With the exception of a infrequent full-glam night out, generally, I want my makeup to be undetectable and natural-looking enough to trick individuals into thinking I woke up looking...like this. While a good foundation can sometimes do the trick, on a day-to-day basis, BB creams are where it’s at.
For Mature SkinComplexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30 BareMinerals Read More
For a Good DealDream Fresh BB Cream 8-In-1 Skin Perfector Maybelline Read More
For HydrationPremium BB Tinted Moisturizer Dr. Jart+ Read More
For a Filter-Like FinishEaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Read More
For Dry SkinHydro Boost Hydrating Tint Neutrogena Read More
Take it from the experts: Existing somewhere between a moisturizer and foundation BB creams—beauty or blemish balm (BB)—aims to “moisturize, protect, and correct” the skin, according to Dr. Sung-Jae Jung, founder of BB pioneer Dr. Jart+. Essentially, BBs are supposed to minimize the need for the other products in your beauty routine and allow your skin to breathe so it can look like, well, skin. Not to be mistaken for its sister, CC cream—which stands for “color correcting”— numerous BB creams are infused with antioxidants, brightening agents, acids, and broad-spectrum SPF to treat the skin while delivering a fresh, even glow. So that means when you need a little assistance covering a blemish, a BB cream will actually help it, rather than inflame it.
And even if you’re afraid about looking too dewy with these types of formulas (shout-out to folks with oily complexions), you can simply “follow up with a setting powder to obtain a more matte finish and control shine,” explains celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno. A full beat is great, but a lightweight, breathable BB cream may be just what you need to put your best face forward this season. Ahead, 15 of the best BB creams to create your skin look like skin, but better.
What is BB cream used for?
“BB creams are in the family of complexion-covering products, and their hallmark features generally include some sort of active—whether that’s SPF, antioxidants, peptides, or special hydrating properties,” Denno says. Since they’re sheerer than foundation, they’re good for individuals who want easy, light-to-medium coverage that will also benefit skin, she explains.
Is BB cream better than foundation?
Yes, at least in Denno’s opinion. “Mainstream foundations typically aren’t formulated to be your skincare,” she says. “Foundations in the clean beauty realm have changed a lot of that by including plant-rich, antioxidant oils as their base, but by and large, you’re not going to be getting peptides, antioxidants, or SPF from your foundation. BB creams, however, always offer some sum of beneficial ingredients. Each brand chooses their own, and you’ll find each differs in level of coverage and finishes.”
Additionally, Denno notes BB creams tend to be more flexible with matching to your skin tone (and undertones) than often pigment-heavy foundations.
What should you look for in a BB cream?
“I’m always going to look for a BB cream with a mineral SPF (zinc oxide) of at least 30,” Denno says. Other leading ingredients she advises keeping an eye out for are plant-based oils—like squalene, raspberry seed oil, chebula, and jojoba—that have moisturizing and antioxidant properties, as well as skin-boosting niacinamide and peptides. “I’m also going to look for one that’s naturally scented because, well, why wouldn’t you? Natural botanical scents are the best!” she says.
And just as you would with foundation, create sure to find a skin tint with a finish you’ll love, she suggests.
What is the difference between BB and CC cream?
BB creams tackle blemishes, while CC creams are lighter in texture but sowever offer foundation-like coverage for correcting redness and dullness. Better suited for mature skin but also able to work for anyone, CC creams also sometimes contain added nutrients to smooth fine lines and wrinkles and languish discoloration.
“BB creams came onto the scene first and were similar to a tinted moisturizer (and in some cases, just a tinted moisturizer), but often had one skincare ingredient added that made them stand out as better for your skin,” Denno says. “CC creams came along soon after, touting even more skincare benefits, generally two or more, along with sometimes an SPF. Often used interchangeably, the terms BB, CC, skin tints, and tinted moisturizer all refer to a skincare product offering lighter coverage than a foundation, plus an added ingredient or range of ingredients that allows them to take the place of a multi-step morning skincare routine,” she adds.
Meet the Experts
Nerisha Penrose is the Beauty Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Since joining ELLE.com in 2017, she has interviewed countless skincare professionals and has personally tested the latest and greatest products across makeup, skincare, and hair care.
Sam Peters is a seasoned commerce writer and editor with over five years of experience covering fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics