BB Creams We Tried & Liked

The exaggerated crinkling of my eyebrows indicates exasperation.

As you may have deduced from my 2000 word BB Cream exegesis, I have tried dozens of different versions over the past few weeks. This has involved many lunchtime trips to Sephora, many beleaguered publicist friends I have harassed for samples, much slathering of more suspicious products on EIC Jennifer Wright and a blemish or two. I’m not kidding, though, I think I tested every BB Cream available in the states. These are the ones that stuck out.

This little guy was kind of a surprise: product came out of the tube snow white with speckles of grey. Those speckles are actually some sort of science beads that crush and take on the color of one’s skin. Maybe? I don’t know. What I did know was the finish was super mattifying and left my skin feeling really, really soft. Jennifer, actually, stole it off my desk and won’t give it back.

L’Oreal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream, $11, L’Oreal



Sheer-ish; looks dewey and natural. Appropriate for light, everyday wear. Very good on its own, sets spectacularly with powder.

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm, $32, Sephora


Damn! Have you guys noticed how expensive all of these are? Add $10 to the brand’s equivalent foundation and that’s how they price their BB. Growing up, Clinique was always an accessible brand (even if I had to save up for those lipsticks in high school), so I was surprised to see their BB top out near $40. That said, I really liked the soft, opalescent sheen it gave my fair skin. As for that price, it’s worth noting the tiniest amount will cover your entire face.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream, $37, Clinique

Moisturizing and longwearing, two things I understand to be in high demand. Offers a subtle sheen–”youthful glow” in makeup parlance–that looks really great in natural light and, especially, photos. Won’t do if you need heavy coverage, great if you just want to correct skintone.

Stila Stay All Day 10-In-1 HD Beauty Balm, $38, Sephora

Really, really impressed with this stuff. Strikes me as a pretty perfect “quintessential” BB: the coverage is more like a veil, it corrects without covering your skin. It also has an admirably higher-than-average SPF of 35. A favorite of all the BBs I tried (by far) and something I could definitely see myself using every day. Highly recommended. 

Bobbi Brown SPF 35 BB Cream, $42, Bobbi Brown

I noticed that as the price point ticked up, so did coverage. Dior did a nice job of correcting my skin tone without muting it and provided that faintly shimmery dewiness everyone seems to be after. It even looked good under the shitty lights at Sephora, which is a real testament.

Christian Dior Hydra Life BB Creme, $56, Sephora

Probably the best traditional “coverage” in terms of the BB Creams I tried, this one really felt like a ‘light foundation.’ It has a very lovely, supple and natural finish and it’s moisturizing. I’m not crazy about fragrances in my makeup, but if that doesn’t bother you, this stuff is pretty magical (and better be, at that price). Best I tried in the super expensive category.

Lancome Rénergie Éclat Multi Lift, $75, Lancome

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    • Jen

      Boscia’s BB Cream is AMAZING!

      I’ve been using for about a year, and I LOVE it. I have fewer zits (ugh zits at 28 are SO FUN!). It makes my skin look more… more awesome?! It only comes in one shade, so that blows, but it self-adjusts/blends really well. I throw a little loose powder on over it on my T-Zone, and waa la… I look healthier all day.


      • Katie

        See, I usually love Boscia but their BB cream went on my face like thick clay and I had to work really hard to spread it around. Once I finally got it in evenly, it still looked like it was *sitting* on top of my face. Granted, like Ashley says up there, the lighting in Sephora SUCKS.

      • Kate

        Voilà! Look at that!

    • LCT

      Oo! Has anyone tried Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB yet? That’s the one I’ve got my eye on.

      • Ashley Cardiff

        I did! I didn’t think it was as good as others in its price point, though, and it turned me a little bit grey.

    • Tara

      You’ve pretty much sold me on the Bobbi Brown one, although for right now my poor self will have to stick with my trusty Garnier version! My last tube lasted almost 6 months…quite a steal at $12.

    • Alle C

      Boscia makes a really great primer. I have some acne scarring (WHAT UP, FORMER MODELLING CAREER) and this primer really helps hide it until I bite the bullet and get that shit lasered off by a plastic surgeon (or whatever it is they do).

      But! My favourite BB cream is by Smashbox. A bunch of shades, nice coverage, doesn’t feel thick or, alternately, runny and gross–just like my own skin, only nicer. Highly recommended by this stranger on the internet!

    • Judith

      Great post! I’ve been wondering what the big hype was about and now I know that sadly, I won’t be using them. See, I have an allergy to chemical sunblocks so it really limits all the products I can use since almost everything has sunscreen. boo!

      • Kathy

        Try one that has a physical sunblock (ie titanium dioxide) they are better than chemicals anyway. Maybelline has a BB with just that – worth a try!

    • Jamie Peck

      I refuse to learn what this is, but I am shocked you showed so much of your face in this photo. Might as well just do Playboy now.

    • Kimberly @ Twen-Teen

      I generally don’t like to wear foundation or foundation-y products, but I tried a sample of the L’Oreal BB cream from a magazine and I was impressed, so I bought some. How do they do that — it changes to the color of my skin!

    • Kasie

      The description of this stuff…that it comes out of the tube grey with dark flecks in it – and transitions to your skin tone. Well, it’s reminiscent of Almay Smart Shade foundation — the one Kate Hudson was the spokeswoman for.

      Has anyone here used Origins VitaZing? It’s touted as a moisturizer that gives you a “glow” — but it sounds suspiciously like the descriptions of a BB cream. That said, I’ve used (and liked) Origins product, so for a smaller price, I’d consider buying a Loreal or Garnier version!


    • Kathy

      So far I’ve tried Maybelline (ok) Garnier (returned it – the fragrance was too much and the coverage was so so) So far my favorite is Neutrogena!! I will definitely try Loreal, and maybe Bobbi Brown.

    • Nora

      Tried the l’oreal one and love it so far. Magic science beads!

    • Joni

      You need to get on the Smashbox BB cream, but only if you love your face.