THE BEST: BB Creams 2012

CLICK TO SEE THE SLIGHTLY NEWER POST (WORST BB CREAMS) – Make sure you subscribe to avoid missing my upcoming 2013 BB / CC cream review post!

As far as beauty crazes go, there are few that have surfaced with as much fervor and widespread adoption as the BB cream. Originally formulated in the 1950’s by a German dermatologist, it was meant to protect tender skin after laser and cosmetic procedures. It took off in Asia after being endorsed by South Korean actresses for its brightening and lightening properties. Essentially, BB Cream is supposed to be a hybrid between a multi-use beauty cream and a foundation. I would say most have more coverage than a tinted moisturizer (and of course more beneficial properties) but less coverage than a medium or full coverage foundation. Here is a review on a few that I’ve tried.

Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream

As far as BB creams go, this one was my least favorite. I have combination-to-somewhat-oily skin, and I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve used moisturizers that made me feel less slick than this BB cream. (Note, this post was written before they FINALLY listened to us shiny girls and came out with an oil-free version.) This is definitely not for anything less than dry skin. That being said, it does provide a decent amount of coverage, so if you have dry skin and don’t want to look like you’re wearing caked on foundation, this is a good bet for you. It comes in two shades, light/medium, medium/dark. Purchase $9.74 »

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream

I’m not sure what to make of this BB cream – this one is one of the few that claims to include as many skin-perfecting benefits as an Asian BB cream, however of this I’m extremely dubious. It’s lightweight, but tends to make my face an oil slick. It feels nice on the skin, as lightweight as a mousse. However I feel this would be best for very dry skins. Purchase $8.99 »

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream

This is a higher-end American BB cream that I purchased at Sephora, and it was the first BB cream I’ve ever tried. I really like this one because it provides great coverage with the added benefit of a sunscreen. It also comes in several shades. The cons were that I’m not sure it does anything for my skin beyond that; additionally, if I were perspiring a little on a hot summer day, it tended to…how do I put this…separate? I could barely touch my face and it would come off on my fingers. This may be due to my skin type but again you may not want to try this if you are exercising. Other than that it provides great lightweight coverage that doesn’t look too heavy and is better for coverage than tinted moisturizer. Purchase $39 »

Lioele Water Drop BB Cream

And now, the best for last. I purchased this BB cream online and took a big chance because it’s an Asian BB Cream, and they usually only come in one color: light. Fortunately, this was a perfect match for my fair skin. It does have the slightly greyish cast that most Asian versions have, but I have to say this is the most amazing BB cream of the bunch. When you mix it between your fingers it forms water beads that (in my opinion) actually help the product soak deep into the skin. The benefit of this is not only penetration of the many beauty-perfecting properties it claims, but it also skins into the skin like a veil. I can’t even tell I’m wearing anything–my skin just looks perfected, which is exactly what I want during the hot summer months. It’s a shame it doesn’t come in more colors, but if you have fair to light skin, I’d definitely recommend you try this! Purchase $23 »

Do you have a beauty product you’d like me to review? Let me know in the comments?

Also let me know what your favorite BB cream is that you’ve tried!


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  1. Lorena
    07.20.2012 / 6:18 pm

    Try missha or sulwhasoo. I use missha. I love it.

  2. Roxanne
    07.20.2012 / 6:18 pm

    Yay!!! You’re back!!!

  3. 07.20.2012 / 6:20 pm

    I loved the Garnier BB cream, but I have dry skin. If my t-zone gets oily, I just use oil absorbing papers.
    I had the same issues with the Smashbox product as well! I was given it as a gift, and it got all over everything–and it stains. It was worse than using a cheap self-tanner on my face. Not a fan.

  4. Lauren
    07.20.2012 / 7:41 pm

    I use Skin79 BB Cream – after research is is one most loved by Korean women. It also comes in one shade, but matches both my olive skin and my friend’s fair skin perfectly. It’s a little grayish coming out of the bottle, but I LOVE IT. I’ve never worn foundation because I tend to not wear too much makeup, but in the summer my powder just melts off my face. Half the time I go out in just my BB cream and some mascara. Plus Skin79 is SPF 25.
    Tip: order it on – way cheaper!

    • 07.20.2012 / 8:43 pm

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Skin 79 bb creams. Which one do you use? I’ve heard there are different colored bottles – and that most people like the “gold” one, if that makes sense.

      • Lauren
        07.20.2012 / 9:02 pm

        I use the pink bottle, I believe its the “triple function”. Maybe I’ll have to try out the VIP Gold!

  5. 07.20.2012 / 8:06 pm

    I’ve used the Dr. Jart one since I got it in my June Birchbox. I like the spf 45, but it feels kind of sticky on my face for the rest of the day… Might try the Maybelline one.

    • 07.25.2012 / 6:45 pm

      I remember getting the Dr. Jart in my birchbox too, and not being very impressed with it! I love the high SPF, but didn’t know what else to really do with it…

  6. 07.20.2012 / 8:31 pm

    I use Estee Lauder’s BB Cream and I LOVE it. It provides a great amount of coverage, can withstand high temps and does tout the benefits of BB Creams. Also I mix it with my Advanced Night Repair and it gives my skin a boost and dewy look. Oh! And it has sunscreen. Win-win-win! Thanks for the run down of the others; I’ve been wonder how they stack up.

    • 07.20.2012 / 8:42 pm

      I’ve been wanting to try Estee Lauder’s BB Cream for a while now – just might have to take the plunge after I go through my water drop bb cream!

      • 07.26.2012 / 7:20 pm

        I’ve been using the Estee Lauder BB Cream for the last few months. First let me say, I LOVE the smell. They make the best smelling face products. haha The coverage is good but the only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s kind of hard to spread. Do you find that? So I feel like I’m using a TON of it and it’s not going very far on my face….if that makes sense…. But it’s the only one I’ve tried so far, so maybe they’re supposed to be like that?

        • 07.26.2012 / 7:22 pm

          Also, I will say I do like that it doesn’t “sweat” off your face! Living in South Carolina, that’s a must-have feature to any makeup. 🙂

  7. 07.20.2012 / 9:49 pm

    If you love that Lioele, try the Lioele Triple The Solution! It’s the best real bb cream there. Close behind is Skin79. If it’s not Asian made, it’s not a true BB Cream. In fact that Maybelline is actually repacked tinted moisturizer.

    • 07.22.2012 / 7:19 pm

      I agree! A lot of Western ‘BB creams’ are really just tinted moisturizers. I don’t know what make them different – Asian VS Western – but there’re great differences.

  8. 07.20.2012 / 10:40 pm

    huh, i actually havent tried any bb creams. i’ve heard of them, just havent made the leap! hope intern year is treating you well! ugh, im dreading residency. i wanna stay in 4th year for forever

  9. Carrie S.
    07.21.2012 / 12:51 am

    I recently tried Dr. Jart BB cream and was quite disappointed. I, too, have oily skin and the shine broke through within a hour and I was blotting and touching up with powder all day to combat this. That’s just too much maintenance in my opinion! Coverage was much better than a tinted moisturizer however, but I’ll be sticking with my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, which is magic for me. 🙂

  10. Faye
    07.21.2012 / 1:41 pm

    I find the Concept of These creams amazing! I use the Dr. Jart +45 and I am very pleased with its Performance. I have mixed skin. I like how it brightens and softens the skin. I will be vacationing in the Mediterranean soon, so I will have the opportunity to check how it works in hot weather.

  11. Emily
    07.21.2012 / 5:08 pm

    I love the Estee Lauder BB Cream. It is very moisturizing (and it includes anti-oxidants) while providing a great amount of coverage (and it smells great!). I also love that it comes in two different shades and the shade 02 works great for my medium/olive skin. Additionally, I am concerned about sun exposure and this one has an SPF of 35. I’ve tried some of other BBs (Boscia, Smashbox, Dior) and the Estee Lauder BB is by far my favorite!

  12. 07.21.2012 / 11:52 pm

    I’d love to see what the Asian BB cream looks like on your skin. I just can’t picture what a “greyish tint” looks like, lol!

    • Belle
      06.18.2013 / 7:24 pm

      The greyish tint will disappear. ^_^

  13. teena jackson
    07.22.2012 / 1:46 am

    I use the BB cream from Boscia and I love it. It provides enough coverage and goes on smoothly. It is perfect for my combination skin. It is expensive but so worth the price. I love this skin care line!

  14. Shawn
    07.22.2012 / 2:21 am

    Hi! Love your site! I use the Clinique BB cream and I love it. It provides coverage but it’s not cakey and looks very natural

  15. Sarah
    07.22.2012 / 3:40 am

    I have to agree about the Estée Lauder BB cream. I adore this texture, color, scent and how natural my skin looks even on a hot Houston day. The SPF is highly effective as well. I have tried the Boscia but the color did not leave me as radiant as Estée Lauder. I used to use Lancôme tinted moisturizer but I can’t go back now. Love it!

  16. Kimberlie
    07.22.2012 / 7:41 am

    I just bought the two faced BB cream and so far so good!

  17. 07.22.2012 / 9:48 am

    I use the Garnier BB cream on a daily basis, with a powder finish on top. Works for me, but I have pretty dry skin!

  18. 07.22.2012 / 11:15 am

    I had the same experience with the Garnier BB cream, but their new oil-free version is amazing!

    • Claire bear
      08.19.2013 / 3:13 am

      The new and improved Garnier oil free BB cream, is working a dream for me this summer , even with my pale skin

  19. 07.23.2012 / 1:05 am

    Thanks for the review… interesting! I’m hesitant to use them because I like a bit more coverage. You felt comfortable with the results?

  20. 07.23.2012 / 8:15 am

    I also use Skin79. It’s certainly the best (at least for me) and i’ve tried both the pink one and the gold one. The pink one is more lighter, for oily skin and the gold one is more moisturizing and for a drier skin (it has caviar so I think it works pretty well for wrinkles too).I’m currently on my second bottle, the first time I purchased this lasted me 6 months and I used it A LOT!

    Definitely not going back to foundation!

  21. 07.23.2012 / 4:32 pm

    I just started using the Clinique BB cream and am loving it! It protected my face at the beach yesterday and I still looked polished.

  22. 07.23.2012 / 5:28 pm

    I tried Garnier & Maybelline, they both are good. On special occasions I use Lakme products they are just awesome and very good quality..

  23. 07.23.2012 / 8:14 pm

    I have been using the Garnier BB and really like it. I do have somewhat dry skin, but it’s also the first BB cream I’ve tried! I appreciate your post. I’m going to give the Maybelline and Lioele a try, too.

  24. Lauren
    07.24.2012 / 12:42 am

    This post inspired me to go out and buy the maybelline bb cream. I’d never tried a bb before and I really noticed a difference in how my skin looked. I applied my bare minerals powder foundation in summer bisque over top and my skin looked super smooth and even and had a nice dewy look without being oily. Thanks for the great product reviews!

  25. 07.24.2012 / 2:04 pm

    i LOVE the Dior Hydralife BB Cream. It’s only in one shade which doesn’t work for everyone but it’s amazing for the summer. It also smells AMAZING. It’s pricey at $55 but the tube is HUGE and the packaging is adorable (I mean, it’s DIOR) and I honestly won’t use another BB Cream OR tinted moisturizer.

  26. 07.24.2012 / 6:29 pm

    The only one I have tried is the garnier one, since I have extremely oily skin it isn’t one of my favorites. I have heard raves about the L’oreal one providing a semi-matte finish so I may try that one out and review it to compare!Great post

  27. 07.25.2012 / 2:16 am

    I have never used the BB creams but plan to. I may like them being that I love tinted moisturizers. Thanks for this post!

  28. 07.25.2012 / 6:42 pm

    OMG. This is JUST what I needed. I only realized recently that BB Creams are what I need: moisturizer, primer, & sunblock, rolled in to one. I HATE having to layer all three on every morning.
    Can’t wait to check out your recommendations.

  29. CosmoGal
    07.27.2012 / 6:41 am

    If you love BB Creams then you should have a look on CC Cream !CC Creams are from Asia and have win in a short time a huge popularity. CC Cream (or Color Control Cream) is a a much-improved and refined BB cream created and developed Japan and Korea. BB creams combine skincare benefits while providing coverage and Mineral CC Cream is formulated to retain those benefits but with added nourishing ingredients for superior skincare. Furthermore, Mineral CC cream has been designed with special attention to providing much more effective skin coverage (you can even use it to substitute foundation) and its lighter texture gives a smoother, radiant yet non-oily (matte) finish.
    The most reknown brand for CC Cream is Rachel K Cosmetics that quickly became a reference with a product of high quality for an affordable price. They launched it in 2009. This year Chanel has launched it’s own version (CC stands for Complete Correction) exclusively for the Chinese market. Many other brands are now launching products on the CC segment. With honesty I find the CC Cream better than any BB Cream (I use the Rachel K one).

  30. 07.30.2012 / 5:19 am

    I used the MISSHA BB cream, it’s easy to wipe away, the color looks very natural~

  31. 08.01.2012 / 4:39 am

    My wife loves the Missha BB Cream. If she likes I love it so I think I’m going to pick some up for her.

  32. 08.14.2012 / 11:53 pm

    Thanks for the review! I love your blog!

  33. 08.17.2012 / 2:28 pm

    I use the BB cream by Too Faced and love it. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular foundation.

  34. 09.17.2012 / 7:05 pm

    I am tempted to try the Maybeline BB cream, as I like that its a reasonable price. Right now I am using Loreal, and I am quite fond of it. It has fairly decent coverage, but doesn’t look ‘cakey’ and it stays on without feeling oily!

  35. MINHchau
    10.17.2012 / 11:51 pm

    i heard the fairydrops bb cream is pretty good, it’s a Japanese brand. (:

  36. 10.28.2012 / 12:27 am

    Tried the Clinique BB. I should say that I’m older (54) and have dry/sensitive skin. I loved the effects, but after two days’ use, my skin was flaky-dry. I read that the zinc oxide ingredient is drying to skin. I’ll look forward to cc creams.

  37. beauty blog
    12.15.2012 / 11:32 am


  38. Emily
    12.24.2012 / 3:35 pm

    I use Stila’s BB cream and I love it. However, it’s on the pricy side so I’m looking for a drugstore brand

  39. Becky
    02.03.2013 / 5:16 am

    Whoa, the Maybelline BB does NOT work with very dry skin!  I have no oil whatsoever in my skin, and when I tried a sample of May’s, I expected it to hydrate my skin.  It seemed alright, but after about an hour it suddenly made my skin crackly and flaky.  It was very gross, and I highly recommend not getting this if you’re the dry type.

  40. Denisemarie85
    02.07.2013 / 12:47 am

    Is there any SPF to the Lioele?  You don’t mention it and I am looking for a genuine Korean BB cream for very fair skinned persons with a fairly high SPF.

  41. Denisemarie85
    02.07.2013 / 12:49 am

    Actually, looking at the Lioele tube again, it appears that maybe it says SPF 27.  Is that correct?  Thanks!

  42. Tomeka Davis
    02.25.2013 / 4:15 am

    I just purchased Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream today and tried it on.  My experience was the complete opposite of yours where I felt that it was actually very matte and oil free.  I have oily skin (in my T zone), and I felt that it wasn’t as moisturizing as I thought it would be….which is a plus.  However, I bought Maybelline’s Fit Me pressed powder along with it, and once I applied it after the BB cream, my face seemed a bit too ashy or dry looking, but the appearance was flawless too.  My recommendation would be to use a good moisturizer first before applying the BB cream to counteract its matte effect otherwise you might have to probably wind up getting a facial spritz such as Fix Plus by Mac to give your face a natural dewy look after make-up application. I’m thinking maybe I should continue to apply my liquid foundation after the BB cream because otherwise my make-up will feel incomplete. 

  43. ThatGingerChild
    03.04.2013 / 5:18 am

    I have fairly oily, acne-prone skin and I use the Garnier one. I love it. I do finish it off with a tad (and i mean a TAD) of pressed powder though (but that’s just cuz I don’t like the dewy sort of finish it gives all over my face; just on the upper cheek area). It is dewy looking when it’s on but it’s not greasy or matte. Which I love! I simply don’t put pressed powder anywhere i would apply a highlighter and I have a gorgeous, natural looking sheen. I will DEFINTELY be buying this again. I’ll never go back to foundation again because of Garnier BB Cream’s coverage and lightweight feeling.

  44. Evelyn
    03.28.2013 / 9:53 pm

    I really like the Smashbox BB cream. Haven’t tried them all, for sure, but prefer the added sunscreen.

  45. Heather Scoggins
    03.30.2013 / 5:30 am

    I have to agree you with you on the Garnier, it was the first drugstore brand I tried, was really disappointed with it. I moved on to the Skin79 Pink Label for oily skin, its actually made in Korea, blew me away. Didn’t use it during these winter months, but I will be pulling it back out for the summer.

  46. Mavatar
    04.04.2013 / 8:24 pm

    Hi, have you tried Boscia BB cream? It is from Sephora, is lightweight and offers great coverage. It comes in one color but auto matches your skin. I like it so far!

  47. Alice C
    04.09.2013 / 3:40 pm

    Im pretty lazy and low maintenance when it comes to makeup, and I just got the new Loreal skin beautifier BB cream, love it so far! I usually have issues with makeup because of dry patches, and all regular makeup just cakes and flakes. Not this one! Comes out white and matches my skin, very subtle, and doesnt seem greasy. Only thing missing is SPF! Was $8 @ Target

    • Fragyl Mari
      04.17.2013 / 3:44 am

      I was not sure what to think of BB creams. But I like to be a pioneer among friends and family to try out makeup to give them my experience and best opinion. I love how the Loreal BB cream adapts to your skin tone. I was also impressed by the coverage and other benefits. My only problem is that it not really made for normal or oily skin. It’s best utilized on dry skin. Don’t use a moisturizer under this BB cream unless you have dry skin. Other than that it’s great!

  48. Hannah
    04.21.2013 / 12:34 am

    I use Clinique’s BB and I love it and I tend towards oily. Their BB cream gives nice coverage and the color is light enough for me, I do set it with powder I’m more comfortable that way. Their new CC cream is supposed to be more moisturizing for those who tend towards a dryer complexion.

    • 04.21.2013 / 2:50 am

      I’ve actually been trying their new cc cream since they sent it to me, and it’s great! It’s not right for me since I tend to be oily, but it feels very luxurious.

  49. parvati6
    04.21.2013 / 11:20 am

    try the bobby brown one..I have combination skin too..and it’s awesome..great coverage..and skin looks super healthy

  50. me
    04.22.2013 / 4:42 pm

    I personally like the maybelline one. I have combination skin that is GENERALLY clear. I use a bit of concealer, this overall and then if I need a little bit more I’ll use a higher-end powder (but only with the cream, otherwise it always will look too powdery) and this creates one of the best finishes I’ve found. Completely natural.

  51. Melissa
    04.27.2013 / 11:22 pm

    I have dry ish skin and the mabelline looks and feel great on my skin. As soon as I put in my contacts I put it on & finish my hair. By the time I m done my skin looks fantastic!!

  52. Abby
    05.07.2013 / 5:40 am

    I really have to disagree with you on the Garnier one. I think I’m using the oil-free version, but it has been the least oily of all the ones I’ve tried (including Maybelline and LOreal) and provides the most even coverage. It is hydrating without feeling heavy or oily and it gives me a nice satin finish on my normal to combination skin. I also thought the Maybelline one was seriously bad… So oily that I felt like I had to cakemon powder right away, which defeats the purpose entirely, plus it had no coverage. I’m nervous about dropping the big bucks on an Asian one though! Thanks for the post!

    • 05.07.2013 / 1:06 pm

      This post is old. It was written when Garnier didn’t make an Oil-Free version. :- 🙂

  53. Karoine Kingley
    05.09.2013 / 2:10 am

    Revlon Photo Ready BB cream is pretty fantastic.

  54. Steph
    05.14.2013 / 6:34 am

    I use urban decay naked BB cream and am obsessed. I am on my second tube. I used to only wear bare minerals but found my skin was always dry. I use Urban Decays BB cream and their Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder. I have combo skin and am usually red faced and have huge pores and for the first time in my life I get tons of compliments on my skin. I’ve had multiple people tell me my skin looks so great and they wish they could get away with wearing no makeup. I definitely like the “no makeup” look. So to get compliments of looking natural when I’m wearing it is a huge bonus.

  55. Crystal
    05.25.2013 / 4:05 am

    The body shop has an amazing BB cream, it’s not oily and it light weight and has excellent coverage. I usually break out putting anything on my face, but this cream I didn’t. And the cost is pretty good $20 . And it come in three shades . Light medium and dark. Highly recommend it!

  56. Alysha
    05.31.2013 / 6:43 am

    I have oily/combination skin, I have tried so many bb creams and nothing has worked! Then Guarlane (sp?) came out with one a few weeks ago and I’m soooo in love! I would say it’s med-full coverage, stays on my face all day and looks so natural! The only down side is it only comes in two colours. It is a must! No joke, it is even better then every foundation I have tried (I’m also a pro makeup artist) cheap it out ladies!!!

  57. Grace
    06.08.2013 / 8:15 pm

    I have normal oiliness for skin and I use Garnier and it looks and feels wonderful. So your skin must be disgusting.

  58. Jenn
    06.09.2013 / 10:45 pm

    I have combo and acne prone skin. I’ve only tried two BB creams garnier and tarte. Threw out the garnier thought it was kinda cakey and tarte actually seemed to absorb and not just lay on top of the skin. I’d recommend Tarte but again I haven’t tried any other higher end brand.

  59. Jayne Quinn
    06.11.2013 / 6:25 am

    I used the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB, and I am really not a fan. I am Casper the Friendly Ghost white, so I got the lightest shade in hopes that it would match, but it actually showed up very orange on my skin, it caused me to break out horribly, and caused me to look extremely oily, (I have pretty dry skin.) I really do not recommend it.

  60. kimery
    06.18.2013 / 7:19 am

    I tried a lot of BB creams and CC creams even bought some in Korea but I found that smashbox CC cream is the best, I thought since I was Asian my skin type would match the BB& CC creams from Korea but I was wrong.

  61. 06.23.2013 / 7:13 pm

    I have combo skin and I use Garnier BB cream for oily/combo skin n(yes there is a 2 kinds. You have to get the one for your skin type) I love my Garnier

    • 06.24.2013 / 2:35 am

      I’ve tried the newer one for oily skin and it definitely is better, but it’s still not one of the best ones out there (in my humble opinion, not even close) but it definitely is a vast improvement!!

  62. megan
    06.24.2013 / 2:37 pm

    How about the one from body shop?

  63. Cc
    07.01.2013 / 12:18 am

    I think garneir bb cream is awesome its really light and not cake like at all very smooth and I live in Texas with the Texas heat wear it everyday it’s awesome! This blogger doesn’t know what she is talking about and I have combo skin

  64. kyle
    07.08.2013 / 5:20 am

    How does Miracle skin transformer compare?

  65. 07.08.2013 / 2:05 pm

    Thanks for the list of products of the BB creams. I think Garnier is much better, and the result is very effective.

  66. Shamima fathea uddin
    09.08.2013 / 9:05 am

    Anyone plzzz tell me na which bb cream is best? Garnier is good or not? Plzzz tell me frnds

  67. Clara @
    11.13.2013 / 8:44 pm

    It’s really hard to narrow it down to a few brands, but the ones that I’ve bought more than once are Missha, Etude House, and Skin79. Western brands just don’t seem to offer the coverage!

  68. Victoria
    02.16.2014 / 8:43 pm

    Looks like I may be the only one who likes the Maybelline BB cream, ha! The key is to only use a dime-size amount and blend it with a brush rather than your fingers. I use it in place of a foundation and place bronzer on top of it. I LOVE it!! I have combination to dry skin but very rarely have breakouts. Not sure if this is why it works, but it just does!

    • 02.16.2014 / 10:51 pm

      That’s great to know Victoria! May have to give that a try!

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