The best BB creams to cater for every budget, skin type and tone

More than just a tinted moisturiser, the best BB creams hydrate, blur and even out tone in a matter of seconds

Collage of Pixi Beauty Balm and Erborian BB Cream
(Image credit: Future/Pixi/Erborian)

The best BB creams—also known as "blemish balms" or "beauty balms", to use their proper name—deliver skin-loving ingredients to your complexion while blurring for a smoother appearance, evening out skin tone and, in some cases, offering protection against harmful UV. Sounds good? You'll be please to hear that we've put the best on the market to the test to help you choose the right option for your skin type and tone.

You may have heard that BB cream hails from South Korea, a country that has been setting the global beauty agenda for some time now. But in actual fact, the first BB cream was developed by a German dermatologist in the sixties. Dr. Christine Schrammek wanted a cream that would both protect her patients' skin after undergoing laser treatments, as well as provide a little coverage to disguise redness. Since then, skin specialists have been perfecting BB formulas all around the world for the perfect skincare-meets-makeup hybrid. 

And so, to find the very best BB creams available, we put several of the market's best-selling iterations through a rigorous testing process—with some formulas even rivaling the best foundations for acne prone skin. Below you’ll find a range of coverage options and formulations that suit a variety of skin concerns. 

How we tested the best BB creams in this guide

There are a number of BB creams on the market, so to ensure that our edit was truly made up of the best buys, we put them all through their paces to see how well they performed during a full day's wear. To that end, the following factors were all taken into consideration in order to thoroughly assess each individual BB cream.

  • Price
  • Packaging
  • Number of shade options
  • Skincare ingredients
  • Finish
  • How it felt on the skin
  • How it wore throughout the day

The best BB creams, tested by a beauty editor 

Pixi Beauty Balm

(Image credit: Pixi )
The best BB cream for all skin types

Specifications

RRP: $22/£22
Coverage: Medium to full
SPF: N/A
Benefits: Ceramides help restore the protective outermost layer of the skin aiding water and moisture retention

Reasons to buy

+
Wide shade range
+
Longwear formula
+
Last for a long time
+
Brilliant coverage

Reasons to avoid

-
No SPF

Pixi has become well known for its skincare solutions, marrying affordability with efficacy. A favorite of beauty experts and editors, including me, in my opinion this BB cream is the perfect example of beauty multitasking done right. Beauty Balm is great for all skin types as it smooths the skin, lasts all day, and doesn’t scrimp on skincare benefits either.

More specifically, ceramides protect the skin barrier by helping to retain moisture, hyaluronic acid hydrates, antioxidant-rich chamomile extract repairs and soothes, and adenosine plumps to smooth out the look of lines and wrinkles. Although there is no SPF in this formula, it does come in an impressive range of shade options, which I think is particularly important to note when you compare it against other BB creams on the market. Its coverage is actually closer to a foundation, but you can mix with a moisturizer, lotion, or SPF if a more sheer look is desired. I'm calling it one of the best—if not the best—BB cream on the market. 

Read our full Pixi Beauty Balm review to find out just how good this pigment-packed BB cream is

Garnier BB Cream

(Image credit: Garnier)

2. Garnier BB Cream Anti-Aging Medium Tinted Moisturiser

The best affordable BB cream

Specifications

RRP: $12.99/£9.99
Coverage: Light
SPF: 25
Benefits: Sugar molecule proxylane defends the skin barrier and reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles

Reasons to buy

+
Contains breathable mineral make-up
+
Gave us a healthy glow
+
Anti-aging formula
+
Lasts for 12 hours 

Reasons to avoid

-
Shade range is not great
-
Not for oily skin types

Boasting 12 hours wear, 24 hours of hydration, SPF protection, wrinkle reduction, and an enviable glow—this formula promises real bang for your buck. I found the texture nice and creamy in nature and, while coverage is light, it did a good job at blurring my complexion and imparting a healthy glow; I looked healthy and radiant. The shade range is limited with only two mineral pigment colours available—a light, and a medium that some skin tones might find a little too orange—which is a bit disappointing, though there are darker shade options in the classic version. 

However, I rate the anti-aging ingredients in this particular formula are quite impressive for a budget buy. Grapefruit extract is rich in potent antioxidant vitamin C, a gold standard skin perfector beloved by beauty experts around the world. It also contains skin-sloughing acids, reducing the build-up of dullness-inducing dead skin cells. Plus, it contains sugars that keep the microbiome of your skin healthy too. All in all, I think it's a pretty good budget buy. 

Erborian CC Creme

(Image credit: Erborian )

3. Erborian BB Crème

The best Korean BB Cream

Specifications

RRP : $46/£41
Coverage: Light to medium
SPF : 20
Benefits : Non-comedogenic, breathable, ginseng, licorice, ginger

Reasons to buy

+
Natural-looking, slightly matte finish
+
Non-comedogenic
+
Two sizes available 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Korea is the birthplace of many of the best BB creams, so it seemed only fitting that we tested some of the top formulas born from the K-beauty world. Enter, French-Korean brand Erborian, whose BB Crème is a fan favorite—having been reviewed more than 2,000 times by keen shoppers—that yields a sheer, healthy-looking glow. Available in four different shades, the formula also packs anti-inflammatories and hydrating ingredients to really nourish your skin as well as even out tone.

In terms of how it actually feels on the skin, it has a nice silky texture that glides on to skin and left my complexion feeling nice and nourished with noticeable plumpness. Cult status aside, there are a couple of drawbacks I think it's worth mentioning here. This particular cream is at the pricey end of the scale and, unlike the newer Super BB version, doesn't cater to very dark skin tones. But all in all, it's difficult to argue with those results!

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream

(Image credit: IT Cosmetics )

4. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream

The best BB/CC cream for full coverage

Specifications

RRP : $44/£33
Coverage : High
SPF : 50+
Benefits : Skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, antioxidants and vitamins

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliant coverage
+
Good shade range
+
Higher level of SPF than most

Reasons to avoid

-
Kind of expensive

First designed by its founder to disguise rosacea redness, IT Cosmetics' formula is *technically* a CC cream because its primary purpose is to correct and disguise discoloration (you can read more about the differences betweem BB cream vs CC cream in our explainer). But it packs so many skincare benefits, and its coverage is so buildable and natural-looking, that we deemed it well worth a shout-out in our edit of the best BB creams, because it has a similar vibe to the other products featured here. 

Boasting SPF 50+ (though makeup shouldn't be relied upon in place of the best sunscreen for face). It also has a broad range of skin-true shades, which the brand has just expanded to 22 different options, meaning everybody should be able to find their perfect match. For beauty contributor Lucy Abbersteen, this is a makeup base that she returns to time and time again. "Holidays, trips to the pub, general everyday wear; I love this product for how well the formula stretches and builds, and the great level of coverage even the smallest amount gives. It's one whose stocks I replenish frequently because I know I can rely on it for great-looking skin. I'd be happy using it forever!" 

Bioderma SENSIBIO AR BB CREAM

(Image credit: Bioderma)

5. Bioderma SENSIBIO AR BB CREAM

The best BB cream for sensitive skin prone to redness

Specifications

RRP: $20.28/£16.50
Coverage: Light
SPF: 30
Benefits: patented technology Rosactiv reduces redness & skin inflammation

Reasons to buy

+
Reduces redness long term
+
Works on sensitive skin prone to rosacea
+
Full of skin-soothing ingredients

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in one shade
-
Coverage is not buildable

Targeted anti-redness skincare and a veil of pigment are combined in this powdery, scented BB cream. The creamy, lightweight formula contains the patented ingredient Rosactiv that prevents the dilation of small blood vessels and calms redness instantly, and I liked the texture. Ginkgo biloba, green tea, and soy are also incorporated to inhibit the factors that cause persistent redness, while allantoin and canola soothe, glycerine hydrates, and a cocktail of active ingredients helps to reduce inflammation, which is very important in the quest to calm redness.

As for sun protection, SPF 30 and PA +++ is a much-needed addition to the anti-redness formula, as it helps shield the skin from UVA and UVB rays that can aggravate redness, though as already mentioned this won't be sufficient protection in the summer months. I must also stress that this product's shade range really lets it down. There is just one light shade on offer, meaning those with warmer and darker skin tones who also experience redness or discoloration are not catered for.

How to choose the best BB cream for you

Once you're comfortable with the difference between BB cream vs foundation, the next thing you should do before choosing your formula is to identify your skin type. Dry skin tends to feel tight, and rough and can look flaky and dull, so you’ll need an injection of moisture. If you have an oily T-zone—from your forehead down towards your chin—but your cheeks are normal to dry with no visible pores, then your skin type is combination. This means hydrating ingredients should be your priority. Oily skin looks shiny all over due to excess oil, has large pores, and will regularly breakout. So, you guessed it, mattifying formulas that blur are the ones for you. 

Once you've figured out what skin type you are, you need to think about what your skin concerns are. Are you after something that will help to control acne, or calm rosacea, or perhaps it's your lines and wrinkles that are a concern? Homing in on your skin’s "identity" and what it really needs will make it easier to find the best BB cream for you—then all that's left to do is master how to apply BB cream like a pro. 

But there is one area you may find a challenge—and that’s shade matching. Unlike foundations, BB creams tend to be made with more sheer coverage that adapts to your skin tone. However, on our search for the best, we found that shade-inclusivity is seriously lacking—and, there's only so much adapting fair to medium shades can do. So, it is worth noting that while some brands like Garnier only offer a light and a medium option, there are others like Pixi that offer six different shades, ranging from a fair creamy hue to a deep espresso. And until brand producing BB creams step up and improve shade ranges, they may not be the best option for some skin tones.

Amerley is an award-winning beauty & lifestyle journalist who has been writing for the UK’s most well-known glossies, websites and newspapers for over a decade. Known for her ability to predict the next big trend, there is really very little she won’t try for a story. From microblading and injectables, to10 step skincare plans and breathing her way to better skin, Amerley loves to share her experiences and write relatable, informative and trend-led copy for beauty novices and junkies alike. 

With contributions from