A BB Cream (initials for “Beauty Balm” or “Blemish Balm”) is a moisturizer, sunscreen, and skin care treatment all in one. They were first popularized in Asia and have since taken the US by storm. They are literally EVERYWHERE. As a beauty editor, the questions I most often get are “How do I pick a BB Cream?” or “Which BB Cream is your favorite?”. So, this article is designed to narrow down my favorites based on your exact needs.
First, I must disclose, this is probably my most favorite beauty product at the moment. It is a multi-tasker that prevents aging, makes skin look even and still have a natural look about it. They work great as a primer with SPF under foundation. Or on their own if you don’t need as much coverage. One of these should definitely be in your makeup arsenal.
Best for combo/oily skin: Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA++
This oil-free formula comes in only one shade but works on a wide range of complexions. It has a watery consistency that blends easily and won’t clog pores. The addition of Abyssine, a naturally-derived survival molecule, can actually calm skin inflamed by breakouts or sensitivity.
Best for dry skin: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30/PA+++
NARS has a high SPF with a dewy and hydrated finish. The coverage is fairly substantial for a tinted moisturizer and this keeps my dry skin plump and glowy all day. They have a great shade range and the slightly yellow undertones neutralize redness. NARS also promises to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation with four weeks of continued use. My dark spots did improve while I was using NARS but I also had steps in my skincare to fight darks spots.
Best for dry skin with lighter coverage Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++
This formula by Dr. Jart is made with 50 percent water, hydrating skin to give a healthy finish. This is great for a hot summer day because the water actually has a cooling effect as it is applied to the skin. The coverage is slightly lighter than his Premium formulation seen below.
Best for sensitive or red skin: Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB Cream SPF 20, 1.7
This silicon-free formula is perfect for easily irritated skin. The luxury formula has loads of skin care benefits, including Hyaluronic acid, adding hydration. The coverage is light but it easily minimizes redness and gives a glowy finish without looking too dewy.
Best for varying coverage or as a primer: Miracle Skin™ Transformer
This vitamin rich formula evens skin while still being light-weight. Its formula and coverage makes it particularly well suited to build as you need more coverage and contains scilicon to give it a bit of “slip”. This also makes it a great primer under a fuller coverage foundation. This was a lifesaver in the winter when I needed more coverage for redness in the center of my face, but was stil able to use a lighter application on my cheeks and forehead.
Best SPF: Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 PA+++
While these other formulas have between 20-30 SPF, Dr. Jart amped it up with this formula. His “Premium” version is perfect for summer days spent outdoors. He didn’t skip on skin care properties – bio-peptides and adenosine protect skin from harsh environmental factors while restoring firmness and elasticity.
For a drugstore alternative: Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream
Garnier did a great job bringing BB Cream to the drugstore, available for $12.99. They have two shades: Light/Medium and Medium/Deep.