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Frugie explains BB creams

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“Hey Rebecca, what’s a BB cream and how do I use it and why do I need one?”

That’s a great question. Let me answer-

A BB cream, or Beauty Balm, or Blemish Balm, is a moisturizer with SPF that was formulated in Asia to perfect complexions. Women in Asia want perfect, porcelain skin. So these creams improve skin tone and texture and have anti-aging ingredients, but also cover imperfections.

So which to choose? EVERY brand out there has a BB cream. From high end department stores, to your drug store selection- there’s a BB cream for you.

A couple things to know-

Shades are general, so not every shade or brand works for every body. Some are too white, some are too orange.

It can be used instead of makeup if you like a natural, buildable coverage.

They make great primers to use before foundation.

Yes, they’re a moisturizer but don’t wear them to bed, they will mess up your pillow cases and SPF isn’t very good to wear at night anyway.

Let’s get started.

Here I am before and after I applied BB Cream.

I’m wearing Hanskin in Natural that can be found at Beautybar.com


Drugstore brands to try-

Garnier– This comes in lighter shades and works well with pale complexions. I like the consistency, coverage and if you like a dewy finish, this is a good one.

L’oreal– They are making several. There’s Magic Skin BB cream, Youth Code BB cream and Age Perfect BB cream.

I’ve only tried the Magic Skin BB cream. I admit, this was a little orangey for me. It has a dryer consistency so if you are a little darker, and tend to be oily, this could be for you.

Maybelline makes one called Dream Fresh BB cream. This one is also a little orangey. I think it’s great for a younger complexion that’s more medium complected.

Revlon– Photo Ready BB Cream- I liked this one, but found others to have better coverage. I like thicker, more opaque creams, so this didn’t do it for me. If you like natural, sheer tint- you’ll like this. Also, the undertones are neutral, so I think most fair complexions can do this one.

Department Store brands-

Smashbox Camera Ready- good stuff, good coverage, neutral/yellow undertones. A little more drying on my skin. (Sephora.com)

Hanskin BB cream– This one is my favorite. Emollient, lots of coverage and the right shade. (Beautybar.com)

Shiseido – Anessa face sunscreen SPF 50- I love the high SPF on this, it’s for very fair complexions, but I found it dried out my skin a little. (Sasa.com)

Dr. Ci Labo– Perfect Cream Light- This one is a great sunblock, neutral shade and leaves my skin dewy. My second favorite.

BRTC Jasmine Water BB Cream- Light, smells like jasmine and is great for normal skin. Lots of coverage from this one, but not thick feeling. My daughter wears this to school for sun protection and to cover her freckles. (Becleo.com)

If you’re feeling adventurous, check out that Sasa.com website. Products come from Japan and they have thousands of BB creams to choose from. Or don’t, if you will get overwhelmed!

Every major line, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Dior, Bobbi Brown… makes a BB cream. Ask for a sample at Nordstrom. Or go to Sephora and ask for samples there. There’s tons to try.

The drug store brands are cheaper, but you run the risk of the shade or texture not being just right. Of course, that happens with any drug store product. It’s kind of hit or miss.

Also, don’t be too hung up on the color if you’re using it before foundation. It won’t matter if it’s too light anyway. Unless you’re using it alone, do you really need to match.


I really do love them.

And don’t worry, the BB cream bandwagon will soon be replaced by something else sooner or later. So if you miss this train, another one will pull in the station eventually!


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  1. Alyssa Lewis says:

    Which brand did you use in your picture?

    • oops, sorry, just updated now. It’s the Hanskin one from beautybar.com It’s on back order I noticed. I guess lots of folks like it!

  2. Well, I am obviously behind the times because I had no idea what BB creams were. But I am thrilled because this is exactly what I have been wanting, a cross between a lotion and a foundation. Thank you, really, I am so excited! I will be heading down to the drugstore this weekend!

  3. I am been trying to figure out what is the best one and you broke this down nicely. Thanks seriously!! 🙂

  4. Well look at you, Frugie, doing your part to help the masses stay pretty! Thanks hot mama! I have been using Smashbox and wasn’t sure I was crazy about it. I’ll have to check some of the others out.

  5. An excuse to buy some new makeup? Don’t mind if I do…

  6. Thanks for breaking down the BB cream! My skin needs this in the worst way.

  7. What shade from Hanskin R? Your pic looks really good- your coverage is great, and you and I would wear the same shade… 😉