What You Need To Know About BB Creams

Amanpreet Dhami
Written by Amanpreet Dhami

With every brand coming out with a BB cream, it begs the question, do you really need a BB cream? Experts Jane McKay, Senior Makeup Artist for M.A.C Cosmetics and Janine Falcon of Beauty Geeks give you the low down on this hot product category so you can find out what they are, and if you should invest in one.

BB Basics

BB creams, also known as beauty balms “originated from a German dermatologist in the late 1960s” says Falcon. The BB cream craze sparked when a Korean actress credited her flawless complexion to one.

In Asia “women are very sophisticated with their skincare because they want their skin to look flawless like velvet, they don’t like freckles and they want to look airbrushed,” says MacKay. “A BB cream is a multi-functional product that provides SPF*, primer, and light weight coverage. BB creams are good for multi-taskers and women on the go who want to do makeup quickly as they dry down on the skin with a semi matte finish,” adds MacKay. Falcon says it best, “think of a BB cream as a tinted moisturizer on steroids.”

How to Apply a BB cream

When applying a BB cream, use any synthetic bristle brush with a larger head. “Synthetic brushes are great for creamier products because they don’t get floppy.” But, you can also use a sponge or your fingers, “there are no real rules,” says MacKay. “Don’t concentrate on the whole face. Most people have issues down the centre of the face where all your contours are. Foundation products should be applied down the centre of the face and then faded out so it fades naturally into the hair and jaw line. The t-zone, apart from the forehead, needs the most product because you need to bring the shine down.”

Beauty Balm Shopping Guide

When shopping for a beauty balm the first factor to look for is coverage, “because really, what we care most about is how good our skin looks. Other benefits are a bonus,” says Falcon. Most brands offer one of two shades, but some companies, such as Maybelline, have five shades to choose from. Here are beauty expert Falcon’s top picks to suit your foundation and skincare needs:

Great skin: If you have great skin that needs little coverage try Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector SPF 15 or L’Oréal Paris Youth Code SPF 15.

Coverage control: “If you need a touch more coverage Annabelle Multi-Action Beauty Balm SPF 15 provides an emollient texture, while Stila All Day BB is sheer but dries with a matte finish.” Maybelline NY Dream Fresh BB Cream SPF 30 provides medium coverage plus more SPF.

Wrinkle Targeting: Rodial SPF 15 BB Venom Skin Tint targets wrinkles with its signature SYN-AKE peptide, which slightly reduces muscle movement.

Compact Format: The compact format is becoming popular because it’s less messy to work with. Marcelle BB Cream-to-Powder is available to provide even more coverage than other varieties, while L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB cream “employs an encapsulated-pigment technology that lets you intensify the shade with each layer you massage over your skin,” says Falcon.  

Are you a BB Cream fan? Which one do you use?

* editor note: not all BB creams have SPF protection – check the packaging.

Header image courtesy of Maybelline

About the author

Amanpreet Dhami

Amanpreet Dhami

Amanpreet Dhami is a writer, editor and producer with a focus on beauty, lifestyle, fashion and branded editorial.


  • Thanks for your comment. Really it’s up to you. We have several that we use depending on the day, what coverage we want, etc. We’re always curious to find out if there is a product we love more than the one we are currently using.

  • I’ve been using the Marcelle BB Cream, which I liked, but gave the Vichy a try recently. The Light colour is so pale it makes me look like a member of the Cullen family! I think I’ll go back to Marcelle.

  • I love the Bobbi Brown BB cream. It’s funny that she says on her site that it isn’t a product that she would use, because she has different needs, but the product itself is fabulous. I look like me, and not like I have a lot of coverage on, but I look flawless.

  • I picked up the light shade in the Garnier BB cream, and unfortunately, it was still too dark for my skin which is pretty fair, and I did not like the texture at all. I’m interested in giving Smashbox a go

    Kathleen of

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