BB cream is a product so synonymous with the beauty industry these days that very few people even question its presence on counters or in makeup wardrobes. It’s no surprise, though, that many don’t actually know what it stands for or why it’s such a beneficial product to add into a skincare and makeup routine. Often, when you talk about the benefits of BB cream, it seems too good to be true.

Put simply, BB cream is a product that combines hydration, sun protection and a base layer of colour (amongst many other benefits!) into one smooth, easy to use power product.

Part skincare and part makeup, BB cream has been so popular since its invention in the mid-20th century, it’s spawned other alliteration-fronted products: CC cream (Colour Correcting cream, usually designed to address issues like redness or sallowness) and, most recently, DD cream (Dynamic Do-All cream, created by Julep that’s touted as a BB/CC cream hybrid). That’s influence, wouldn’t you say?

Not all BB creams are considered equal. In this guide, we’ll explore:

  • The history behind this must-have skincare-makeup hybrid
  • What a BB cream really is (and what you can expect from yours!)
  • How to choose the product that’s right for you
  • How to add BB cream into your routine

Understanding these different facets of what makes BB Cream so unique is the key to having the best possible experience when you add it into your beauty routine.

What’s the history of BB cream?

The first iteration of a BB cream was developed about 70 years ago, in the 1950s, by a German dermatologist, Christine Schrammek, M.D.. He created this version of BB cream for patients to use after they had finished dermal treatments such as skin peels, laser treatments and facials. BB stands for Blemish Balm and was designed with these patients in mind to help soothe skin, while also hiding any redness or dryness that might be produced by the process.

Thirty years after it was created, BB cream found its way into the Asian marketplace and became an almost instant sensation. Most Asian women at the time reportedly went through seven or more different steps in her skincare routine to help keep her skin smooth, hydrated and generally taken care of. The introduction of BB cream represented a significant reduction in time spent overall for these women. Korean celebrities began crediting BB cream for their flawless skin, calling it a “miracle cream,” which only enhanced its success mainstream.

By the time spring 2011 rolled around, BB cream was making its way from South Korean markets onto shelves all across the United States, with Garnier being the first brand to harness the power of BB cream and tailor it for American consumers. From there, the sky was the limit on what could be achieved with this product.

What is a BB cream?

As quickly as it was conceived, BB cream became known for its ability to function as a multi-purpose solution to skincare and base colour combined. The secret to its success lies in exactly how many different skin and makeup concerns it tackles. Depending on the BB cream you choose, the benefits may vary, but generally speaking BB creams cover the following:


Most BB creams contain some level of anti-aging ingredient (or ingredients!) within them – like peptides or antioxidants A, C, or E – to help give your skin a gentle nudge towards regeneration every time you use it.


Many people have a favourite reason for using BB creams and its ability to work as a moisturiser is nearly always among the top reasons. Why? The simple addition of powerhouse moisturisers like hyaluronic acid or glycerine are nearly always present and work to soothe dry skin and help get rid of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Even skin tone

A lot of BB creams also help to even out your skin tone thanks to ingredients like liquorice and arbutin. This doesn’t just mean they help solely on the surface, but deep within to help create lasting changes.

Luminous finish

Most BB creams contain light-reflecting agents to easily bring out a natural radiance from your skin. This addition helps deliver on the dewy, fresh skin promise of most coverage makeup.


A safe bet within a BB cream is silicone-based ingredients that help to smooth out any dips and imperfections in the skin in the same way that a primer would. BB creams are, of course, tinted and are designed to be worn alone or with makeup and this feature helps ensure a flawless finish.

SPF protection

Yet another benefit to keep in mind when you’re making up your mind regarding BB cream is that it almost always comes with UV ray protection. You won’t need to slather on sunscreen every day when your moisturiser turned foundation turned wrinkle reducer turned primer is also helping to protect you from harm.

Which product is right for you?

The best way to choose which BB cream is right for you, is first to consider your skin type. Because BB cream has plenty of skincare attributes, it makes sense to select one that meets the benefits you’re looking for. Garnier’s new and improved Skin Active BB cream allows users to resist the daily challenges of a modern life – hot weather, humidity, commuting, clothes, smoke and more – while also offering light, breathable coverage for up to 12 hours and moisture for up to 24 hours.

BB Cream Original

w Garnier’s new take on its original formula, Garnier BB Cream Original, is an all-in-one moisturising formula that combines powerful skincare with mineral pigments to offer up an even skin tone, illumination, 24-hour hydration and SPF protection in one. It is designed for those with normal or dry skin types and comes in extra light, light and medium complexion shades.

BB Cream Combination to Oily Skin

Unlike its original formula, Garnier BB Cream Combination to Oily Skin was designed to be ultra-absorbent and deeply hydrating simultaneously – tackling shine and offering up a matte finish for a flawless complexion. Beyond these benefits, it offers UV protection with SPF 20 built right in. It’s also a non-comedogenic, oil-free formula that’s gentle to oily and combination skin and won’t block pores when you wear it. It comes in two shades: light and medium complexion.

BB Cream Sensitive Skin

Garnier BB Cream Sensitive Skin takes all of the attributes that make its original version so loved and offers it up in a formula specifically designed with more sensitive complexions in mind. It soothes and reduces the appearance of redness, while simultaneously boosting internal glow, blurring any imperfections and imbuing the skin with a luminous, natural look. It comes in light and medium sheer complexion formats.

BB Cream Anti-Ageing

Designed as an all-in-one BB cream, Garnier BB Cream Anti-Ageing has the look of youthful skin in mind. It contains SPF 15 UV filters and Pro-Xylane – a sugar-protein hybrid developed in an effort to restore skin health – to both smooth wrinkles on the surface and help to protect your skin from further damage at the same time. With a mineral-pigment content in light and medium shades, it offers a radiant, lightweight finish in an easy swipe-on application.

BB Cream + Blur

Add a third ‘b’ to your Blemish Balm with Garnier BB Cream + Blur. Designed to revive your routine and offer a flawless, luminous complexion, it offers ultimate hydration, SPF 30 sun cream protection, the mineral coverage of a lightweight foundation and the smoothing elements of a makeup primer in one. Shine, pores, and wrinkles become a thing of the past in this elegantly simple addition to your routine. It’s designed for use on normal skin.

BB Cream 5-in-1 Eye Roll-On

Most BB Cream formulas are designed to address the complexion as a whole. Not Garnier BB Cream 5-in-1 Eye Roll-On. The latest in BB cream offerings, this product is designed specifically to address eye area concerns like under-eye bags, dark circles, discoloration, fine lines and dryness. It also offers 24-hour hydration and mineral pigments for a flawless finish with every roll-on. It is designed for all skin types.

How to add BB cream into your routine

BB cream is one of the simplest products you could ever introduce into your routine. In fact, for many, it takes the place of the morning routine entirely. Now that you know a little bit more about the product, and which one is right for you, here’s how to integrate BB cream into your routine.

For when you’re in a rush

One of the biggest benefits of BB cream is its ability to knock long, drawn-out morning routines out of the water. If you don’t have time to use your morning makeup primer, colour corrector, concealer and foundation in the morning, simply grab your BB cream and head out the door. It’ll give you a perfect foundation to start the day – just add some to your fingertips and massage into your skin over your full face. Finish with your favourite eye and lip makeup and you’re on your way.

For when you want that no-makeup makeup look

BB cream is the perfect addition to your makeup routine on days that you just want to nail an easy, (seemingly) effortless, I just woke up like this vibe. It offers the right level of luminosity to give you a dewy, fresh glow. Smooth it over your face with your fingertips to even out your skin tone and follow it up with a coat of lengthening mascara and a light dab of cream blush and you’re ready for the day.

For when your skin needs a break

If you’re the type of person that’s all about the glam, who cherishes their full makeup routine, BB cream can still have a role to play in your life. Give your skin a chance to breathe easy without going completely bare faced by smoothing on your BB cream and then spot correcting with a lightweight concealer. To finish, apply your eye and lip makeup as usual.

For when you’re travelling

One of the most difficult parts of travelling is knowing what to pack and what to leave behind. For many of us, this is no less apparent than when we try to pack our beauty products for a trip. BB cream allows you to save space on what would otherwise need to be allocated to primer, foundation, SPF sun cream, moisturiser, and colour correcting cream, so you have more room for the other essentials you might need without the sacrifice to your resulting look.

For when you’re in the middle of breaking out

If you’ve ever faced an acne flare up right when you have an event, interview or big night out planned, you’re probably used to that lingering sense of dread. If you don’t want to forego coverage all together but don’t want to add to your skin’s irritation, BB cream is the perfect option for soothing, smoothing and lightly covering your face. Simply smooth on and spot treat for a breathable skincare coverage option that won’t add to the issues at hand.

For when you’re headed to the beach

A beach day is a fantastic day to opt for a BB cream – you probably wouldn’t wear a full face of makeup anyway, but a BB cream is easy, lightweight and will provide just enough coverage for every photo op that might come up while you’re out catching rays. Simply swipe it on and smooth it in, adding a little waterproof mascara to your lashes for good measure. Note: BB cream does have SPF built in, but you’ll still need to apply your own additional SPF sun cream underneath for adequate sun protection.

For any and every day

The above list contains a few different specific moments in which a BB cream can come in especially handy, but don’t think for a second that they are the only appropriate times to use one. For a simple, standard daily makeup routine consider this: Apply your BB cream of choice all over with clean fingers or a makeup blender for a smooth, even base. Follow that with your favourite liquid cheek or multi-use face colour for a rosy glow. Then, define your brows for a touch of polished drama. Finish off your look by accenting your lashes with a bold, volumising mascara and a bit of lip balm and you’re ready to go!

If all of that information doesn’t convince you to give BB cream a chance, than nothing will. Here’s a round-up of the reasons we love this little powerhouse – just in case you missed something:

  1. BB cream was created in the 1950s by a dermatologist as a way to soothe patients’ skin following dermal treatments while also concealing any redness or dryness.
  2. It has gained popularity at an incredibly rapid rate thanks to its formula, that acts as a moisturiser, foundation, primer, SPF, and anti-ageing serum in one.
  3. Choosing the right BB cream for your skin is the key to success with the product. As the brand responsible for bringing BB creams to the mainstream western market, Garnier offers a plethora of options for all skin types.
  4. BB creams know no bounds when it comes to where or when you can use them. They’re great for travel, keeping your skin photo-ready, on breakout days, and for nearly any other situation you can think of. The sky's the limit!

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