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Tinted Moisturizer vs. BB Cream vs. Foundation: What's the Difference?

Face Makeup

Tinted Moisturizer vs. BB Cream vs. Foundation: What's the Difference? Tinted Moisturizer vs. BB Cream vs. Foundation: What's the Difference? Tinted Moisturizer vs. BB Cream vs. Foundation: What's the Difference?

When it comes to your makeup routine, purchasing new products should be fun. The only issue is, it can be hard to know which ones you really want. (Besides the obvious—that you want everything!) It’s especially challenging when you’re trying to decide between a bunch of makeup products that seem similar. How can you know which to buy if you aren’t sure what the difference is? This problem tends to arise when dealing with foundation, BB cream, and tinted moisturizer, since they all serve similar purposes. But don’t be confused, they aren’t the same! We know, we know, how will you ever determine which one is right for you? Well, it’s actually about to become oh-so-simple. We’re breaking down exactly what each one does, plus, providing our best foundation, best BB cream, and best tinted moisturizer picks, below. Here’s our guide to tinted moisturizer, BB cream, and foundation and how they’re different.

WHAT IS TINTED MOISTURIZER?

Tinted moisturizers are basically exactly what they sound like! They’re moisturizers—with a tint. These lightweight lotions serve double-duty by offering hydration along with just a hint of radiance or sheer coverage. They’re also the lightest option, with the least coverage, for your makeup base.

HOW TO USE TINTED MOISTURIZER

One of the best things about tinted moisturizers is that they’re just as effortless to apply as they look. If you think it’s a tinted moisturizer kind of day (more on that next), start by getting your hands ready. (Your hands can be an amazing makeup tool, but only if they’re clean!) After washing your hands, dab a small amount of tinted moisturizer onto the centers of your cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose. Blend outwards with your fingers and you’re done.

WHEN TO USE TINTED MOISTURIZER

A tinted moisturizer is a good pick on days when you don’t need a ton of coverage but you still want to look put together. Have you heard all the hype about “no makeup, makeup” looks? Use a tinted moisturizer to get in on the trend.

OUR BEST TINTED MOISTURIZER

Ready to add a tinted moisturizer to your makeup bag? The L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Luminous Serum Tint Tinted Moisturizer is formulated with vitamin E and hyaluronic acid to provide moisture while giving skin a luminous glow. Meant for mature skin, this illuminating tinted moisturizer is non-comedogenic and lightweight, making it a pleasure to wear—alone or under your makeup. Pick your shade (from five possibilities) and smooth it on in whichever way you please.

WHAT IS BB CREAM?

You’ve most definitely heard friends and strangers alike discussing BB cream—and its many benefits—even if you haven’t picked up on what it actually is. But, it’s time to change that. The ever-rising popularity of BB cream doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so you’ll want to be in the loop. BB creams are another example of a Korean beauty trend that’s totally taken off. The “BB” in BB cream usually stands for beauty balm or blemish balm, and essentially, it’s makeup that has skin care benefits. Those could be anything from SPF to hydration. Basically, they’re total multi-taskers! Now you can understand why they’re such a hit! Still not completely sure how BB creams differ from tinted moisturizers? While they can be quite similar, BB creams tend to offer a little more coverage and can provide skin care benefits besides moisture.

HOW TO USE BB CREAM

As far as application goes, tinted moisturizers and BB creams aren’t too different. Wash your hands before using your fingers—or a brush, if you prefer—to apply BB cream all over your face. Use your tool of choice to blend, then you’re free to move on to the rest of your makeup.

WHEN TO USE BB CREAM

Having a rough skin day and not sure wearing makeup will do you or your complexion any favors? Remember, your makeup can actually be good for your skin! Use a BB cream to provide a bit of coverage while taking care of your complexion. BB creams are also the perfect choice on days when you’re in a rush, since they can tackle multiple issues at the same time.

Editor’s tip: As warmer weather approaches, we can’t help but point out that a BB cream formulated with SPF is a prime pick for a beach day if you just can’t bear to go makeup-free. (Of course, make sure you take additional sun protection measures, like limiting your time in the sun and wearing a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, as well.)

OUR BEST BB CREAMS

Whether you’re looking to hide redness, fight the look of fatigue, or correct the appearance of your complexion, there’s a BB cream for you.

L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream: This BB cream’s your ticket to flawless-looking skin—without foundation. It’s formulated with beautifying beads, encapsulated pigments infused in an ultra-light lotion with antioxidant vitamin E. This 4-in-1 BB cream primes to smooth skin’s texture, corrects skin for an even-looking complexion, hydrates for all-day moisture, and perfects to hide imperfections. It’s available in four shades (fair, light, medium, and dark). 

L’Oréal Paris Magic BB Anti-Redness: Have unwanted redness? Hop on the color correcting bandwagon with this green tinted BB cream, which transforms to a universal shade to help reduce the look of redness. This BB cream has four beautifying actions: It helps neutralize the look of redness, corrects skin color for an even-looking complexion, hydrates for long-lasting moisture, and perfects the appearance of your complexion. 

L’Oréal Paris Magic BB Anti-Fatigue: Ready to finally look like you’re well-rested? This BB cream is formulated with color-transforming pigments infused in an ultra-light lotion to help revive the look of a tired complexion, correct the look of your skin, hydrate, and perfect.

WHAT IS FOUNDATION?

Chances are, you already know a thing or two about foundation. You may even use it every day. As far as essential makeup basics go, foundation is right up there with concealer and mascara—a.k.a. indispensable. Foundation comes in a multitude of forms, from powder to liquid to cream to compact, but in the end, they all have a similar job. When you smooth on a foundation, it should cover imperfections and even your skin tone. And when you’ve finished applying it, you’ll be all set with a base that’s ready for the rest of your makeup. Bring on the contour powder and blush. Unlike BB creams, foundations don’t typically offer any skin care benefits. Foundations do provide more coverage than both tinted moisturizers and BB creams.

HOW TO USE FOUNDATION

Laying down your foundation may seem like an obvious first step, but first, you’ll need to prime your face. Use a primer that matches the finish of your foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Lock Makeup Primer or L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Glow Lock Makeup Primer, and smooth on a thin layer. Now you won’t have to worry about your foundation wearing away halfway through the day! After priming, apply a small amount of foundation to a makeup blender, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender. Use a combination of dabbing and rolling motions to blend the product onto your skin for the smoothest, most uniform application.

WHEN TO USE FOUNDATION

If you need a bit more coverage than a tinted moisturizer or BB cream can provide, foundation will be your friend. Whether it’s a special occasion and you want your skin to look extra flawless or you simply need to disguise a blemish, foundation has it covered.

OUR BEST FOUNDATIONS

The same foundation won’t work for everyone, and that’s not an issue. You aren’t obligated to use your friend’s fave, you can find what works for you. And thankfully, there’s an option for everyone, whether you’re seeking full coverage or a radiant finish—or something else.

If you want a perfect match…try the L’Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup. Struggling to find your makeup match is an all too common problem. If you can relate, you’ll be interested in this liquid foundation, which is available in a wide array of skin tone matching shades.

If you want a natural look…try the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation. Not every foundation makes you look like you’re wearing makeup. This cushion compact is buildable, with a luminous finish that will make you understand why cushion compacts are so popular. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that the compact and applicator puff duo makes is ideal for on-the-go use.

If you want a matte finish…try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. Need to fend off shine without looking lifeless? This long-lasting, oil-free formula has an air-light texture, medium coverage, and offers a demi-matte finish that’s never dull or flat.

If you want a glow…try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Glow Foundation. Dewy skin is in! The long-lasting formula of this foundation has an air-light texture, medium coverage, and offers a radiant finish that’s never greasy.

If you want full coverage…try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Total Cover Foundation. If you have something to hide, this long-lasting formula has a natural finish and can be used to cover everything from breakouts to tattoos.

Have any other beauty questions? We can help with those. Check out our articles answering What Is a Clay Cleanser? and What Is Cushion Compact Foundation?