Best BB creams: our top picks for every skin type and tone

More than just a tinted moisturiser, the best BB creams repair, protect, hydrate, and conceal in seconds.

Best BB Creams
(Image credit: Pixi / La Roch Posay / Estee Lauder)

In a single step, the best BB creams flood the skin with restorative actives, blur for a smoother appearance, even skin tone and protect against harmful UV rays. What’s not to love? 

You may well think that BB creams hail from South Korea, a country that has been setting beauty trends here in the West for some time now. But in actual fact, the first BB cream (aka blemish balm), was developed by a German dermatologist in the 1960s. Dr Christine Schrammek wanted a single cream that could protect her patients skin post laser treatments, as well as provide some coverage to hide redness and even out skin tone. 

What the South Koreans did do however, was fall in love with the idea of an all-in-one offering and have been perfecting BB formulas since the 80s. The iterations on the market here in the West are equal parts skincare and make-up. We tried and tested the best on the market - our favourite Pixi Beauty Balm for its longwear formula and skincare benefits, but you’ll find a range of coverage options, with formulations tailored to a variety of concerns. 

How to choose the best BB cream for you

When choosing a BB cream, start by identifying 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 work a treat. 

Once you’ve clarified what skin type you are, delve a little deeper and think about your concerns. Do you need help controlling acne, or calming rosacea, or perhaps lines and wrinkles 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.

But there is one area you may find a challenge – and that’s shade matching. Unlike foundations, BB creams tend to be made with a more sheer coverage that adapts to your skin tone. However, shade-inclusivity is lacking and there’s only so much adapting fair to medium shades can do. But it is worth noting that while some brands like Garnier only offer a light and a medium option, there are others like Pixi who offer six shades ranging from a fair creamy hue to a deep espresso. 

THE BEST BB CREAMS YOU CAN BUY RIGHT NOW

The best BB cream for most people

Pixi Beauty Balm


(Image credit: Pixi)

Pixi Beauty Balm

Best for shade availability

Specifications
Coverage: Medium to full
SPF: 0
Benefits: Ceramides help restore the protective outermost layer of the skin aiding water and moisture retention
Reasons to buy
+Wide shade range+longwear formula
Reasons to avoid
-Coverage resembles that of a foundation-No SPF

Pixi has become well known for their skin care solutions, marrying affordability with efficacy. A favourite of beauty editors and influencers, this BB cream is the perfect example of how multitasking is done. Great for all skin types, it smooths the skin, lasts all day, and doesn’t scrimp on skincare benefits either. Ceramides protect the skin barrier helping to retain moisture, hyaluronic acid hydrates, antioxidant rich chamomile extract repairs and soothes, and adenosine plumps to smooth lines and wrinkles. While there is no SPF, it does come in an impressive range of colours when compared with other BB creams on the market and coverage resembles that of a foundation. However, you can mix with a moisturiser, lotion or SPF if a more sheer look is desired.

The best premium BB cream

Estee Lauder Double Wear BB Cream

(Image credit: Estee Lauder)

Double Wear Cushion BB All Day Wear Liquid Compact SPF 50 / PA ++++

Best for longevity

Specifications
Coverage: light to medium
SPF: 50
Benefits: Fruit extracts and red algae hydrate and smooth
Reasons to buy
+lasts for eight hours+hydrating formula
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of shades for brown and black skin tones-Oily skin types might find this too dewy

Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation is the number one prestige foundation in the UK. So how does the BB version fare in comparison? Just like the foundation, it is formulated to last, guaranteeing 8 hours wear, but the finish is much more natural and sheer. It primes, moisturises and evens out skin tone, all while feeling totally weightless. It’s hydrating without being oily, and the applicator provided makes life easier – although you may prefer to use a foundation brush for superior blending capacity. Either way, be sure to wash your chosen applicator once a week. Formula wise, the SPF is impressively high, coming in at 50, to offer major protection against UV. Fruit extracts and red algae smooth hydrate and plump out lines and wrinkles, tourmaline adds a glow to the complexion and silk powders help to blur the skin for a soft-focus finish. Unfortunately, unlike its namesake, it’s not available in 55 shades, but only five light to medium hues, meaning it only caters to those who fall within three of Estee Lauder’s eight shade categories.

The best budget BB cream

Garnier BB Cream Anti-Ageing Medium Tinted Moisturiser

(Image credit: Garnier)

Garnier BB Cream Anti-Ageing Medium Tinted Moisturiser

Best for anti-ageing on a budget

Specifications
Coverage: light
SPF: 15
Benefits: Sugar molecule proxylane defends the skin barrier and reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles
Reasons to buy
+contains breathable mineral make-up+anti-ageing formula+lasts for 12 hours 
Reasons to avoid
-lack of shades-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. Texture is creamy in nature and while coverage is light, it did a good job at blurring the complexion and imparting a healthy glow. 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. However, the anti-ageing ingredients 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 the world over. It’s also packed full of 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 so that it works at tip top condition.

The best for sensitive skin

Bioderma SENSIBIO AR BB CREAM

(Image credit: Bioderma)

Bioderma SENSIBIO AR BB CREAM

Best for sensitive and redness prone skin

Specifications
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
Reasons to avoid
-only available in one shade-coverage is not buildable

Targeted anti-redness skincare and a veil of colour are combined within this powdery scented BB cream. The creamy lightweight formula contains patented ingredient Rosactiv that prevents the dilation of small blood vessels and calms redness instantly. Plus, ginkgo biloba, green tea and soy are used to inhibit the factors that cause persistent redness. Allantoin and canola soothe, glycerine hydrates and a cocktail of active ingredients are used to reduce inflammation which is all important when it comes to quelling redness. SPF 30 and PA +++ is a much-needed addition to the anti-redness formula as it helps protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays that can aggravate redness. However, what lets it down is the lack of shades. Only available in one light shade, those will olive and warmer skin tones who can also experience redness aren’t catered for.

The best for oily skin

La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur

(Image credit: La Roche-Posay)

La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur

Best for acne prone skin

Specifications
Coverage: full
SPF: 0
Benefits: Silica and elastic gel polymer airlicium mattifies and smoothes
Reasons to buy
+reduces sebum production+covers acne scarring and spots with ease
Reasons to avoid
-lack of shade options-Doesn’t contain any skincare benefits

Specifically formulated for oily and blemish-prone skin, this oil free, creamy mousse-like formula offers full coverage to hide blemishes, redness and scarring alike. It’s best applied with your fingers and little goes a long way so this lasts ages. We found it works well at reducing excess shine while the blurring technology made skin appear smoother, diminishing the appearance of pores, fine lines and redness as well as impressively concealing acne. This is thanks to silica-based perlite, that works to counteract the effects of humidity alongside mattifying airlicium, a gel polymer that absorbs three times its weight in oil and forms a supple and resistant, yet breathable film over skin to help smooth its surface. Sadly it’s only available in two light shades, does not contain any SPF and while it shouldn’t aggravate acne prone skin or induce more breakouts it doesn’t contain any beneficial skincare ingredients – making this more like a mattifying foundation then a traditional BB cream.