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Why, How, and When You Should Use BB Cream

Think of a beauty balm as the ultimate makeup-skin care hybrid.
February 17, 2023

There are some makeup products that perform beyond expectations and BB cream is at the top of that list. Whether you’re already a BB cream aficionado or you’re still trying to figure out whether you should add one to your makeup bag, this multitasking complexion product can provide you with the benefits of makeup and skin care in one. Because of this, BB cream is great for all skin types, it’s great for everyday makeup looks and it’s especially great for those days when you want coverage but you don’t want to go through your entire makeup routine.

If we’ve convinced you to make room for BB cream in your makeup bag, keep scrolling to learn more about BB cream, including how to use it and the best BB cream for dry skin, mature skin and oily skin.

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What Is BB Cream?

The “BB” in BB cream stands for beauty balm or blemish balm and essentially, it’s a complexion product that has skin care benefits — hence the label of makeup-skin care hybrid. Those benefits include neutralizing redness to UV protection to hydration to shine control. BB cream is a mainstay in K-beauty and this comes as no surprise since Korea is the originator of one of the most popular skin care phenomenons — glass skin, which is all about glowy, healthy-looking skin.  

BB creams tend to have lightweight formulas that provide sheer coverage, so if you’re looking for something to conceal blemishes and hyperpigmentation, that's not going to be a BB cream. With that said, they’re awesome for those days when your complexion needs a little extra something but not full coverage. Overall, BB cream is comparable to a lightweight tinted moisturizer that can hydrate the skin while adding natural coverage. 

Why Should I Use BB Cream? 

BB cream is a great option for casual days when you want to give your skin a break from your normal foundation. Since it has skin care benefits, it can also treat issues like dryness, dullness and uneven skin tone while it adds light coverage. BB cream can be applied with your fingers and doesn’t require tedious blending like foundation does, so if you’re short on time, it’s a quick and effective option.

The L’Oréal Paris True Match Hyaluronic Tinted Serum is a skin tint with a dose of hyaluronic acid that goes on like a skin care serum. Like a BB cream, it helps to hydrate, while it evens the skin tone thanks to luminous pigments that provide light coverage. 

BB Cream vs. CC Cream: What’s the Difference? 

You’ve probably heard about the BB cream versus CC cream debate. The CC in CC cream stands for color correcting or complexion corrector. As the name suggests, a CC cream helps to color correct the skin tone, neutralizing unwanted redness, sallow undertones and discoloration, like dark circles. Since BB cream helps to even out the skin tone, offers hydration and other skin benefits, they serve different purposes. While BB cream has many different functions for the skin, CC cream's main job is to color correct.

How Does BB Cream Differ From Foundation?

The main difference between BB cream and foundation is that BB cream is usually lighter in texture and finish than foundation and focuses on a skin-first approach. That means the main purpose of BB cream is to focus on things like hydrating, illuminating, mattifying, or protecting your skin rather than coverage and perfecting your base, which is generally the goal of using foundation.

How to Apply BB Cream

Like tinted moisturizer, it’s best to use your fingers or a brush to apply BB cream because a makeup sponge will absorb the product. Here’s how to properly apply your BB cream in two easy steps.

1. Wash Your Hands

If you’re using your fingers to apply your BB cream, wash your hands with warm water and soap first. If you apply your BB cream with dirty fingers, you’re basically spreading acne-causing bacteria all over your complexion, which negates the skin care benefits of a BB cream. 

2. Apply it to Your Skin in Circular Motions

Rub the BB cream onto your skin in circular motions to spread it evenly across your face. Make sure to spread some down your neck so you don’t get a demarcation line.

If you’re using a brush, use a stippling brush because it’s soft, more densely packed than a fluffy brush and ideal for blending. Blend the BB cream all over your complexion in circular motions and use light dabbing motions in tight areas, like around your nose. 

How to Find the Right BB Cream for Your Skin Type

Since BB creams are known for their skin care benefits, it’s highly important that you find one to suit your skin type.

Best BB Cream for Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, reach for a BB cream with a moisturizing formula that can help to calm your complexion while reducing signs of irritation, like redness. The L’Oréal Paris Magic Anti-Redness (For All Skin Tones) is formulated with encapsulated, color-transforming pigments that counteract redness while hydrating and evening your skin tone. 

Best BB Cream for Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, go for a formula, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation with a non-comedogenic formula and a natural, skin-like finish. One pump is all it takes for natural-looking results that match your skin tone and texture. The formula also includes hyaluronic acid for a boost of hydration.

Best BB Cream for Mature Skin

If you have mature skin, opt for an enriching formula that can both hydrate and color-correct your complexion. The L’Oréal Paris Magic Anti-Fatigue (For All Skin Types) is the best BB cream for mature skin as it contains color-correcting pigments to neutralize darkness and dull, sallow tones that become more apparent as the skin ages.

Best BB Cream for All Skin Types

All skin types can use the L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream, a multi-tasking formula that hydrates, corrects, evens and perfects the skin tone. This BB cream has a lightweight, dewy finish that keeps the skin looking healthy and hydrated. Think of it as minimal coverage that gives off a your-skin-but-better look.

Next: Why a Skin Care-Inspired Makeup Primer is Exactly What Your Routine Needs

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Production Assistant: Jason Parigian, Digital Tech: Sam Kang, Photo Assistant: Hannah Lewis-Lopes, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Melina Kemph, Wardrobe Assistant: Kayla Martinez, Prop Stylist: Katrina Rozeville, Prop Assistant: Zach Molina, Model: Alexandra Cunningham

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