• Skin
  • An Ultimate Guide to BB Cream

What is BB Cream? An Ultimate Guide

By Carly Cochrane - 2 years ago | Updated
bb cream on beauty blender

It's safe to say that the ‘no makeup’ makeup trend is yet to be dethroned. It's been the go-to look for celebs and supermodels for years but, for some of us, it's taken a national lockdown to embrace the natural vibe.

Being housebound for the majority of 2020 has provided the perfect excuse to lay off the full-coverage foundations and switch to a formula that's lighter. Like, a BB cream.

Whether you need a little coverage for work Zoom calls or want to chill out but still look cute, BB cream is the makeup-skin care hybrid that delivers a flawless minimal makeup look.

We'll be the first to admit it's an area of beauty that's pretty hard to navigate, especially if you're new to it all. So to help you out, we've broken down all the info you need to find your perfect match (plus sorted you with some of the best BB creams on the market).

What is BB cream?

BB is short for ‘beauty balm’ or ‘blemish balm' and is a multitasking makeup product that is packed with skin care benefits, from SPF and shine control to hydration and anti-ageing effects. It usually offers a light coverage that is suitable for all skin types, making it a middle ground between a tinted moisturiser and foundation.

When should I use BB cream?

There's no bad time to wear BB cream. In fact, it's pretty much an all-rounder. It's especially good for the days you want to give your skin a break from heavy-duty foundations as it can be worn alone yet still provides coverage that gives off a 'put-together' vibe.

How to apply BB cream?

Applying a BB cream is just like applying your regular liquid makeup formulas. We prefer to bounce over our skin with a beauty blender in order to achieve a smooth, seamless finish, but using your fingertips or a makeup brush does the job just as well.

Do I need to apply moisturiser before BB cream?

This is a decision that's totally up to you. Applying moisturiser before your BB cream can further boost radiance and eliminate the appearance of dry patches, which is a win-win. If your skin is more on the oily side, a moisturiser beforehand isn't as necessary.

What's the difference between BB and CC creams?

We like to think of CC cream as BB’s sister. Standing for ‘colour correcting’ or 'complexion correcting’, it boasts equal skin care qualities but offers more coverage in order to disguise dark spots, redness and imperfections. You’ll also find that CC creams are less oily and lighter in texture than BB, making them the perfect match for ageing and combination skin.

Is BB cream better than foundation?

It depends on the occasion and your specific makeup routine. After all, no one product is better than another. But if you want something lightweight and breathable, we suggest sticking to a BB cream as it has a hint of colour and plenty of skin-boosting benefits. However, if instead you want something with full coverage to last all night long, foundation is your go-to.

The 8 Best BB Creams

Thalgo BB Cream Illuminating Multi-Perfection SPF 15

Thalgo BB Cream Illuminating Multi-Perfection SPF 15


Skin type: Combination

Coverage: Natural

Reviving tired complexions has never been easier as this BB cream from Thalgo leaves you with a warm glow, subtle colour and blemish-free skin. As well as giving skin an 'airbrushed effect', this formula delivers 24 hour hydration thanks to its infusion of Sève Bleue des Océans, which fills the skin with water. Built-in SPF also helps to protect you from the harmful rays of the sun, meaning it truly deserves to be on the list of best BB creams.

Exuviance Skin Caring BB Fluid SPF 50

Exuviance Skin Caring BB Fluid SPF 50


Skin type: All

Coverage: Ultra sheer

This lightly hydrating fluid with a universal, virtually invisible tint, helps skin tone appear naturally beautiful and more even, added skin caring ingredients provide hydration while an ultra-fine mineral sunscreen, Vitamin E and Green Tea extract help protect against daily environmental aggressors.

Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream Anti-Redness Care SPF 30

Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream Anti-Redness Care SPF 30


Skin type: Sensitive

Coverage: Medium

Featuring seven skin care benefits from one application, this BB cream from the Bioderma Sensibio range provides excellent coverage and intensive anti-redness (ar) care while enhancing radiance, providing lasting moisture, smoothing the skin’s texture, irritation, and protecting against UV rays with organic chemical mineral filters with SPF 30.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturiser Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturiser Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30


Skin type: Dry

Coverage: Light

Okay, we know this isn’t necessarily a BB cream but it’s too good to leave out and it’s a cult-favourite amongst beauty buffs. When your skin is in need of a little help, this tinted moisturiser works to supercharge hydration, energise skin and boost radiance, all while giving you a featherweight, natural coverage.

Skin79 Angry Cat BB Cream SPF 50+

Skin79 Angry Cat BB Cream SPF 50+


Skin type: Blemish-prone

Coverage: Natural

Wave goodbye to blemishes, dry patches, uneven skin tone and dark spots, as this BB cream camouflages and brightens it all. Ticking all the boxes, this BB cream is composed with skin-loving ingredients and natural mineral sunscreens that work around the clock to soothe, protect and nourish your complexion, as well as lace it with a natural, light tint.

Jane Iredale Glow Time Pro BB Cream SPF 25

Jane Iredale Glow Time Pro BB Cream SPF 25


Skin type: Dull

Coverage: Natural

Jane Iredale knows a thing or two about skin care-makeup hybrids, and this BB cream is certainly one to add to the list. Whether you use it alone or mix it with your daily moisturiser, smooth skin and a radiant, satin-like complexion are guaranteed.

Stila One Step Correct

Stila One Step Correct

£26.00 £28.00 (8% off)

Skin type: Redness-prone

Coverage: Sheer

This one is verging between both BB and CC but it's a pretty makeup-skin care hybrid that we simply can't forget. Correcting your complexion is made easy with this triple-swirled serum. The innovative formula uses green to minimise the appearance of redness, lavender to combat sallow patches and peach to illuminate, leaving you with a picture-perfect base.

Whether you're popping to the shops, wanting to let your skin take a breather from heavy-duty foundations or need a lighter formula for summer, BB creams are the beauty staple that will satisfy both your makeup and skin care needs. If you're ready to take the plunge and purchase, head over to our BB Cream page. Or if you're still in research mode, why not check out 7 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Pollution?

Related Categories
Carly Cochrane

Written by Carly Cochrane

As the Senior Content Editor for Cosmetify, Carly is the go-to for all the latest (and greatest) beauty tips, tricks and trends. With over six years of experience in the industry, she knows all the ins-and-outs when it comes to health, beauty and wellbeing. 

Sign in or register

Sign in or register to save your wishlist permanently and view them on other devices.

  • View your wishlist across all your devices
  • Manage your price drop and stock alerts
  • Get access to exclusive promos
Select Site

Sign up for an extra 5% off!Treat yourself with an extra discount on your first purchase over £30.

Added to your bag