If you are looking to streamline your beauty routine, consider adding a BB cream to your skin care regimen. The double B stands for “beauty balms” or “blemish balms,” and BB creams are known to even skin tone and correct blemishes. Lighter than a standard foundation, but thicker than a tinted moisturizer, BB creams differ from CC creams, which are lighter-weight formulas that work to reduce redness, sallowness, and other forms of skin discoloration. BB creams are an all-in-one cosmetic product claims to function as a moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, skin treatment, concealer, and foundation — packaged in a single tube.
How we test BB creams
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab rounded up the best BB creams across the market from drugstore picks to high-end brands, and narrowed the field down to 10 top contenders. The Lab evaluated BB creams for hydration effects with the Corneometer device, which measures skin’s moisture levels, and product coverage using our Visia Complexion Analyzer machine. Then, over 140 women tried the label-masked products at home for a week and reported their feedback to find the best of the best.
Overall, our testers liked the way the products expedited their routine and found they were able to skip some of their regular products. Lab results showed that 78% of testers said BBs helped streamline their routine. Although there is a popular notion that BB creams are the superheroes of skin care, since they can “do it all,” we discovered that not all of the products live up to such a high standard: for example, some higher-coverage BB creams felt drying to the skin, while some moisturizing formulas tended to offer lighter coverage.
These are the best BB creams you can buy, based on consumer testing and our personal favorite picks:
1. Maybelline Dream BB Fresh
Our top pick for a budget BB cream, this Maybelline favorite offers a natural, slightly matte look. This formula will do the trick to smooth out imperfections and hydrate skin, and the light-coverage formula is great if you hate heavy foundations. The product acted more like a lightweight tinted moisturizer than a foundation in our tests, and testers praised its “natural” look.
2. L’Oreal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier
On the hunt for a BB cream that will hydrate, color-correct, even your skin tone? With over 700 five-star reviews on Amazon, reviewers say this BB cream “gives enough coverage where most BB creams don’t, yet it is light-feeling.” Another swears, “I’ll never wear regular foundation again!”
3. Revlon PhotoReady
4. BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Cream
Another favorite from Good Housekeeping Beauty Director, April Franzino, is this bareMinerals formula that hydrates like a true moisturizer and provides natural-looking coverage. Franzino says, “I have extremely dry skin, and this BB cream makes my skin feel comfortable and soft, rather than dehydrated and parched. It also instantly makes my face look smooth and naturally glowing. I apply it with my fingers just as I do face cream.”
5. Prep + Prime Beauty Balm
Most of our testers were happy with this BB cream’s ability to even skin tone and last all day, saying it’s good for color coverage and sun protection, thanks to its 35 SPF. However, one tester found the full coverage to be “a little too thick and kind of sat on top of my skin.” But overall, the BB works well to blur imperfections and control oil.
6. Clinique Age Defense
Coming in four different shades and featuring SPF 30 sun protection, this BB cream is full of antioxidants to prevent and banish imperfections.It provided decent color coverage, but the trade-off is that it dried out some skin types in the process, so while it’s not ideal for those with dry skin, the mattifying formula is ideal for anyone with oily or acne-prone skin.
6. Shiseido Sports
“This BB cream is the perfect portable size for my travel toiletries bag— it provides the coverage of a foundation that evens out skin tone and hides imperfections yet feels lightweight on skin,” says April Franzino, Beauty Director at Good Housekeeping. “The liquid formula also has a high level of SPF 50 for a makeup product, which provides strong skin protection against UV damage.”
8. Smashbox Camera Ready
Smashbox’s BB cream lasted all day and our consumer testers liked the gentle-feeling formula, the natural-looking finish, and the long-lasting coverage, even on hot summer days. We also like the extra SPF protection. And unlike most BB creams, Smashbox’s offers five shades to fit a multitude of skin tones.One negative: we found it a bit drying in Lab tests.
9. Garnier SkinActive
Garnier’s Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream is a solid choice. This formula didn’t irritate skin and overall pleased our consumer testers, who were happy with its ability to match and even skin tone. This product offered moderate cosmetic coverage, though not as much as other BB creams we tested. Some testers even said they would replace some products in their daily routine with this BB cream!
10. Estee Lauder DayWear
If you are looking for a BB with more substantial coverage, look no further than this Estee Lauder pick. Testers found it easy to use, with a fresh cucumber scent and great texture, and more consumer testers said they would swap this product into their daily routine than any other BB cream. One volunteer said, “It saves me time and I like the way it makes my skin feel.” One drawback: we wish the SPF were a bit higher.
This article was originally published for Good Housekeeping. Check it out!