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There’s lots to be said for having a good BB cream in your arsenal. But finding the best one for your skin type can take a bit of trial and error. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you, and rounded up the best BB creams that even and brighten, while offering some incredible skincare benefits, too.
But what are BB creams, and how do they differ from CC creams and even DD cream? (Yep, it’s a thing.) Here’s everything you need to know about the cult of BB, plus some of the best to invest in now – whatever your skin type.
What is BB Cream?
Standing for ‘blemish balm’ – or in some cases, ‘beauty balm’ – BB creams are an Asian skincare staple that have been a firm beauty industry favourite for years, thanks to their marrying of makeup and skincare.
Although they have the Korean market to thank for their fame, the first BB cream was actually invented in Germany by dermatologist Dr Christine Schrammek (and it’s still available today over 50 years later). The original idea was to create a product that combined make-up with skincare, for patients to use after a peel or laser skin surgery.
Though they didn’t really burst onto the UK scene until the early 2010s, these days you’ll rarely find a beauty lover’s make-up bag without one.
The best BB cream is a kind of ‘does it all’ skincare buy, providing coverage as well as other skin benefits like hydration, blemish control, antioxidants and an all-important SPF. And, of course, there’s a little pigment involved to even our your complexion without the heavy, flawless finish of a foundation. Or, as celebrity make-up artist Nikki Wolff puts it, they’re for “the consumer who wants natural, one-step easy foundation application, with a natural finish”.
Think your best tinted moisturiser, but with slightly better coverage.
BB cream vs CC cream – what’s the difference?
While BB creams disguise blemishes and make your complexion look more even overall, CC creams target discolouration and even our your skin tone (the CC part stands for colour correction).
“BB creams will generally have a more dewy texture, whereas CC creams tend to have a more matte finish,” explains Nikki.
Either way, both are great for minimal make-up days when, let’s be honest, CBA with bringing out the beauty blender.
How do I apply it?
“BB creams are best applied with fingertips or with a brush, as you can easily control an even distribution and not waste any product into a sponge,” says Nikki.
Always prep your skin before applying a BB cream, and by this we mean the usual: cleanse, tone, moisturise and apply your SPF. While many BB creams contain added hydration to keep your skin happy throughout the day, BB creams aren’t moisturisers – so you’ll need to go through your usual skincare motions to get a seamless finish.
What’s the best BB cream for my skin type?
“BB creams are ideal for dry skin as they’re often combined with skincare or SPF benefits,” says Nikki. “The fact the texture is generally lighter and more sheer makes the application more forgiving.”
While a heavy foundation can settle in dry patches and draw attention to dehydrated skin, BB creams are brilliant for adding some sheer coverage while providing some all-important nourishment, too.
Omorovicza’s Complexion Perfector has been hailed a beauty “Swiss army knife” owing to its dream blend of moisturiser, foundation, sunscreen, concealer and anti-aging cream, making it perfect for dryer complexions. At the more affordable end of the spectrum, NYX’s Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil BB Cream provides a lovely, sheer-satin finish that doesn’t cling to dry patches.
But that doesn’t mean BB creams are off limits to those with oily and combination skin types. After all, it is called Blemish Balm.
“I like the Clinique anti blemish BB cream for combination or oily skin types that are still looking for that sheer coverage,” says Nikki. It’s also an incredible SPF 40, which is almost unheard of in complexion perfecting products. No7 Beautiful Skin BB Cream in the normal/oily formulation is also great for evening skin tone while working to banish blemishes. (Though its shade selection is lacking.)
Keep scrolling for our pick of the best BB creams in show…
French-Korean skincare brand Erborian are famous for their BB cream. Harnessing the anti-aging properties of ginseng, this make-up bag staple gives a velvety finish and natural, radiant glow.
There are only two shades of this BB so you should try before you buy, but it is absolutely superb for sensitive types. It contains thermal spring waters so is very gentle and soothing on sensitive skin. If you're prone to redness and irritation, this product won't exacerbate it further, and it is totally brilliant for anyone with acne-prone skin, severe dryness and/or rosacea.
For medium coverage with a luminous healthy finish, look to Clarins' BB Skin Detox Fluid. You'll also reap the benefits of SPF 25, too, for that all important protective layer.
Pixi's BB cream offers better coverage than most, and is infused with all kinds of skin-loving ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, rosemary and chamomile extract. So if you're looking for a soothing pick for sensitive winter skin, this one's a must.
Blending mineral pigments with with Glycerin, Pro-vitamin B5 and Vitamin E, L'Oreal's antioxidant rich BB cream will give you that coveted second skin look without breaking the bank. Plus, it's SPF 20, making it the perfect pick for everyday wear.
Admittedly, this one falls on the pricier side of the BB spectrum, but with mineral SPF 30 broad spectrum protection, rose stem cells to support skin's natural protection against external aggressors, and a sheer, barely-there feel, it's like radiance in a bottle.
Like Pixi's Beauty Balm, Ren's Satin Perfection BB Cream boasts better coverage than your average BB offering. Plus, it's packed full of anti-ageing ingredients, protection against environmental aggressors and gives a non-oily radiant finish, making it a great pick for most skin types.
Another great medium coverage BB pick, this lightweight SPF45 balm evens and brightens skin tone, while protecting against UVA, UVB and harsh environmental aggressors. Wear it under your foundation for added glow, or on its own for natural, glowy skin.