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