BB Cream Comparison- Extensive & Info Heavy!

I’ve been on the search for a perfect BB cream for summer and have tried every one under the sun I can get my hands on lately. My exhaustive search is coming to an end and I wanted to share my findings with you. Just for reference, I have combination skin that is a little on the drier side most of the time. I am looking for something with lighter coverage for summer, but that still evens out my skin tone, adds moisture, and gives me a bit of coverage. I like the idea of a BB cream because they’re trendy, have lots of good-for-you ingredients, and light coverage. 
If you want the short version, scroll to the bottom and I’ve summarized it…otherwise read on for a longer and more detailed version…

1. Boscia
Boscia has 2 BB creams. B.B. Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 27 PA++ is self adjusting and comes in one shade. When products come in just one shade, I generally find that they don’t work for me because the shade tends to be towards medium and I am light. The other BB cream they have is BB Cream Light Broad Spectrum SPF 27 PA++ which is what I’m wearing above. I find this to be thicker and dry rather quickly. The coverage is a little fuller than what I would have expected out of a BB cream- it’s about medium coverage. I didn’t need a setting powder with this one- it added moisture and gave my skin a dewy look, but dried pretty well without being TOO dewy, so no powder needed.
This is one of the natural ones. I love the way it feels on my skin and the coverage it provides. I am thrilled that it contains SPF 27, because sun protection is important, especially in the summer months. I tried this with and without moisturizer, and found that I didn’t really need to use one with it. All around a win! The ladies at Sephora said that this and the Tarte BB cream were a tie in terms of their favorite.

2. Atopalm
Atopalm‘s products are so unique that they have their MLE technology patented. MLE is an ingredient that mimics the skin’s natural lipids in order to restore its protective moisture barrier, resulting in ideal hydration. It then protects the skin with arbutin and vitamin E, two gentle antioxidants that help to neutralize age-accelerating free radicals, as well as broad-spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen. Finally, it evens and brightens the skin’s tone with mineral color, leaving the face looking fresh and flawless.

What I liked most about this was that it was great for dry skin like mine. It provided just enough moisture that I felt my skin was given hydration but not too greasy. I achieved light coverage with this, but it could be built up to medium coverage if you layered it. I wear the shade light, out of their two shade range. I wore it with and without a setting powder and it fared well both ways. I think in the winter I will try wearing this for moisturizer and layering my foundation over top of it for fuller coverage. I love that it has SPF, because what’s a BB cream without sun protection?

3. Amarte

In #3, I am wearing Amarte’s Natural Finish BB Cream Light Tint. It contains SPF 36 and leans towards a more medium coverage finish. For me, it dried almost completely matte and was easily applied with fingers. Because of the finish, I didn’t find a need for a setting powder. There are two shades- light and natural, of which I was wearing the light. I found it to be a tad off from my NC20 skin this time of year, but in the summer it would probably be perfect. I was able to easily blend it on my jawline so it wasn’t obvious that the color was a bit off. The pigment is easy to build up by applying more layers and the formula was pretty moisturizing. Overall, it was a win.
A couple things that are unique about this formula and worth mentioning- the product contains something called “fine pigment dispersion” which is what creates the flawless finish they rave about. It is also rich in argan and macadamia oils, shea butter and caviar extract, which together, is what creates the moisturizing experience of this product. I also like the high SPF count- anything less than SPF 30 doesn’t really do much in terms of sun protection, but this BB cream also has two ‘best in class’ sunscreen ingredients- titanium dioxide and ethyhexyl methoxycinnamate. It also contains soothing components, none of which I’ve heard of except for aloe (which I love). The price is also pretty steep- $80 for 1.4 oz. That’s a pretty high price point considering it’s only available online right now so you won’t be able to try it in advance. Although, people rave about Korean BB creams being the best, and I do admit that this one is pretty wonderful. 

4. Tarte
Tarte has 3 BB products- they have their Amazonian clay BB tinted moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen (which they recently reformulated), Amazonian clay BB illuminating moisturizer, and their BB tinted treatment primer. What I am wearing in #4 is the BB tinted treatment primer.

Before I start, let me explain something- when I was doing research for this BB cream article, I stopped into Ulta to exchange my tinted moisturizer, because I got the wrong color when I bought it (I got Agent 06 which is for yellow undertones- it looked bad on me). They didn’t have that formulation anymore which confused me and the salesperson. But wait…they do have the exact same product on the shelves now, just repackaged. Instead of being called just plain “tinted moisturizer” it was called BB tinted moisturizer SPF 20. They actually stopped selling their tinted moisturizer, and renamed it and repackaged it to be a BB cream. On their website on the BB cream’s page, they also say “*please note that not all shades are available in new packaging, but formula is the same” and they refer to the old shades in their drop down menu. So don’t be fooled into thinking this is something new and exciting- it’s the old tinted moisturizer, just now they call it BB cream.

Ok…so on to the BB tinted treatment primer! It claims to work as a primer, moisturizer, light foundation, anti-aging treatment and sunscreen. The SPF on this one is 30 so that’s great. I found it to be moisturizing for sure, but because it also works as a primer, it has a lot of slip to it and the formula is quite thin. It is feather light and my skin feels like a baby after using this. It honestly feels like I’m wearing no makeup. It has very little to no coverage on me.

The website boasts light to medium buildable coverage that helps even skin tone and conceals discoloration, acne and other skin imperfections. It also is supposed to diffuse light and minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pores while improving skin luminosity. In the summer, if you have great looking skin already and and don’t really need to do much besides give a minute amount of coverage to your skin, you’ll probably like this. They do market this as a primer- not a BB cream or foundation- because it’s not even listed by the other BB creams on their site. I would definitely need to set this with a powder because by itself it is too sheer and dewy on me.

5. The Body Shop
The Body Shop has three shades in their BB cream, and I wear the light. It’s called an All-In-One BB Cream. This one is funky and I don’t like it. Can you see my cheek in #5? It’s kind of streaky and patchy. I blame this on the “pigment-filled capsules” that burst when applied to the skin and adapt to your perfect skin color. I hate products that do this. This product applies white out of the tube and as you rub it in it adjusts. What’s the point though? It comes in 3 shades anyways, so there shouldn’t be any self-adjusting. It’s light, medium, or dark already! Because I couldn’t really see the pigment until after it developed, I did a terrible job rubbing it in. 
All they really say about their product on their website is that it adapts to your skin tone, provides light to medium coverage, even finish, 24-hour hydration, and non clogging. It didn’t clog my skin, it hydrated, and provided light, patchy finish that was uneven. Fail. Also, no SPF. Why do they call themselves a BB cream? That’s supposed to mean that there are plethora of good for your skin ingredients like SPF and stuff.
This is one of their newer products that JUST came out, so I’m guessing they wanted to hop on the BB cream bandwagon but didn’t really do the legwork coming out with a quality product.

6. Dr. Brandt
dr. Brandt BB matte with signature SHINERASE is what I’m wearing in #6. Although I look like I have a bit of redness going on, this was actually one of my favorite BB creams that I tried.  There are 2 shades, and I wear the light to medium shade. It actually blended in great with my natural skintone, surprisingly, since I normally wouldn’t wear something with medium in its name. Their site says it is ideal for oily/combination skin, blemish prone, and sensitive skin types. It also has SPF 30. 
I’m not oily, but something like this is perfect for the summer. When it’s hot and humid, even though I don’t have an oily skin type, I sweat and my face gets slick. One of my favorite tricks in the summer is to wear an acne foundation or an oily skin foundation, because it whisks away any extra moisture that I have. In this picture, the product is gathering a little above my lip and on the side of my forehead. You really have to work quickly with this product because it dries very fast. I would suggest rather than dotting this everywhere and then blending it in, to dot and blend as you go. That is also why I look a little red. I was rubbing the product in and it was drying faster than I could spread it, so I made my nose a little red trying to blend out despite the product being dried. I would also wear a separate moisturizer with this, but like I said, I’m on the dry side. If you’re drier like me this could get patchy quickly if you don’t add moisturizer first. The coverage is very buildable, and I would say is medium. I don’t need a setting powder with this formula. This would be a great no makeup makeup.
7. Estée Lauder
Estée Lauder’s Day Wear BB Cream smells like fresh cucumbers (just like the Day Wear Cream) and provides medium, buildable coverage. It comes in light and medium, and I wear the light. There’s SPF 35 and antioxidants, so I like the good for you ingredients. This is a bit thicker in my opinion, so I need more of it than I would expect to be able to spread it. This is the BB Cream I wore all last summer, and I still have some left. 
Estée Lauder is a pretty standout brand for me, with high quality products. I like the texture of this on my dry skin, and find that when I apply a lot of it, I can get the moisture I need and the coverage I need. 
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Short version:
Looking for a natural BB cream? Try Boscia, tarte, or The Body Shop
Have oily skin and need a great mattifying option? Try dr. Brandt
Need a lot of moisture? Go for Atopalm or Estée Lauder
Want buildable coverage? If you want a fuller coverage, try regular foundation. Or try Amarte or Boscia BB creams, which I found to have the most buildable formulas.
Just want a makeup primer with the benefits of a BB cream? Try tarte.
When do I wear BB cream? BB cream is mostly for those wanting sheer to light coverage, so works well for the summer months when most people opt for less makeup. 
Want lighter coverage but don’t want to buy a new makeup product? Try mixing your regular moisturizer with your favorite foundation. 

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*This review contains a variety of products sent from PR companies, purchased on my own, or made from samples at Sephora. It took me over 10 hours to try them all, take pictures, test them out, and write this. My opinion is definitely not altered or biased between the samples I paid for or got for free!

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  1. 4.22.13

    I like #3.

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