November 3, 2016 Makeup.com Face

What’s the Difference Between BB Cream & Foundation?

There’s CC cream, there’s BB cream, there’s even DD cream—basically, it won’t be long before there’s a cream for every letter in the alphabet. Not that we’re complaining—the more products to geek out over, the better, but sometimes it’s a lot to wrap your head around. What exactly does a BB cream do? And how’s it different from foundation? Read below because we’ve got your answers.


foundation and bb cream


What’s BB Cream?

The BB in BB cream stands for blemish balm or beauty balm. It works by providing sheer-to-medium coverage, ideal for those days when you’re a little rosier than you’d like to be. Or for the days you’d prefer more of a sheer, natural glow. But the real reason we’re losing it over BB cream? Because it’s not just coverage. The product also provides skin care benefits—anything from SPF to antioxidants, vitamins, hydration, shine-control, brightening powers and more.

And yes, there are products like Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector that provide all the above.

bb cream


But wait. How’s BB Cream different from Foundation?

If you’re looking for an all-in-one coverage option that hydrates skin and helps blur imperfections, BB cream is your best pick—especially for those with sensitive skin. Like foundation, it has a variety of benefits but is lighter in feel and focuses on a skin-first approach. The formulas typically have less of a shade range (Fair/Light, Light/Medium, Medium/Deep), as they focus more on hydrating, illuminating, mattifying or protecting skin versus focusing on coverage. Many formulas even transform to your skin shade on contact. Check out some of our favorite options below!


Hydrating BB Cream: L’Oréal Paris
Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

Mattifying BB Cream: La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur

Blemish-Fighting BB Cream: Maybelline Dream Pure BB

Illuminating BB Cream: L’Oréal Paris Youth Code Skin Illuminator


If coverage is top of mind, foundation comes in a wider variety of shades, finishes and textures—from dewy to matte, lightweight to full coverage, and even liquid or powder formulas.


Dewy-Finish Foundation: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Glow Foundation

Matte-Finish Foundation: YSL Fusion Ink Foundation

Lightweight Foundation: Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow

Full-Coverage Foundation: NYX Professional Makeup Invincible Fullest Coverage Foundation


If you’re looking for the perfect shade Urban Decay Naked Skin comes in 18 shades to match warm, neutral, pink or golden undertones and even comes with a Shade Finding Guide.

natural foundation


Ugh, pimples. Help! 

If you’re mostly concerned about covering up your spots, you might want to go for foundation. Like we said earlier—coverage is foundation’s game. That being said, the upside to some BB creams is that you can find ones that help treat your skin while it hides the bumps. For the acne-prone, an oil-free BB cream like Garnier SkinActiv Miracle Perfector BB Cream Oil-Free will help nourish your skin while soothing redness. And they said “too good to be true” was a cliche.


And if I plan on catching some rays?

You know what we’re going to say—SPF, SPF, SPF. While some foundations do contain SPF, BB creams typically offer more protection. Kiehl’s Actively Correcting and Beautifying with SPF 50 helps fight future sun damage, all while concealing imperfections. It’s also paraben free, silicone free and fragrance free for those with sensitive skin. Now that’s hard to beat.


But what if I have dry skin?

If your skin is shouting out for water, give it what it needs with a hydrating BB cream. The Lancôme Bienfait Teinté BB Cream is like giving your skin a big glass of H2O—with the added benefit of antioxidants, vitamins, SPF and natural, even coverage.

beauty balm


If you have dry skin but would still prefer a little extra coverage, a formula like Giorgio Armani Maestro—inspired by the thinnest fabric in the world, Maestro gives off a no-makeup feel, leaving behind naturally glowy skin. No flakes here!

maestro foundation


Ok, I think I get it. Can I have a summary?

Whether you choose BB cream or foundation is going to depend on your skin’s needs. If you need a multitasking product and prefer lightweight coverage, get yourself some BB cream. If you’re worried about coverage and options, go for a foundation in your exact shade. Now blend on!


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What type of BB cream or foundation do you use daily? Let us know in the comments below! 

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