BB Creams ~ What’s the deal?

I fall victim to anything that’s the “latest”.

My husband calls me a “Marketers Dream”.  I guess he’s a little right.

I mean, what if the new whatever comes out and it’s way better than the OLD whatever and I don’t know about it?

That’s a scary thought.

Especially when it comes to make-up.  It’s really for the greater good that I stay abreast on all the latest, for my sake as well as yours.


When I read all the hub-bub about this stuff called “BB Cream” I knew it was a no brainer.

AND it’s really big in Japan, which automatically makes me behind the curve.  I mean, the Japanese have really good skin, right?


So I did what any normal person would do and went out and bought some BB Cream at all price points.

I do it for the people.


Now, first.  BB Cream is also called “Beauty Balm”.

What it’s SUPPOSED to do is fix everything in your life and even balance your checkbook.

So, of course if you believe the hype you will be underwhelmed.

They say it will conceal, moisturizer, prime, cover, even skin tone, protect from the sun and even offer long term benefits like smoothing and softening skin.

Skin-care meets make-up.  One product for everything.


Here’s what I found that it does…it works much like a tinted moisturizer and primer all-in-one, but it also contains SPF and skin-care ingredients that vary from brand to brand.  Also, the coverage you achieve will depend on the brand you buy…at least with my little experiment.


Here’s what I did:

I did some research online and also went to Sephora, ULTA and Target to see what was out there.

I narrowed it down to 4 brands that got good reviews, but trust me, there are many more that I didn’t try.

(I actually got lucky on the “high-end” Dior cream.  It came free as a sample with my online order from Sephora)

Here are all the creams I tried side by side:

The far left is Dior Hydra Life BB Creme SPF 30, second from the left is SmashBox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35, third from the left is the Too Faced Beauty Balm SPF 20 and finally on the far right is Garnier BB Cream SPF 15.

Over the past few weeks I have been trying all the creams so I could report back to you my findings.  All very scientific.

I would like to preface all my opinions with this…I bought all these creams myself, I am not a make-up professional.  All my opinions are my own.


A little background info on me…I like a full coverage make-up.  The older I get the more coverage I find that I need/like.  So I used the BB cream as a moisturizer/primer, and topped it with my normal foundation.

Also, I omitted my morning moisturizer.  I wanted to see if the BB cream offered enough moisturizer for me (having normal/dry skin), and really be a do-all kind of cream:  moisturize, prime, cover and protect.


First up I tried the Dior.  It’s the most expensive of the brands I tried coming in at $56.

This one has GREAT coverage, the best coverage of all the brands.  Such good coverage that I contemplated going without my foundation.  But with foundation over this cream I had a perfect finish.  The one thing that’s not so great about this cream is that it only comes in one shade, which is a medium/nude.  If you have pale or dark skin this might not work for you, which kind of stinks, because I love it.  Also, I found that it didn’t offer me quite the moisturizing that I need (on the 2nd day I had to use a light moisturizer underneath), but I will forgive it for that because the priming, skin evening and coverage are so great.  If you have a normal, or normal to oily skin it will probably be fine.


The next cream is the Smash Box Camera Ready BB Cream, $39

This is the next best, coverage-wise to the Dior.  It’s at a lower price point than the Dior, which is better on the wallet.  AND it comes in varying shades.  I found that it was a great primer for my foundation which makes sense because Smashbox is known for their primer.  I also felt like I needed a light moisturizer under this, but again, my skin leans more toward the dry side.


Next up another medium-cost BB cream, the Too Faced Cream, $30

I liked this cream very much.  The reason I put in 2 middle priced creams is because they are different… The Too Faced comes in a few different shades and goes on smooth.  It also has light reflecting particles in it which gives you a pretty glow, without looking glittery.  It offers medium-light coverage, but works great under foundation.  I used my regular foundation over top and loved the results.  It even offered enough moisture that I didn’t need my regular moisturizer, so it was really an all-in one cream for me…moisturizer, primer, and SPF.  The coverage on this one is slightly less than the Dior and the Smashbox, but it offers a nice, natural finish for days that you wanted to skip foundation.


Finally, coming in at the lowest price, the Garnier BB Cream, $9.99

I have to say that this one was my least favorite.  There wasn’t anything WRONG with it, it just offered me nothing more (short-term) than a tinted moisturizer.  The coverage wasn’t great, although it did go on smooth.  It did, however, offer good moisture, so if you are looking for a cream that is light coverage this might be the best for you…although I would recommend the Too Faced just because of the light reflecting particles.


Overall, I have to say that I am sold on the BB Creams.  Anything that will cut down on the steps I have to take in the morning is welcome to me.

I haven’t been using the creams long enough to report any long-term effects, but I can’t imagine that they will be life changing.


My favorite, overall was the Too Faced Cream.  For MY skin, it was able to completely skip moisturizer with a nice even coverage.  With the light reflecting particles I felt like my skin looked the best, with a slightly dewy glow.


Here’s a picture of my make up using the Too Faced

I used the cream, my foundation, a little bronzer, highlighter and mascara.

Sorry about the dopey picture.

I would love to hear if you have tried BB Cream and what you thought?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.


  1. 1

    I am such a lazy makeup putter-on-er I have been wondering about these.

  2. 2
    Monica says:

    I only use Mary Kay moisturizer and their cream foundation. I put them both in my hand at the same time, smoosh it all together, then rub all over my face. It is a very light coverage. I don’t know about adding yet another cream to my face. Might look too “cakey”.

  3. 3
    Rachael S says:

    THATS what BB stands for! I thought that was the dumbest name for a face cream, but I guess that makes more sense…seems like they should put that somewhere so people (*cough*like me *cough*) dont get so confused!

  4. 4
    Lisa says:

    I’ve only tried the Smashbox and the Garnier. When I use the Smashbox, I just set it with powder and it gives me a pretty even, fairly full coverage look. I tried the Garnier and hated it. It felt like a thick coating of oil on my face…I couldn’t get it off quick enough. I’ll have to try the Too Faced. Thanks for doing the review!

  5. 5
    RachelJW says:

    I tried the Garnier BB cream and then went on to buy Clinique’s BB cream and I actually much preferred Garnier’s version. This really surprised me because I usually love everything Clinique….but their BB cream is really nothing more than a (very slightly) tinted sunscreen. I have super dry skin and the Garnier cream moisturized my skin beautifully and gave me a little bit of a “glow”. I could totally see how it would not work for somebody with oily skin, though, because it really is super moisturizing!

  6. 6
    Erin F says:

    Good timing for this review! I’ve been wanting to get something along these lines but feel overwhelmed going to in those stores. So I went to the new Sephora store and got the Too Faced one this afternoon. That is a dangerous store!!!

  7. 7
    Brooke says:

    I use the Garnier BB cream but I have dry skin so it works well. However I put powder and a bronzer over it. I will say it has it’s benefits. After a late night I didn’t wash my face as usual. When I woke up the next day my skin looked great still!

  8. 8

    First, you are so adorable! No apologizing for that picture!

    Second, I’m so happy you investigated this for us. I’ve been hearing so much about them, that I was sure they were the be-all-end-all in make-up. I was at the Estee Lauder counter buying DARK SPOT CORRECTOR, yes, I’m old, and tried their BB cream. I was waiting for the choir of angels to start singing, but you know what? I didn’t like it. Two colors…did nothing for me.

    I’m gonna wait for the CC cream.

  9. 9

    I was thrilled when you first posted this article. I had literally been considering BB creams while reading a magazine the night before. I’m not a foundation wearer; I just use moisturizer, then concealer for under eye, spot corrections, whatevs. After reading this, I snagged the Too Faced cream and I absolutely love it! I still have to use my moisturizer with it, but it’s a nice cover for me, without being too much or too heavy. Thanks for your intensive research, Shelly. :)

  10. 10
    Steve says:


    We are a professional make up brush manufacturer in China,Which has been engaged in the line for about eight years. Maybe,you are still on the market for a reliable supplier of cosmetic brush.
    Looking forward to further nogotiations.

    Kindest Regards

    Zonghang cosmetic tool co.,Ltd
    Add:Baoshan 3rd industrial zone, Pingshan new area,Shenzhen city,China

  11. 11
    jean says:

    thanks alot for the just garnier cream a face make-up..pliz reply.thnks

    • 11.1
      Shelly says:

      BB cream is kind of a make-up. The best way I can describe it is like a tinted moisturizer, but it also has spf, and can work as a primer to foundation if you like more coverage.

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    lindsay says:

    Asian BB creams are the best. (at least in my opinion)

  15. 15
    lindsay says:

    for the most part, American BB creams are nothing more than tinted moisturizer.

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    Samantha Marie says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I had been wondering about the BB Cream since I saw an ad for it in my Fitness magazine. I actually just ordered BB Cream from Avon and just got to use it this morning and the Avon version is amazing as well. I am SO picky to what I put on my face and my face is very ‘touchy’ when it comes to products but so far today my face still looks amazing, healthy and flawless. I felt confident all day with this on. I didn’t even use foundation (which I have never gone a day without!) I’ve read a handful of sites regarding the BB Cream but I thought I’d mention AVON BB cream as well. It was only $10!

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    Laura says:

    So far I like BB cream (never knew what it stood for til now – thanks!). I’ve only used a cheapie so far – by Rimmel, (however you spell it), I think. It’s around 7 bucks and I’m getting ready to buy my 2nd tube. I don’t use a moisturizer, but I do use a BeautiControl base and I don’t use foundation over it. It almost gives too much coverage for me, but I like it enough where I haven’t needed to try another brand. I believe it has somewhere around 4 shades to choose from.

  43. 43
    Diane says:

    I’ve been using the Garnier oil free BB cream for about a year now. I love it. I’ve actually seen my skin improve during this time. I have a medium skin tone and have to mix the light/medium, with the medium/dark to get the right color, but it gives me good coverage when topped with mineral powder. Maybe this summer I’ll try the Too Faced cream. Thanks for sharing!

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