Six of the best: BB Creams

Wed, 4 April 2012 9:03AM

If you’ve been seeing the words ‘BB Cream’ splashed across the packaging of new-to-shelf beauty products of late, it’s OK if you’re confused. BB Cream? What on earth is that?

With more aliases than Frank William Abagnale Jr. this cream is also known as a Blemish Balm, Beauty Benefit, Blemish Base, or Beauty Balm, depending on who you ask. Whatever you want to call it, there’s no denying these creams are the latest beauty trend to finally hit our sandy shores. They were going off in New York when I lived there, and are hugely popular in Asia and Europe as well.

It’s no surprise they’re catching on. It’s said that in Asia, women take up to seven steps to complete their beauty routine. SEVEN STEPS! So, when a product that multitasks better than a wife with five kids springs onto the market, the masses are going to respond. Not only because it cuts preening time in half, it also saves you stacks of dollars.

Depending on which option you go for, BB Creams are generally able to service your every skincare/makeup/SPF need. Think: Hydrate like a moisturiser, fight acne and blemishes like a zit zapper, reduce the signs of ageing like a serum, enhance radiance like a toner, improve the appearance of your skin’s texture like a primer, hide blemishes like a concealer, make you look incredibly radiant and flawless like a tinted moisturiser, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles like an eye cream, make your skin glow like a highlighter, and finally, in case all that wasn’t enough, protect your complexion from harmful UV rays like a sunscreen. Phew!

While the Australian market is a little slow to catch on, we have six stand-out options available for the taking. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got…

1. Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Protector SPF 15, $13.95

What they say: 1 product; 5 benefits. Yep, this cream hydrates for 24hrs, evens skin tone, corrects blemishes, boosts healthy glow and offers UV Protection SPF 15.

What I say: Of all the BB Creams I’ve tried, I have to say, this one is the most suited to my skin type. It offers a gorgeous glow, subtly covers imperfections, and definitely keeps my skin feeling nicely moist throughout the day. I have combination skin, so it works for me, but if you have an overly oily complexion, it might not be mattifying enough for you. It’s also said to be suited to sensitive skin, too.

2. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream, $54.95

What they say: Another 5-in-1 product, this BB Cream is all about creating a just-gone-for-a-run glow. They say it enhances skin’s luminosity with emollients and optical pearl pigments and gives skin a glowing, ethereal look.

What I say: As an avid Smashbox fan already, I think this is a great option for all skin types (yep – oily, sensitive, dry and normal) as it’s fragrance-free, derm-approved, and won’t cause breakouts.


3. L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique BB Cream, $26.95

What they say: Offering 24 hours of hydration, this cream promises the scientific combination of makeup and skincare, to create a perfect nude complexion. Think: glowing skin with improved texture (and sun protection) all at the same time.

What I say: The fact that is goes on a white-y colour and then changes to match your skintone blows my mind a little bit. What can I say? I’m a sucker for novelty. The finish is a little more matte than the others, so would be ideal for girls with oilier skin types, but upon application, my skin does look more radiant and the hydration factor is noticeable.

4. Biotherm White D-Tox Translu.Cell BB Cream, $49

What they say: Clinical tests on Asian skin have shown immediate coverage against hyper pigmentation, redness, and shine reduction. They’ve also shown increased transparency and visibly brighter skin after just one week. This BB Cream is said to instantly correct, moisturise for 24 hours, have a whitening and anti-dark spot action, and protect from the sun.

What I say: If you have concerns with pigmentation this is a really great option for covering dark spots, as well as treating them. Again, with the shine reduction element, this BB Cream is great for oilier skin types and goes on easily without feeling sticky, tight, or overly powdery.


5. Alex Cosmetic Organic BB Cream, $79.80

What they say: After discovering the benefits of BB Cream on patients who had undergone their Herbal Aktiv Peel® treatments (a natural skin resurfacing peel using herbs), Alex Cosmetic set about launching the first-ever BB Cream as a stand-alone product over 50 years ago. This version, which is the latest addition to their BB team, combines the usual anti-bacterial, intense hydration and anti-ageing benefits with natural ingredients.

What I say: You have to give props to the oldest BB Cream on the market. Personally, I love the idea of getting a product that’s just as effective as the original, but with the added bonus of natural and organic ingredients. It’s a win/win in my eyes. While it may not have as many bells and whistles as some of the up-and-coming stars, this cream’s ability to repair the skin, even out your skin tone and provide light coverage is great for women looking for something no-fuss, effective, and of course, chemical-free. Sensitive-skinned Primpers, take note.


6. Dior Hydra Life BB Creme, $85 (on sale 19th of April)

What they say: The perfect complexion care for young women in search of freshness, lightness and luminosity in just one step.

What I say: If you’ve tried a BB Cream in Asia before, this formula will feel quite familiar. The BB Creams there seem to be a little thicker, which allows for greater coverage – a bonus if you want to cover imperfections. As a result, you need to warm the product in your fingers and massage into the skin. That way, it melts into your complexion rather than sit on top.

Tell me Primpers…

What do you think of these BB Creams?

Do any of them take your fancy?


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  • Posted by: Ellie101 Enthusiast // Wed, 4 April 2012 10:10am

    I’m wearing the Garnier BB cream at the moment and I freaking love. The price certainly increases it’s appeal, especially because I use it as an everyday staple.

  • Posted by: Coconal Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 10:55am

    I love BB creams, but they don’t seem to suit my skin, unfortunately, as I always break out pretty badly after trying it.

    I tried Garnier and it broke me out so badly I had to chuck it out.

    It took me months to recover and when I did, I tried Smashbox and I loved it…it made my skin look terrific…until I broke out again. :(
    I will have to let my skin recover for a bit and then give the Smashbox a second try! It’s such a shame as it’s a gorgeous product!

  • Posted by: louweeez Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 11:27am

    I wanted to try the Garnier one but it’s only 15spf and not even broadspectrum…

    A friend brought one back from Korea for me and it is really good, it comes out of the tube really dark but as you smooth it over your skin it adjusts. I have fair skin and my bestie has dark olive skin, I tried it on both of us and it perfectly adjusted… blew our minds. Legere BB Water Drop Shiny Pearl…

  • Posted by: Mandy3 // Wed, 4 April 2012 11:35am

    its not in the top 6 but i LOVE Dr Schrammek BB Cream! They have 3 different colours and i use it everyday in the Honey, makes my skin glow :)

  • Posted by: Ellie101 Enthusiast // Wed, 4 April 2012 11:51am

    @Louweeez, I still use my Neutrogena Ultra Sheer underneath my Garnier BB cream. I don’t find that doubling up on the moisturiser leaves my greasy or anything, but I get the benefits of a broad spectrum spf and the BB cream. For the price, it’s worth giving it a go!

  • Posted by: swoopingbuzzards Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 12:25pm

    Garnier’s BB cream broke me out too :(
    I’m curious about the biotherm, but $49 is quite a lot… might have to see if I could get a sample or something

  • Posted by: Veronica Supporter // Wed, 4 April 2012 12:37pm

    Totally agree with Ellie-I also use the Garnier BB cream, it gives great coverage and such a lovely glow!

  • Posted by: VivaLaVicki Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 12:37pm

    I currently use the Garnier BB cream but as my face is a little on the oilier side I would love to try out Loreal’s Nude Magique. Consider it added to my shopping list.

  • Posted by: Jessica // Wed, 4 April 2012 12:37pm

    Are there any bb creams that use physical sunscreens rather than chemical? Chemical sunscreens consistently break me out…

  • Posted by: Knyholm Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 12:40pm

    I love them, but after my experience with Garnier BB which made my skin breakout, im a little hesitant in trying others. But they all sound so good…the Loreal one sounds so interesting. And also Clinique and Estee Lauder have launched theirs in Europe so hopefully they will hit OZ soon!

  • Posted by: Rebecca-1314689428 Enthusiast // Wed, 4 April 2012 01:28pm

    I’m currently using the Garnier BB cream which is great, except for the ridiculously strong fragrance. I’d love to try the Smashbox one but it’s bit expensive. Maybe the Loreal will be my next BB cream – I like the idea of the colour adjusting. With such fair skin I find it hard to get a good colour match in tinted moisturisers!

  • Posted by: Ash // Wed, 4 April 2012 01:53pm

    The Garnier BB Cream is amazing on my dry skin. It is moisturising and makes my skin all glowy and nice. I can understand why it’s not great for oily or combination skin.

    This has won heaps of awards too so try it if you have skin on the drier side.

  • Posted by: lovefashionangel Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 02:00pm

    Im looking forwards to the loreal and smashbox, although id definitely love to try out the original korean ones

  • Posted by: caitie // Wed, 4 April 2012 02:33pm

    I am interested in trying the organic Alex BB cream as I am trying to use more natural prodz, concerned about all the chemicals I slather myself in! But it’s pretty pricey. I wonder if I can get a sample somewhere? I also still don’t really get it, like what is it repairing?

  • Posted by: louweeez Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 03:42pm

    Thanks for the advice Ellie101! I currently use Banana Boat ‘Faces’ Trilogy moisturiser and my regular foundation, the point of a BB is to cut out some steps, if the BB isn’t 30spf broadspectrum, there’s no point. The Korean BB is 40+ being that it’s not confined to Australian SPF restrictions.

  • Posted by: Tina-1291133452 Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 03:43pm

    the biotherm sounds like the one for me! i have used the garnier one and it didnt break me out, and i love it, only it just feel so oily :(

  • Posted by: Julia // Wed, 4 April 2012 04:54pm

    I’m yet to try BB Creams because I’m a little confused.

    Do you moisturise like normal and THEN put it on? Or is it enough on it’s own?

    The Loreal looks like it might be for me :)

  • Posted by: strawbsundae Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 05:42pm

    L’oreal’s Nude Magique looks very very interesting! I didn’t even know they came up with a new BB cream!

  • Posted by: frances // Wed, 4 April 2012 06:26pm

    after reading all the positive posts on the loreal base creme i went and bought it @ $29 something. I did not like it at all. It made my skin look pastey, dry, matte and dull. I think it suits a 20’s something skin. I have since given it to a work collegue. If you have a good skin regime and use good products do we need a BB creme…?????

  • Posted by: Princesso // Wed, 4 April 2012 06:55pm

    I am a huge fan of Garnier BB Cream. It’s the perfect consistency to double as a light foundation but with the added effects of a moisturiser and illuminator in one. The only down fall is it does make me a little shiny so I use a light dusting of Youngblood pressed powder over top.
    Also I found the light shade is quite pale and the medium quite dark. Mixing the 2 or using bronzer solves this.

  • Posted by: Makale // Wed, 4 April 2012 08:16pm

    Ive tried the Clinique BB cream, but found it a bit too pale (and I’m fairly light complexion). It was also a bit thick and hard to smooth over the face.

    I’m now using Missha BB, the one for drier skin. It’s a Japanese brand, so it’s been on market for ages. It’s fantastic – around $32 or so I think? It blends well and lasts all day. I’ve replaced my Laura mercier foundation with it, given its coverage. I just set with powder after. My skin has been looking super clear lately too.

  • Posted by: beautybee1 Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 08:43pm

    I’ve tried the Garnier BB cream (a sample anyway) and I thought it was really a lovely cream – rich enough to combat dryness with a good sheer cover.

  • Posted by: Pixie // Wed, 4 April 2012 10:22pm

    I’ve been using a korean brand bb cream for months now , it’s got a thicker consistency and great for covering imperfections.. I bought it at an asian beauty shop in world square george st sydney, must try.

  • Posted by: Jane // Wed, 4 April 2012 10:50pm

    I discovered BB creams a year ago & buy them on the net from Korea. They are absolutely amazing, I’ll never use a foundation again. The only ‘Western’ BB cream I’ve used is the Garnier one which I hate!! It’s consistency is completely different to the many Asian brands I’ve used. The best in my opinion is Missha Perfect Cover which, unlike most BB Creams comes in darker shades for non-Western skins. The mid shade, 23, is the closest match to my skintone I’ve ever found. I buy it off eBay for $16 including delivery but I’d willingly pay 4 times as much because it’s so outstanding.

  • Posted by: meedee Master Fan // Wed, 4 April 2012 11:19pm

    The only one that i have tried is the Garnier one and after all the hype i was disappointed. I loved how it made my skin look as soon as i put it on but after less then an hour my face looked like an oil slick and i ended up breaking out :(

  • Posted by: soMuchPretty Master Fan // Thu, 5 April 2012 11:36am

    I’ve tried a few BB Creams. I’m sensitive, acne prone and oily in the t-zone.

    1. Garnier – made me too oily. Mum loves it though!
    2. Mistine BB Wonder Cream – not bad. Oil control is better but not the best.
    3. Missha Perfect Cover – performs similarly to the Mistine BB Cream. The shade match is better for me.
    4. Mentholatum Silky BB Cream – ding ding ding! Winner. This provides light-medium coverage and controls oil without feeling drying. Love it!

  • Posted by: Jensta Master Fan // Thu, 5 April 2012 12:56pm

    I just dont get enough coverage from any of these are you meant to wear concealer over the top? My skin is a little on the darker side and they seem to be for fair or medium skin tones……

  • Posted by: glossed Master Fan // Fri, 6 April 2012 08:14am

    I’ve tried the Garnier and Too Faced, but both broke me out and made me look greasy! Not a fan, although I may have to give these other ones a go!

  • Posted by: Bantam Master Fan // Sat, 7 April 2012 06:26am

    I love Lancome’s TM from their Hydrazen range. Keen to try the Dior one though – Dior has such luxe products.

  • Posted by: Karen-1298334769 Master Fan // Sat, 7 April 2012 11:33pm

    i like the Garnier one. Must try soon.

  • Posted by: Julieow Master Fan // Mon, 9 April 2012 02:20pm

    Have to agree re the Garnier, it really is one of the best ( I even got to post a video review from my blog on their site – my only ever ,’take care , Garnier’ moment I’ll have in life!)

    But love the idea of the Alex Organics one- I’ve been hunting for a natural one as the fragrance and chemicals in Garnier does freak me a little for everyday use.

    PS Loving the natural/organic recs lately Primped – keep em coming x x

  • Posted by: Julieow Master Fan // Mon, 9 April 2012 02:22pm

    Ps the Biotherm was a bit chalky looking for me and Im a fair bear….

  • Posted by: Becca Master Fan // Tue, 10 April 2012 01:43pm

    I love the Garnier BB cream, it’s great but makes my face shiny in photos.

  • Posted by: p3charmed Master Fan // Tue, 10 April 2012 02:59pm

    I have the garnier one and i love really is five steps in one and perfect for everyday wear and for my job, where makeup is not allowed.the only negative thing i have to say about it is it’s not quite matte enough for my skin, so i love the sound of the loreal one.the smashbox and dior ones sound nice too, if a bit pricey. besides mascara, lipgloss/stick/balm and perfume, this has got to be the best beauty invention ever xx

  • Posted by: Kate // Wed, 11 April 2012 08:49am

    I love the BB Cream by Garnier in the darker shade. It is a bit darker than my skin but just gives me a bit of a tan look :)
    As for SPF 15, unless you are out in the sun all day long, it’s actually been found that alot, ALOT of australians are vitamin D deficient, so I am happy with spf 15.

    I like to mix a little of this BB cream with a regular moisturiser, so you could add spf 30+ to it if you wanted to.

  • Posted by: Klizia Supporter // Wed, 11 April 2012 12:33pm

    I have tried the Garnier BB cream and it is ok, it turns pretty dewy (=oily) through the day, and the coverage is veryyyy sheer, so not really my pick, but I like to wear it under a mineral powder on days off.

    I have tried a sample of THE FACE SHOP BB cream, I think it’s a Korean/Singaporean brand, the one in the purple tube. It is a bit thicker than the Garnier one, but still feels like nothing, the coverage and lasting power are amazing, and it stays matte. The sachet says SPF37. Might be the one Pixie is talking about too…

  • Posted by: Kellie // Wed, 11 April 2012 12:46pm

    I’ve just recently starting using the L’Oreal BB Cream and I really like it. It was a bit weird at first that it comes out of the tube white! However, it blends straight in and is a great colour for me. It’s almost like a really light foundation (that’s how I see the coverage from it). I can wear it, a tiny bit of concealer on any blemishes and I’m good to go. I have previously tried the Garner one and it was ok in that it gave my skin quite a radiant look although I felt it was a little too dark for my skin colour. Price wise the Garnier is a win for those that really like the product.

  • Posted by: DebstarDesigns Master Fan // Wed, 11 April 2012 08:21pm

    Thanks for explaining what the BB stands for. As a kid, my brother called me BB, which at the time stood for Buffalo Butt. I really like the sound of the L’Oreal version, might have to check it out :)

  • Posted by: Evanescencessy Devotee // Fri, 13 April 2012 12:30pm

    I have not tried many BB creams but am interested in trying more, esp some Asian brands which seems to have started the BB craze.

  • Posted by: Crystal // Mon, 16 April 2012 07:02pm

    Garnier products seem to never really jazz with my skin, I would love to know where to buy the Alex organics BB cream. I can’t go wrong with the more natural side of makeup! Since using various natural cosmetics, or close to- Burts Bees, Nude, Yes to Carrots ect. No More Breakouts! I know they can cost more, but paying 5-40$ more for toxin free, clear skin is fine by me :)

  • Posted by: Krystal // Mon, 23 April 2012 10:18am

    I use the Alex BB Cream – I love that it’s chemical-free and is the original BB cream from 50 years ago. It’s also advertised as a spot treatment – any zits I have come up I can use this on and it conceals them and they’re gone in the day!

    For those people below who couldn’t find where to get it – I got the info from their website

  • Posted by: Jane // Fri, 4 May 2012 01:14pm

    A Korean friend put me onto BB creams a year ago. I’ve never looked back – my eternal quest for the perfect foundation is over! Although BB creams have been all the rage in Asia for at least a decade, they’re only just being discovered in the Western World. The Garnier BB cream is the biggest disappointment to me – I absolutely hate the formulation. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the Asian BB cream – it’s just a tinted moisturiser and a poor one at that. I really urge anyone who is seriously interested in BB creams to try the Asian brands, rather than the poor Western copies. Two excellent brands are Missha Perfect Cover (Shade 23 is good for caucasian skins) and Skin79 – both are available on eBay for around $12 a tube. Seriously, don’t bother with any of the Smashbox/Loreal/Estee Lauder ones – they aren’t true BB creams and you are wasting your money. Asian BB creams are just amazing – the slip and coverage is unlike any other foundation I’ve used. I’m completely sold on them. I’ve thrown away my drawer full of disappointing foundations and exclusively use my Asian BB creams now and my skin has never looked better.

  • Posted by: Catherine-1336107829 Enthusiast // Fri, 18 May 2012 10:51am

    I use the Garnier BB cream, and not only is it affordable, but its SPF15, and it adds a little glow. I wear it on its own with a little creme blush on days when I don’t want to slap on foundation and concealer (it works a treat at hiding spots and redness, and smoothing out uneven skintone). I love it!

  • Posted by: InHimITrust104 // Fri, 22 June 2012 10:08am

    I am an African American 61 y/o who is very interested in natural cosmetics. I just purchased Premium BORNSKIN
    B*B Cream Special Blemish Balm W/O type and a Missha brand. THE BORNSKIN Cream has a darker tint than Missha but I would like a B*B cream that is closer to my skin tone which is a caramel skin tone. Is there anyone who has used the PREMIUM BORNSKIN B*B Blemish Balm and if so can anyone tell me who to use either product i,e, as a concealer and blemish cover, foundation and can I cover with a mineral powder since they are a little too light for my skin tone? Need advise from anyone….

  • Posted by: Jen // Fri, 6 July 2012 03:09pm

    The best BB creams are those from the Korean beauty shops – Missha, Skin79, Hanskin, etc. All those copycats by the brand name products such as Dior are just trying to rip you off. Garnier is OK as the price is reasonable, if your skin is not too oily.

  • Posted by: Laura // Wed, 22 August 2012 01:35am

    Definitely go for Asian BB creams. I’ve tried Skin79, Missha, Lioele, BRTC and a few American brands. Don’t buy from eBay because some of them are fakes.

    Skin79 orange super bb cream is my favorite. Perfect coverage for natural flawless looking skin, great scent and lasting power.

    BRTC jasmine waters Bb cream is my second favorite. coverage isn’t as nice as Skin79 but the scent is amazing.

    Then comes a tie between Lioele beyond solutions and Missha M perfect cover.

    Dr jardt is pretty good and can be purchased from sephora

    Garner is cheap but it’s nothing more than tinted moisturizer.

    Nars is slightly better but not worth the price hike.

    As for Clinique and smashbox, they’re definitely not worth the price.

    Try for some those Asian brands.

  • Posted by: Emkah // Fri, 14 September 2012 10:40am

    Western fomulation “BB Creams” are not true BB creams at all.

    Buy the Korean ones from ebay. I don’t have the time right now to list all of the brands but I have been using them for years and I assure you that the Garnier is nothing but a tinted moisturiser.

    The precursor to BB cream was a medical grade treatment used on burn victims. It helped the skin repair and also gave some coverage to these people’s skin as they were recovering. Korean soap actresses started to use it and the BB market exploded.

  • Posted by: Rita // Sun, 11 November 2012 01:04pm

    I love Garnier BB cream. My skin feels so much better.

  • Posted by: Tiggy // Mon, 12 November 2012 04:32pm

    I haven’t tried the Dior BB cream but the others are nothing more than tinted moisturizers, not true BB creams at all. I found these ones are really just a good primer before applying my makeup. But Asian BB creams double as a treatment and makeup.

    In my experience I found the Korean BB creams more beneficial. They are reasonably priced and have more skin benefits. SPF and coverage is usually higher, and they fight multiple skin conditions such as acne, scarring, discoloration, existing wrinkles, whitening (uneven skin tone) and protects skin against UV and UB rays.

    I recommend checking out the Skin79, BRTC, and Lioele BB creams :)

  • Posted by: Mary Parau // Mon, 10 December 2012 01:58pm

    I am 40 years old and would very much like a cream that would make me look 25 or so..please I need help.

  • Posted by: diva89 Master Fan // Fri, 14 December 2012 05:42pm

    i never tried a bb cream

  • Posted by: Xara // Wed, 27 February 2013 01:39pm

    I put a tiny bit of the Garnier BB on my hand and the skin there looked nice but I kept smelling perfume. I washed my hands when I realized it was the Garnier but it still smelled!! I can’t imagine putting this on my face!
    I’d like to find a good BB cream with no synthetic fragrance or chemical sunscreens though.

  • Posted by: Katie // Mon, 27 May 2013 09:08am

    I bought Garnier’s BB cream for sensitive skin (fragrance free and non-comedogenic) and I cannot say enough good things about it! It was $10 at Kmart so I was skeptical that something so inexpensive could do all they claim, but it definitely delivers. Certainly not full coverage but I use it as a primer and it is fab! I can actually already see a difference in my skin- fewer irritations and redness and way more hydrated than I would normally be this time of year. Only issue is that I’m very fair and their “light” shade is just a bit dark for me, but it does blend out very well. I’ve heard great things about the Smashbox one too, can’t wait to see if they have a lighter shade available!

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Thu, 18 July 2013 03:25pm

    I have the Garnier BB Cream and I absolutely love it. It’s comfortable to wear and gives a sheer to medium coverage, very natural looking.

  • Posted by: Polly // Thu, 26 September 2013 03:54pm

    I have been using the Diorsnow BB creme and it
    Is great. Although I usually use Nars tinted moisturiser
    which I really like. I found the Dior pretty similar Nars.

  • Posted by: Young ko // Sat, 1 February 2014 06:47am

    Sign me up

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Fri, 2 May 2014 09:00pm

    I love using BB Cream, its so good for evening out skin tone, covers a few flaws.


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