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Ask Belle: What is a BB Cream?

Hi Belle, 

Can you please explain BB Cream to me? What’s the difference between it and foundation? I don’t wear make up normally because I breakout but maybe BB Cream would be a good alternative. Do you have to use concealer with BB Cream? What about powder to set it?

Thanks of your help!


A BB cream stands for beauty balm.  They were developed in Asia, and essentially a BB cream is a foundation or tinted moisturizer that has a skincare element.  Some BB creams contain acne treatments, wrinkle treatments like hyaluronic acid, skin whiteners, antioxidants and other components.  The BB cream that I use is from Clinique and it’s basically an amped up tinted moisturizer with a lot of sunscreen.  And a lot of bloggers are raving about this new BB cream from Urban Decay that is designed to give skin a makeup-free look.

Now, in the race to have the most jam-packed products, some manufacturers are introducing CC creams.  In this case, CC stands for color correcting.  Olay was the first one released stateside, and their formula promises to improve the tone, clarity and brightness of your complexion.  If you prefer natural beauty products, you might want to try the CC cream from Juice Beauty, which is rich in antioxidants.

As for concealer, BB creams aren’t heavy so if you have flaws you want to hide, you’ll need a concealer.  And you want to set the BB cream with a powder, you can go two ways: you can choose one that matches your skin or you can choose a translucent one.  I like Laura Mercier’s mineral pressed powder and her translucent powder.  Whichever powder you choose, achieving a flawless look if more about application.  So either use a fluffy brush to apply a light coat, or a old Hollywood-style powder puff to press a small amount into the skin.



  1. Liz says:

    Thanks for explaining this! And for the natural makeup mention – I stick to natural brands. For anyone else who does, or wonders why it might be a good idea, I recommend the other blog that I read daily, No More Dirty Looks – http://www.nmdl.com

    January 28, 2013/Reply
  2. Tierra says:

    I LOVE BB cream! I use the Body Shop's. It's not heavy at all, but gives your skin a nice finished look.

    January 28, 2013/Reply
  3. Dru says:

    I love Garnier's Skin Renew B.B. Cream. It works as a tinted moisturizer. It is very inexpensive. I have been wearing it about 9 months. It has improved my skin so much that even though I am in my late 20's, people have started asking me when I'm graduating college, what's my major, etc. It has improved my skin to the point that I often can go without makeup on the weekends when before I did not feel comfortable without some form of foundation.

    January 28, 2013/Reply
  4. Jen says:

    If you can get your hands on some Korean BB Cream, I'd definitely recommend it. While the American versions don't do much for me, I've found the Asian ones offer beautiful coverage without breaking me out or feeling like heavy foundation. (That said, I haven't tried to Urban Decay or Clinique versions.)

    I use the Missha BB Cream through their US webstore, but I know there are a few other ones that are fairly easily available. ­čÖé

    January 28, 2013/Reply
  5. Susan R says:

    If one exists that actually treats acne, I want to know!! Most of the ones I've looked at seem to have bad reviews when it comes to acne prone skin, even Clinique.

    January 28, 2013/Reply
  6. Belle says:

    Susan R: I haven't seen any increase in acne with the Clinique. They say the Dr Jart Detox helps acne, but I hated it. Clinique makes a foundation esp. for acne, you might try that.

    January 28, 2013/Reply
  7. EBB says:

    I purchased Bobbi Brown's BB cream in Fair while in Tokyo. I was looking to try a BB cream from an Asian line but the cosmetologist I spoke with highly recommended Bobbi's. I've had problem skin from junior high through my mid 20s and I can honestly say I haven't broken out ONCE since I've started using this two months ago. I've received so many compliments on my skin, which is brand new for me. It evens out my skin tone and blends so much better than even my most favorite Stila tinted moisturizer. Check it out!

    January 28, 2013/Reply
  8. Ella says:

    Since we're talking about makeup…
    I have found a fantastic new concealer! Woo hoo!!! It's named “Amazing Concealer,” and it's as close to perfect as any concealer I've found. If you get it, the only way to apply it is with sephora's airbrush concealer brush.

    I'm the same poster who wrote a long comment about the differences betwee Benefit Erase Paste, Bobbi Brown corrector & concealer, and maybelline's brightener a while ago. I'm in the camp that needs industrial strength concealer because I have both inherited darkness and darkness caused by severe allergies.

    Sorry for the long post. I'm just too excited to not share.

    January 28, 2013/Reply