Wearing foundation every day is time consuming so we like to stick to a good BB cream. We’re reviewing the best BB creams we’ve tried that don’t break the bank.
Holika Holika Clearing Petit BB ($8)
The Korean beauty world knows what’s up. This Korean BB destroys every American brand I’ve tried. I am pale with some redness and uneven tones. Most foundation makes me break out before I even take it off. This BB cream keeps clogged pores and breakouts away with tea tree oil while also providing the perfect amount of coverage.
The upside: If you’re not about that foundation life but want a little daily coverage, you can mix this BB with moisturizer for the perfect hydrating tint. I’ve been using this every day for the last few years and everyone thinks I just have a naturally flawless complexion sans makeup.
The downside: Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to find this BB in one shade, which works for skin tones ranging from pale to Kylie Jenner’s spray tan. But good news for the ladies out there who get scorched within 10 minutes of sun exposure because this doubles as an SPF 30.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint ($13)
This isn’t labeled as a BB cream but after using it for a few weeks, I would definitely put it in the BB category. It has a slightly lighter consistency (but still creamy) than Holika Holika’s and a little less coverage. If you’re looking for something light with a natural look, this could be great for you.
It comes in a foundation-like bottle, but has an applicator attached to the inside of the cap similar to a fat lip-gloss applicator. I’ll use this to dot it on my face and then blend with my fingers or a sponge. A silicone sponge works great with this. The applicator wand makes this process less messy than flipping over a foundation bottle. We’ve all had that brutal foundation spill that makes us want to flip our vanities and cry.
This is perfect coverage-wise if you have mild redness, unevenness or light circles under your eyes that you want to cover but keep that “I woke up like this” look. For zits, dark spots and bags, you’ll probably need something heavier. This tint is also non-irritating and has never made me break out. Unlike Holika Holika, this comes in a ton of shades, so anyone can find a match. The shade I use is “natural ivory” which is probably the lightest or close to it.
I believe this is a “hydrating tint” because it contains hyaluronic acid, a common anti-aging hydrator. Definitely moisturize before using because from my experience, I wouldn’t consider it a moisturizer. It also doesn’t contain an SPF so it won’t protect you from looking like a lobster at the beach. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone with any skin type looking for a little bit of the “no-makeup” look coverage.
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream ($9)
I decided to switch out my usual Dr. Jart Rejuvenating BB and try this more affordable BB Cream after a friend recommended it to me. As someone with oily skin, this was a nice change to my usual Asian go-to BB Cream. First, I applied a few drops of the BB with my fingers which covered the slight redness along my cheeks. It easily blended into my skin and left a dewy finish-a nice touch! It contains an SPF of 30 which is a bonus in this Florida sun. I’d say this is definitely a “Dream Cream!”
While it was great for my oily skin, I would recommend someone with dry skin use a heavy moisturizer before this BB as it can emphasize dry patches.
e.l.f. BB Cream SPF 20 ($6)
For $6 this BB cream is pretty good. It’s non-irritating and comes in a bunch of shades. It has great coverage- close to the coverage of a foundation and SPF 20 (a nice bonus.) I’ve found this works great when mixed with moisturizer for super-sheer coverage that blends right into the skin. It’s also more hydrating than others I’ve tried and doesn’t start to bleed down my face by the end of the day which is always a win.
The not-so-great: This is a thicker formula than some BBs so make sure you apply it like you would foundation (with a brush or sponge.) I started to apply it with my fingers and it was blotch city. Also for my fellow pale ladies out there, I purchased the lightest shade, “fair” and it is most definitely not fair. It’s more like a light-medium, so I usually mix it with moisturizer since it’s a bit dark for me.
If you’re looking for a decent BB on the cheap, this one could be for you. It’s great for all skin types, however if you’re breakout prone, I might recommend one of e.l.f.’s more acne-fighting products.