Despite having been around for a few years now, there’s still quite a lot of confusion about BB Creams. What are they? Which ones are the best? As a long time devotee of the almighty BB, I have all the answers.
A quick history: BB stands for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm, depending on where you are in the world. They were originally developed in the 1960s, but became very popular in Asian beauty markets beginning in the mid-eighties. BB Creams are marketed as all-in-one superproducts that replaces a serum, primer, moisturizer, foundation and SPF. In Asia—and Korea especially—many BBs also include skin lightening ingredients. BBs sold in Western markets usually skip those and go a little lighter on the skin improving ingredients, which is why a lot of people question whether American BBs are “real” BBs.
Midway between a tinted moisturizer and a full-coverage foundation, BBs give light, natural-looking coverage with the blurring effect that usually comes from a really good primer. The main difference I’ve found between BBs and CCs (or other alphabet creams) is that CCs are generally heavier and have a specific “tint” to them so that they can color-correct. In terms of what’s the most useful in every day life, I’ll go with a BB every time.
But which BB to choose? I’ve tried practically ALL of them, and they’re definitely not created equal. So today I’m going to share my 5 best BB creams of 2015; if you’re looking to step up your complexion this Fall, this is definitely the guide for you.
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Cream ($29, sephora.com)
If you’re looking for a medium coverage BB that still looks insanely natural, this is for you. It’s like a real-life photoshop filter for your face: blurring our pores, concealing any skin unevenness and upping our radiance factor to an almost ridiculous degree—all while looking like I’m wearing nothing at all.
Erborian BB Creme ($39, sephora.com)
My favorite BB of the last five years, Erborian’s superlative creme is the product that I reach for the most often in my makeup kit. Not only do I love the smooth, even finish it gives my skin, I also really love how well it builds—a single swipe gives me my-skin-but-better naked looking perfection, while tapping it on a little more densely vanishes my dark circles and blemishes.
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream ($39, ulta.com)
If I have a particular busy day, I reach for the Smashbox BB—a classic for a reason, this cream offers the craziest wear of any skin product ever. If you’re looking for something that can stand up to a long ride in an un-airconditioned subway car followed by a four hour video shoot and STILL look perfect, this is the BB for you. It can be a little on the oily side if you already have oily skin, so make sure you use a mattifying primer underneath if you’re prone to shine.
Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer ($36, sephora.com)
This BB is brilliant for dry or easily irritated skin—it’s so rich and creamy that it basically floats overtop any aggravated or flaky patches. One of the best things about this one is that it doesn’t oxidize and change color throughout the day; the shade you see in the morning is the shade that you’ll see at the end of the day, which is nothing short of miraculous.
Olay Total Effects CC Cream ($20, target.com)
If you’re looking for a bargain BB that does it all, you can’t go past Olay’s really excellent offering. Yes, it says it’s a CC—but it lacks the heaviness and dense color that CC creams often have, so I’ve always considered it a BB in disguise. I really love the primer in this, as it allows it to flow over my skin beautifully, then sets it firmly. It does tend to have a pretty pink undertone, so you may need to mix in a blob of concealer if you have more yellow tints in your skin. And the best thing of all? You can pick it up at any drugstore. Quality and convenience; what’s not to love?
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