The Lowdown on BB Creams

Of all the beauty-related questions I get asked, the most common by a long shot is ‘what’s a BB cream, how do I wear it and what does it do that my foundation doesn’t?’ With the beauty shelves of department stores being inundated with BB Creams since they burst onto the UK scene a couple of years ago, I assumed that everyone was familiar with this innovation and the women of Great Britain were regularly reaching for a BB instead of a foundation, tinted moisturiser or primer. How wrong I was! To answer those questions once and for all, here’s the LBQ guide to BB Creams.

So, what exactly is a BB Cream? 
BB Cream stands for blemish or beauty balm. It’s a cosmetic sold mainly in East and Southeast Asia where the demand is huge (and has been huge for many years,) although larger beauty brands are increasingly introducing BB Creams to the UK. It often comes in a tube and has a look/feel/texture not unlike a high quality tinted moisturiser.

What does a BB Cream do?
A BB cream is an all-in-one cosmetic product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock. Basically it’s a one-stop shop for great skin. Many women choose to wear this as it’s a much quicker way of achieving flawless skin; there’s no need for five different steps or products in the morning, as one tube does the job of them all in one step. The coverage is often mineral-based, and is intended to both cover and
treat blemishes; BB Creams also often have
anti-wrinkle, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

How do I use a BB Cream?
It can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer, over serum and moisturizer
as a regular foundation, as well as under powder for a higher amount of
coverage. Basically it’s up to you! Most ranges don’t have a huge number of shades to choose from, mainly because most formulas are designed to oxidize to match your skin tone for a really natural effect.

What are the best BB Creams in the UK? 
From my experience, Dr Jart’s BB Creams cannot be beaten – mainly because they originated in Asia and have all of the same qualities as the original balms, as opposed to the Western copies which can often be a tinted moisturiser disguised as a BB Cream to capitalise on the buzz surrounding the term. Other brands doing a great job include No7, Rodial and Clarins who offer thicker and more maleable formulas that bring radiance to skin.

What brands should I be staying away from? 
It’s really easy to be mislead on the UK high street, with every cosmetic company understanding the hype around BB Creams and rushing to get their own versions on shelves. However, so many of them aren’t BB Creams at all – they’re tinted moisturisers with a bit off added stuff in to change the texture. The Garnier BB Cream was the first launched in the UK and this is not a BB Cream in the traditional sense at all – the formula should be thicker, almost like a serum, while leave skin feeling smooth and subtly glowing. The cheaper the product, the less likely it is to be an actual BB Cream.

Hope that helped! If you have any other BB Cream related questions then feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.



  1. Blooming Boo Boo
    March 10, 2013 / 5:08 pm

    I can't wait for the Clarins one to come out in the UK – supposed to be amazing as they've put loads of research into it xx

  2. Lee-Ann Hearn
    March 10, 2013 / 6:12 pm

    I've just bought the Dermalogica primer and it's fantastic! Best I've used!

  3. Gemma T
    March 10, 2013 / 11:41 pm

    I wish they would make paler BB creams, as most "light" shades are too orange. I am tempted to delve into the Asian market, as their cosmetics cater for paler skin tones 🙂 xxGem ♥ | Miss Makeup Magpie

    • Anonymous
      July 14, 2013 / 12:49 pm

      Actually, their market caters to woman who want at least a shade lighter or different undertone than she has. I should know; I used to work in that market. Try Korean. Just make sure not to get one of the grey or grey-ish ones, but they have plenty of light pink-toned ones, some neutral-toned ones, and a tiny dollop of yellow-toned ones.

  4. Dirty Face Beauty
    March 13, 2013 / 11:21 pm

    I tried the Garnier BB cream and thought there wasn't something right about it, and tried a couple of other cheap ones which put me off, but i'm definitely going to give the Dr Jart one a go. Really informative, thank you!x

  5. Pinning Up
    April 21, 2013 / 6:18 pm

    I buy my BB creams at ebay frou korean sellers.. they are usualy under 10£ and free shipped ant they are just awesome 🙂 my favourite are misha of skinfood..

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