Are BB Creams BS?

Those in-the-know are all abuzz with news of the latest beauty craze: BB Creams. A mnemonic for beauty balm (or in some cases, blemish balm), BBs promise an entire beauty arsenal in a tube: primer, foundation, concealer, moisturizer, SPF, anti-ager, and sometimes even acne-fighter. The craze began in Asia where Korean celebs attributed their flawless skin to these products, and from there word spread like wildfire to Europe and then to our shores. In fact, it seems like most every American beauty company got the same memo to formulate one cause there’s a blizzard of BBs hitting shelves at the same time.

“BB Creams are the next generation beauty product because they contain high-performance treatments like antioxidants, brighteners, and botanical actives combined with sunscreen and moisture for true skincare efficacy,” says Cindy Lin, director of product development at Dr. Jart.

Surely by now you’re likely mentally making room for one in your makeup bag—and why wouldn’t you? But expect a miracle cream and you’ll be underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, BBs have some great attributes: they’re the quintessential multi-tasker—delivering moisture, tint, and good-for-you ingredients, plus they’re so easy to apply it can be done with your fingers. But for covering scars, blemishes, or redness, better stick with that old standby—Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. The consistency of many of the BBs I tried was also a little too heavy for my liking and the brighteners a little too intense (does my chin really need to glow?). And while fair to medium skin types will have no lack of BBs to choose from, those with darker complexions currently have limited options.

But be your own judge and give one a whirl. Here’s a breakdown of the standouts:

  • Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 (my personal fave) is an oil-free formula, which has a self-adjusting universal shade that warms to most skin tones.


  1. Georgia Frasch says:

    Thank you for keeping me ‘in the know’…had never even heard of BB creams….love your blog 🙂

  2. Hey Melissa!
    Congrats on the new and fabulous website! Looks like things are going really well-so happy for you! And here’s a question: If I don’t need a BB cream, what do you suggest for an everyday, under makeup, with SPF moisturizer? I just ran out and would love something to make me look slightly less like a mom of two 🙂
    Best to all,

    • MGoldstein says:

      Hi Jody, Sorry for the delay getting back to you. I’m still a WordPress neophyte. For those days I’m going to be out in the sun, I love the new SPF fluid sunscreens (Neutrogena makes one, as does Laura Mercier, Anthelios, and a few others). Very watery consistency but great UV protection. Otherwise I like a rich day moisturizer. Think I’m using Lancome’s right now, but a big fan of the Olay products and Kiehl’s. Hope that helps.

      • Thanks Melissa–will definitely check out the fluid sunscreens. I’ve never heard of them and that sounds perfect for days we’re out on the bikes or at the park or whatnot. Thanks!

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