BB Cream or Foundation, which is best for your skin type?


No longer the beauty counter newbie, BB cream has proved it’s a serious contender in the base coverage category. The all-in-one makeup, skincare cream and SPF claims to have all your skin’s needs covered, but is it really good enough to trump foundation?

bb vs foundation

We asked Dr. Marina Peredo, a dermatologist in Smithtown, NY and celebrity makeup artist Stephanie Flor to help us create a scorecard between the two. See which one is the winner for your skin.

For Coverage

If it’s coverage you want, you may want to opt for foundation. Most BB creams have enough tint to even out redness, but if you want something that’s going to last all day, foundation is the way to go, says Flor. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H will stay put for 24 hours (if need be).

For Sun Protection

While many foundations do contain SPF, the level is often too low to count as your daily protection (broad spectrum SPF 30 is ideal). Kiehl’s BB Cream Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream contains a whopping SPF 50.


Moisturizing foundations exist (like Giorgio Armani Designer Shaping Cream Foundation), but this round also goes to the BB cream, which is really a tinted moisturizer with a few extra skincare bells and whistles.

Shade Range

Most BBs come in light, medium and dark. If you have a tough-to-match skin tone, you’re going to need a few more (okay, a lot more) options. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup, for example, comes in 18 shades.

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

Foundation will cover zits, but a BB (also called blemish balm) can also help treat them. “If you’re acne-prone, using a BB cream that’s oil-free is a good way to go,” says Flor. Try Garnier Miracle Perfector BB Cream Oil-Free.


“Anything that combines sunscreen, skincare ingredients, antioxidants and light coverage is ideal for the busy woman who doesn’t have time for a more in-depth regimen,” says Peredo. A major multitasker: Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector.

The Final Score

It’s a super-close match, but in terms of overall skin health and multitasking, the BB cream comes out on top. But if you want more coverage, a wider shade range or you don’t mind a multi-step routine in the morning, don’t trade in your favorite foundation any time soon.

Do you prefer BB cream or foundation? Tell us why in the comments!

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