balm cream, is a makeup and skincare product in one. All BB creams provide some type of coverage that can even out your skin tone, but they usually contain ingredients that are good for your skin too, such as antioxidants and peptides. They typically have SPF to protect your skin from the sun, and depending on the formula, they may hydrate your skin, absorb excess oil, or treat acne.

But not all BB creams are created equal, so choosing the right one is key. That means focusing on your skin type and concerns, finding the right shade, figuring out what type of coverage you prefer, and deciding what others features will make the cream a perfect fit for your complexion. Read on to learn more about BB creams.

BB cream is an ideal option for days when you’ll be outdoors at the beach or on a hike because it’s so much lighter than foundation.

Key considerations

Skin type

Your skin type plays a significant role in determining which formula would work best for you. A BB cream that’s suited for oily skin won’t work well for dry skin — and vice versa — so you have to be aware of what the cream is meant to do.

  • For oily skin, choose an oil-free BB cream that helps regulate oil production for your skin. They’re often labeled as mattifying or oil-absorbing and may include ingredients like natural clays, charcoal, cornstarch, or silica.

  • For dry skin, choose a hydrating or moisturizing BB cream that will keep your skin nourished and hydrated all day. These usually contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides to keep your face from looking flaky or dehydrated.

  • For acne-prone skin, choose an oil-free BB cream that won’t clog your pores and make your breakouts worse. You should also opt for an oil-absorbing formula to keep your skin shine-free, but BB creams that work well for acne-prone skin usually contain other acne-fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid or sulfur.

  • For mature skin, choose a hydrating or moisturizing BB cream that also contains anti-aging ingredients. The formula should be chock full of antioxidants, peptides, and SPF to prevent any further sun damage.

  • For sensitive skin, choose a BB cream that doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances that might irritate your skin. A hydrating BB cream with soothing ingredients like aloe vera is usually a good option.

Shade range

When BB creams first hit the market, many formulas were only available in one or two shades. Even with sheer coverage, though, a narrow shade range will make it difficult to find a BB cream that matches your skin tone. It can be especially difficult if you have extremely fair or extremely dark skin.

Finding a BB cream shade that matches well is even more important if you choose a formula that offers full coverage. With light or sheer coverage options, you can usually get away with a shade that’s roughly the same as your skin tone. But full-coverage BB creams have more pigment, so a poor shade match will be much more obvious.

While most BB creams don’t have as large a shade range as foundations, you should stick to options that offer at least four shades — fair, light, medium, and dark. However, keep in mind that the more shade options a BB cream offers, the better the chances of finding a good shade match are.

Healthy glow plus sun protection

The Coola Rosilliance Organic BB+ Cream is a solid choice for anyone with dry skin that needs a little perking up. It has a naturally luminous finish that gives you an instant glow and features rose stem cells to help hydrate and smooth the skin. It also features SPF 30 to keep your skin protected from the sun. We also love that it has anti-aging ingredients to soften fine lines and wrinkles.

Features

Coverage

BB cream is often meant to offer a more natural look than traditional foundation. That’s why so many creams offer sheer or light coverage, which is intended to even out your skin tone but not cover all of your breakouts and dark spots. These light-coverage BB creams are often buildable, so you can add another layer if you need to cover more.

However, some BB creams offer medium to full coverage. With these creams, you can not only even out your skin tone but also cover up most spots on your face. Medium-coverage BB creams are usually buildable too, so you can customize your coverage depending on your needs on a specific day.

Finish

Like foundation, BB creams are available in several different finishes. Some formulas have a matte finish, which means they dry down without shine. That makes them ideal for oily skin or days when you really want your base to last.

Other BB creams have a semi-matte or natural matte finish, so they have a slight sheen when applied that resembles natural skin. They’re a good option for people who prefer a no-makeup look or have normal skin.

For dry skin, BB creams with a dewy finish are the best option. These give the skin a noticeable glow to perk up a dull, dehydrated complexion. They don’t wear as well for long days, however.

SPF

The majority of BB creams contain SPF because they’re designed to be multi-tasking products. However, the sun protection factor can range from SPF 10 all the way up to SPF 50. While you shouldn’t rely on your BB cream to be your only sun protection, choose a formula with at least a broad spectrum SPF 15 if you want significant protection from the cream.

Packaging

BB creams typically come in either a squeeze tube or a bottle with a pump. While both are user-friendly, it’s often easier to get the precise amount of cream that you want from a bottle with a pump. With a squeeze tube, you may accidentally squeeze too hard and wind up dispensing more cream than you need, wasting some of the product.

EXPERT TIP

Using your fingers to apply BB cream often helps it blend in better than a brush or a sponge because the warmth from your skin heats up the cream for better absorption.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

A light-coverage BB cream can serve as primer beneath your favorite foundation.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

BB creams are an ideal alternative to foundation for acne-prone skin because they often contain acne-fighting ingredients. The lighter coverage is less likely to clog your pores, too.


Staff  | BestReviews

BB cream prices

BB creams vary in price based on the coverage they provide and the quality of their ingredients. Most creams range from $6 to $54.

Inexpensive: The most affordable BB creams, between $6 and $20, usually offer light coverage and feature lower-quality ingredients. They typically don’t contain as many features that are actually good for your skin, either.

Mid-range: BB creams that cost between $20 and $39 usually offer light to medium coverage but contain higher-quality ingredients, many of which have skincare benefits.

Expensive: For between $39 and $54, you purchase a BB cream that offers medium to full coverage and contain top-quality ingredients, which will improve the quality of your skin.

Mineral-based and universally beneficial

No matter what skin type you have, you can’t go wrong with the Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer. The lightweight, oil-free formula won’t clog pores, but still hydrates and brightens the skin. It even contains micro-treated mineral pigments to help soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles, plus an SPF.

Tips

  • Even if your BB cream has SPF, you should apply sunscreen first. You won’t apply enough of the BB cream to get adequate sun protection from the cream alone.

  • When you use a BB cream, you can skip foundation primer. However, if you have dry skin, you should still apply moisturizer first.

  • You can apply BB cream with a makeup brush or beauty sponge, but it also applies well with clean fingers.

  • Start by applying a small amount of BB cream and blend it in carefully. Allow it to sit for a minute or two, and once your skin has absorbed it, you can add another layer if necessary.

  • Just as with foundation or tinted moisturizer, it helps to lock a BB cream in place with setting powder to make sure it lasts all day.

Other products we considered

There are so many excellent BB creams on the market that you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a formula that meets your skin care needs and makeup preferences to a tee. In addition to our top recommendations, we suggest Clinique’s Acne Solutions BB Cream as an ideal option for acne-prone and oily skin, because it’s oil-free, non-comedogenic, and helps mattify the skin for a shine-free complexion. It’s also available in five shades and features SPF 40 for serious sun protection.

We also love Erborian’s BB Creme au Ginseng for normal or dry skin because it contains ginseng to help moisturize, smooth, and brighten the skin. It also offers a broad-spectrum SPF 20 for significant sun protection.

Because it’s a multi-purpose product, a BB cream is the perfect makeup and skincare option to take with you when you’re traveling.

FAQ

Q. Is BB cream appropriate for people of all ages?
A.
Because there are BB creams that target every skin type and concern, you can find an effective option no matter how old you are. Teens who often have oily skin and deal with acne can use oil-free, mattifying formulas with acne-fighting ingredients, while individuals with mature skin can use a hydrating formula that contains anti-aging ingredients.

Q. Can I wear a BB cream without any other makeup?
A.
While you can use a BB cream in place of your usual foundation as part of your everyday makeup routine, you don’t necessarily have to apply other cosmetics over it. Apply the BB cream just to even out your skin tone and opt for a no-makeup day.

Q. What’s the difference between a BB cream and a tinted moisturizer?
A.
While a tinted moisturizer can provide sheer coverage that lightly hydrates the skin, it doesn’t offer the same skincare benefits as a BB cream. A BB cream usually offers more coverage and contains ingredients that not only hydrate the skin but treat specific skin concerns, such as acne, dark spots, or fine lines.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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