Those in-the-know are all abuzz with news of the latest beauty craze: BB Creams. A mnemonic for beauty balm (or in some cases, blemish balm), BBs promise an entire beauty arsenal in a tube: primer, foundation, concealer, moisturizer, SPF, anti-ager, and sometimes even acne-fighter. The craze began in Asia where Korean celebs attributed their flawless skin to these products, and from there word spread like wildfire to Europe and then to our shores. In fact, it seems like most every American beauty company got the same memo to formulate one cause there’s a blizzard of BBs hitting shelves at the same time.
“BB Creams are the next generation beauty product because they contain high-performance treatments like antioxidants, brighteners, and botanical actives combined with sunscreen and moisture for true skincare efficacy,” says Cindy Lin, director of product development at Dr. Jart.
Surely by now you’re likely mentally making room for one in your makeup bag—and why wouldn’t you? But expect a miracle cream and you’ll be underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, BBs have some great attributes: they’re the quintessential multi-tasker—delivering moisture, tint, and good-for-you ingredients, plus they’re so easy to apply it can be done with your fingers. But for covering scars, blemishes, or redness, better stick with that old standby—Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. The consistency of many of the BBs I tried was also a little too heavy for my liking and the brighteners a little too intense (does my chin really need to glow?). And while fair to medium skin types will have no lack of BBs to choose from, those with darker complexions currently have limited options.
But be your own judge and give one a whirl. Here’s a breakdown of the standouts:
- Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 (my personal fave) is an oil-free formula, which has a self-adjusting universal shade that warms to most skin tones.
- Estee Lauder Day Wear Antioxidant BB Crème SPF 35 available in two shades, this one is chock-full of antioxidants plus a pleasant cucumber scent.
- Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 is free of sulfates, and synthetic fragrances and dyes, while offering mega sun protection.
- Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm SPF 20 promises “better than real” looking skin with 4 shades to choose from.
- Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 is a fragrance-free formula that helps keep shine at bay.
- Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector comes in two shades and features intense hydration with a combination of hyaluronic acid, lipids, and glycerin.