When starting with makeup, foundation and BB creams can be pretty confusing.
So, what’s the difference? And which one should you choose?
In this post, we’ll discuss the differences between BB cream and foundation, and help you decide which one is right for you.
This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.
What Is BB Cream?
BB cream stands for ‘beauty balm’ or ‘blemish balm’, and it’s a multi-tasking product that provides sheer coverage with skincare benefits.
BB creams typically contain antioxidants, while some also have an SPF and other hydrating ingredients such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid.
They are an excellent choice for a busy morning because they provide the skin with light coverage and hydration in one step.
An example of a BB cream is the Maybelline dream bb fresh. It has an oil-free formula that provides sheer coverage and contains glycerin to help hydrate the skin.
As you can see in the picture below, this BB cream has glycerin for hydration and titanium dioxide for sun protection.
What Is Foundation?
Foundation is a makeup product that evens out the skin tone and provides light to full coverage.
It comes in liquid, powder, or mousse form and can be applied with your fingers, a sponge or a brush.
The Mac Studio Fix Fluid is an example of a liquid foundation, and it provides medium to full coverage and has a matte finish.
Best Full-Coverage Drugstore Foundations: Check our favorite full-coverage affordable foundations.
Best Powder Foundations For Mature Skin: These are the best powder foundations for aging skin.
Best Foundation for Large pores: Do you have big pores? These foundations can give the skin a smooth look.
BB Cream Vs Foundation
Now that we know what each product is, let’s compare them.
Texture: BB creams have a thinner consistency than foundation and feel lighter on the skin.
Coverage: BB creams offer sheer coverage while foundation can provide light to full coverage.
Finish: Most BB creams have a dewy or satin finish, but some companies offer BB creams with matte finishes that are ideal for oily skin like this clean matte BB cream.
Foundations can also have different finishes, including matte, dewy, or satin.
Skincare Benefits: BB creams often contain skincare benefits such as hydration, SPF, or antioxidants.
Foundations typically don’t offer these benefits, but some foundations on the market contain hydrating ingredients.
SPF: Many BB creams contain SPF, while foundation usually does not.
There are always some exceptions, and many companies now include SPF in their foundation formulas. This foundation, for example, has an SPF of 20.
Shade Range: BB creams often have a limited shade range, as most are available in four or five shades. The Maybelline dream bb fresh, for example, has four shades.
Foundations usually have a wider shade range with different undertones to find the perfect match for your skin. This foundation, for example, is available in 40 shades.
The main differences between BB cream and foundation are the coverage and the formula.
BB creams are not meant to cover dark spots or redness; they should even out the skin tone and provide a natural look.
On the other hand, foundations can cover all kinds of imperfections and give the skin a flawless look.
When To Use BB Cream Vs Foundation?
When deciding between BB cream or foundation, it all comes down to what coverage level you need and the look you’re going for.
BB cream is the way to go if you want a natural makeup look with sheer coverage and some skincare benefits.
For a busy morning, you can use a BB cream because it’s a quick and easy way to even out the skin tone and provide hydration.
Some medium to full coverage foundations can look heavy on the skin, and they might not be the best choice for an everyday minimal makeup look.
However, a foundation is a better option if you have some imperfections that you want to cover, such as dark spots or redness.
For events and special occasions, foundation is usually the best choice as it can give you a flawless look.
TIP: You can use both products in your makeup routine. For example, you can apply BB cream all over your face and then use a small amount of foundation on your problem areas ONLY for more coverage.
You can also apply your BB cream all over the skin and then use concealer to cover any blemishes or dark spots, followed by a light dusting of translucent powder to set the makeup in place.
Another trick is mixing BB cream with your foundation to create a thinned-out foundation that still provides good coverage.
I like to do this when I want to sheer out a full-coverage foundation.
BB Cream Vs CC Cream Vs Tinted Moisturizer
CC cream stands for ‘complexion correcting’ cream; it’s a light coverage product with color-correcting properties that help cover redness and even out skin tone.
CC cream also has skincare benefits and usually contains SPF.
This Color-Correcting Cream, for example, is one of the best CC creams on the market. It has a creamy formula that provides light to full coverage with an SPF of 50.
Tinted moisturizer is exactly what it sounds like: a sheer coverage, hydrating product that helps to even out the skin tone while also providing some moisturizing benefits.
Unlike BB creams, tinted moisturizers don’t offer any skin benefits such as antioxidants, and their primary purpose is to hydrate and even out the skin tone.
Tinted moisturizers and CC creams are also available in fewer shades than foundations.
To sum it up, the main difference between BB cream ,CC cream and tinted moisturizer is the coverage level and the ingredients.
If you want a light coverage product with skincare benefits and color-correcting properties, then CC cream is the way to go.
Tinted moisturizer is the best choice if you’re looking for a hydrating product with sheer coverage to even out the skin tone.
And if you want a product with light coverage and anti-aging benefits, then BB cream is a good option.
BB Cream Vs Concealer
Concealer and BB Cream are both products that can help to cover imperfections and even out the skin tone.
However, concealer is a highly pigmented product that can provide medium to full coverage for dark circles, blemishes, and other imperfections. It’s not meant to be used on the entire face like BB cream.
On the other hand, BB cream is a light coverage product that can be used all over the face to even out the skin tone and cover minor imperfections.
BB cream usually contains SPF, whereas concealer does not.
So the main difference between BB cream and concealer is the coverage level and the ingredients.
BB cream is the way to go if you want a light-coverage product with some skincare benefits.
If you need a highly pigmented product to cover dark circles, blemishes, and other imperfections, then concealer is the best choice.
A BB Cream can cover minor dark circles but can’t replace a concealer.
TIP: You can use both products in your makeup routine. For example, you can apply BB cream all over your face and then use concealer to cover dark circles and blemishes.
Can I Just Wear BB Cream Alone?
BB cream can be worn alone or under foundation.
If you want a light-coverage makeup look, you can simply apply BB cream all over your face and blend it with your fingers, a sponge, or a brush.
Or, if you want more coverage, you can apply BB cream all over your face and then follow up with a small amount of foundation on the areas where you need more coverage.
Avoid applying thick BB cream or foundation layers, as this can cause your makeup to look dry and cakey.
It’s always best to start with a small amount of product and then build up the coverage as needed.
TIP: If your skin is so dry, apply a moisturizer or a hydrating primer before your BB cream or foundation to help create a smooth, dewy base.
Some BB Creams contain hydrating ingredients, but if your skin is very dry, it’s always best to use a separate moisturizer before makeup.
If you have oily skin, apply a mattifying primer before your BB cream or foundation to help control shine and oil throughout the day.
What Do You Apply First: BB Cream Or Sunscreen?
Both BB Cream and sunscreen can protect your skin from the sun.
For the best results, use a separate sunscreen before your BB cream.
This will ensure you get complete SPF protection, especially on days when you’re going to be outdoors for long periods.
Choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for the best protection. Apply a generous amount to your face and neck, and blend it well.
Before applying BB cream or foundation, let the sunscreen sink into your skin for a few minutes.
How Do You Pick A BB Cream Shade?
When choosing a BB cream shade, it’s essential to find one that matches your skin tone.
The best way to do this is to test the shades on your jawline and blend them.
Choose the shade that disappears into your skin and looks natural.
If you have a warm undertone, look for BB creams with a golden or yellow hue like this Light Medium BB cream Shade.
And if you have a neutral undertone, look for BB creams that are not too cool and not too warm.
BB Creams are not available in many shades, so it can be tricky to find the perfect match.
Since they provide sheer coverage, you can choose a shade slightly darker than your skin tone.
As you blend the BB cream into the skin, the darker color will cover your minor imperfections and even out your skin tone.
BB creams and foundations are both makeup products that you can use to hide your skin’s imperfections.
The main difference between the two is the level of coverage they provide and the ingredients.
BB cream usually contains antioxidants and skincare ingredients, providing sheer coverage.
Foundation is usually more pigmented and can provide medium to full coverage.
Both products have their benefits, so you can have them both in your makeup collection and use them depending on what look you want to create.
If you want a light-coverage makeup look, go for BB cream.
But if you want more coverage, then a foundation is the best choice.
Do you have a preferred BB cream or foundation? Let us know in the comments below!