BB creams are an absolute lifesaver. Not only do they have multiple benefits for your complexion but they’re real multi-taskers — meaning you’ll save time and room in your make-up bag. We've tried, tested and found the best for all skin types, budgets and beauty needs...
Once upon a time, there were only foundations. For those after full-coverage, that was well and good, but what about everyone else? What about the whole army of women who live in London and want a little buttery buffer between skin and the city air? What about the women who have an almost perfect complexion but want to apply a little unifying pigment and also have the joys of juicy skin? For these people, BB creams are a revelation.
Providing just a little more coverage than a tinted moisturiser and all the lovely skincare benefits of a moisturiser, BB creams (the ‘BB’ stands for Blemish Balm) were first developed in Germany by dermatologists who were eager to provide their post-surgical patients with a make-up option that would also cosset their healing skin. Korea ran with the idea and produced BBs by the bucketload, which were eagerly snapped up by skin-savvy customers who’ve since become loyal to the power of the BB.
Now, the BB cream is ubiquitous. You’ll find most brands have one, with benefits ranging from concealing, priming, and brightening, to controlling oil production and providing UV protection. You can also expect your BB cream to help your skin over time, just as good skincare does. Think lighter patches of pigmentation and reduced dryness, along with anything from tighter-looking pores to fewer flare ups of redness.
The thing all BB creams have in common is that they combine coverage with skincare, offering the ideal option if you’re after both in the one whammy. You can typically expect a BB cream to finish up looking dewy, though now that formulas are diversifying, you can expect to find a variety of different end results.
The key, as always, lies in finding just the right one for you. That’s where our edit comes in…
1. Burberry Fresh Glow BB Cream, £30
Fresh Glow BB Cream, £30, Burberry
The key to unleashing your own Burberry glow, this BB cream makes skin look healthy and bouncy - even if you're exhausted underneath it.
2. REN Satin Perfection BB Cream, £28
Satin Perfection BB Cream, £28, REN
REN make brilliant skincare that relies on natural extracts and botanical ingredients. This BB cream is an extension of their skincare, softening and gently imbuing skin with moisture.
3. Erborian BB Creme Nude, £36
BB Creme Nude, £36, Erborian
This is a cult BB cream among beauty editors for its ability to melt into the skin, leaving behind a juicy, buttery complexion. The coverage is light to medium, but can be built up.
4. Double Wear All Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup SPF 30, £30
Double Wear All Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup SPF 30, £30, Estee LauderThis new longwear BB cream is the first from Estee Lauder - and we're seriously impressed. It gives skin a radiant, healthy glow, combining the coverage and staying power of the long-time favourite foundation Double Wear along with skin-perfecting ingredients. The formula oil-free brightens the complexion, while evening the tone with soft optics and vitamin E, as well as protecting skin with SPF30. It smoothes on with no cakiness at all, which makes it perfect for the hot summer months.
5. Smash Box Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35, £27
Smash Box Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35, £27, Boots
Smash Box Camera Ready BB Cream gives you flawless skin without the cakey look. Yes, please. The multi-tasking formula primes, perfects, hydrates and controls oil - as well as protecting you from harmful rays with the SPF35 and the anti-ageing anti-peptides. Use alone for a natural look, or with foundation if you want a little more coverage.
6. Kiehl's Actively Correcting And Beautifying BB Cream, £24.50
Kiehl's Actively Correcting And Beautifying BB Cream, £24.50, Kiehl's
Kiehl's hardworking formula banishes imperfections, evens skin tone, protects skin from harmful sun rays and reduces the appearance of fine lines. Available in three shades, this lightweight BB cream is easy to apply and banishes blemishes better than most. Use it alone or as a smoothing base for long-lasting foundation.
7. Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage BB Cream SPF 25
Glow Time Full Coverage BB Cream SPF 25, £39.95, Jane Iredale
This mineral-based formula offers medium-to-full coverage, and won't irritate the most sensitive of skins. Make it your pick if you suffer from acne and want something that offers good coverage but also need a BB that is non-comedogenic and will also offer a high SPF.