Keep Calm Beauty Balm: Finding the Right BB Cream


In my late 20s, my skin started to show signs of sun damage, like age spots and broken capillaries.  Pregnancy gave me melasma, which causes more discoloration on my face. My skin, suffice it to say, is starting to show its age. I thought it was time to try one of the many products on the market that help with evening of skin tone and covering up imperfections.

In the last year, beauty balms (“BB”s) have flooded the beauty industry.  I had previously tried tinted moisturizers, but was indifferent to them; however, BBs are touted as different.  Many of them claim to be five products in 1 bottle: sun protection, moisturizer, primer, foundation and concealer.  I was skeptical, which means it was time for some homemade consumer research.

I headed to my local Sephora store, talked to their sales associates, and came home with five little containers; each in a bag labeled with product name and SPF protection.  Below, I share with you my pros and cons and overall impressions of each of the five products I tested. I hope my reviews will help in finding the right BB cream for you.


Clinique’s BB offered a heavier coverage than the others.  I found my skin still looked quite shiny after application, but my skin texture was smoothed out and imperfections better hidden. This BB had a noticeably heavier feel than some of the others, but it had great lasting power throughout the day.  It also served as a good foundation for my blush and blended well with my spot corrector.


Dr. Jart’s BB went on very creamy.  I didn’t think the color looked very good on my skin.  I have an olive skin tone and it seemed too light and pink for my coloring.  It did provide mild coverage on my imperfections, but I still needed spot corrector.  The overall look was a bit shinier than I prefer.  This BB also provided a nice base for my blush but my spot corrector did not blend well since the color of this BB did not match well with my skin tone.


Smashbox’s BB cream provided heavier coverage and felt more like a foundation.  It did not make my skin very matte, but did even out my skin tone. It served as a good base for my spot corrector and blush and had outstanding staying-power all day.  I was shinier by midday than I would like, especially my forehead and t-zone.


Tarte’s BB was by far my favorite of the five.  It stood out immediately for its lightness and primer-like qualities. It gave me a light matte look and mildly covered imperfections, but I still needed spot coverage.  It was a great base for my cheek stain.  My forehead and t-zone were slightly shiny by mid-day.  I felt this BB was the best match for my skin.  I generally have shiny skin, so I preferred the primer qualities of this BB that gave me a matte look.  It also just seemed to blend the best with my skin color.  It was light, but seemed to give me the most even and matte skin texture, which I liked.


Urban Decay’s BB went on smoothly and felt like a primer.  It made my skin matte but did not provide quite as much coverage as some of the others.  Notably, this is the only BB that I thought had a distinct smell that I didn’t really like.  The color of this BB definitely gave me a more bronzed look, so this product would be great for someone who is looking to add a bit more color to her complexion while still looking natural.  I loved that this BB stayed matte throughout the day.

Final Word on BBs:

My overall impression of BB creams is positive.  What I found most interesting is how different they can be.  Each product had its pros and cons.  In the end, I found that I prefer a lighter feel that provides a matte look.

For anyone interested in changing up their makeup, I would highly suggest asking a store for samples.  Instead of the typical trial and error process you have to go through to find the right product, samples will help you find what works best for you, saving you money and time in the process.

I’m still on the fence as to whether I’m going to add BBs to my makeup regime, but it was certainly fun to try out new products and find what works best for me.

Have you tried a BB?  If so, do you have a favorite?

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