BB Cream vs Foundation: What is the difference between BB cream and Foundation?

BB Cream vs Foundation: What is the difference between BB cream and Foundation?
June 14, 2021 Ellis James
It wasn’t too long ago when BB creams came into play and ended the monopoly that foundation’s had as the only makeup base. There was a lot of buzz and excitement, but make-up enthusiasts still found it hard to accept the change. That’s likely mostly because despite the claim of being different, BB cream looks a lot like a foundation.

It is, of course, no less than a challenge to decide what’s best for your skin when you don’t know the difference. So, to put all confusion to rest, we bring you the ultimate BB Cream vs Foundation showdown.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, Light/Medium, 1 Ounce (Packaging May Vary)

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BB cream definition: What Is BB Cream?

We’re sure you’ve heard about BB creams by now. But what is a bb cream?

The “BB” in BB cream is short for “beauty balm” or “blemish balm”. The reason why it’s called these is that it is not only designed for skin coverage, but it also acts as a skincare product.

BB creams often come with antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, which can help in improving your skin’s overall condition. They also help in keeping the skin hydrated, moisturized, and balanced.

Hence, beauticians have described BB cream as a multi-tasker product which offers suitable coverage, skincare, and SPF protection – all in one!

How to Use BB Cream

“Beauty Balm” cream is mostly applied using fingertips but you can also use a brush to apply it all over your face. There is no need for primer, sunblock, or a moisturizer. You can get an “au naturel” look in a few minutes, then apply some lipstick and mascara and you’re ready to go.

What is BB Cream for

So, what is bb cream used for?

If you find yourself having a rough skin day or dealing with sensitive skin acting up, you can use a beauty balm cream. It’ll give you the required coverage while letting your skin breathe.

RELATED: Best Foundations for Sensitive Skin with Acne

BB creams can give sheer to medium coverage. If you want a sheer coverage that your sin can peek through, this is for you.

You can also use it when you are in a rush since it takes very little time for the application and acts as multiple products.

Actively Correcting & Beautifying' BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50/1.35 oz. Medium


What Is Foundation?

Foundation is one of the most major of makeup essentials. You may have already used this product enough to know the basics but to make things clearer, let’s define it properly.

The primary purpose of a foundation is to cover any skin imperfections such as blemishes, acne marks and large pores, pimples, and dark circles. It evens out the skin tone and creates a flawless base for other makeup.

A foundation comes in many colors and different tones. From light and beige to cocoa and dark, there is a wide range of shades available.

It also comes in many different forms, including liquid, powder, cream, and compact.

How to Use Foundation

Foundation is a building block of makeup. It requires effort and quite a chunk of patience to build up a smooth and flawless look.

  • Always start with moisturizing your skin.
  • Apply some primer (if you have any), and then apply a small layer of foundation.*
  • Get a brush, a beauty blender, or a sponge to spread or dab the foundation on your skin.
  • Use a firm hand but not too strong, as brush strokes or sponge imprints may appear.
  • After applying the first layer, give it time to settle on your skin.
  • You can build up a foundation from light to full coverage look according to your needs. Giving enough time is the key to getting a flawless and uniform foundation application.

*Wondering when to use Primer and when to use Foundation? Check out our article explaining what is Face Primer!

When to Use a Foundation

Since a foundation can give you full coverage, you can use it on special occasions, on bad skin days, or whenever you want to look flawless.

Be it a pimple, a scar or a blemish, foundation has got you covered.

Dermablend Flawless Creator Lightweight Foundation, 40N: For light to medium skin with neutral undertones with a hint of pink, 1 Fl Oz


BB Cream vs Foundation: What is the difference between BB Cream and Foundation?

How is bb cream different from foundation?

As we have briefly introduced these products, we will now look at how they differ from each other.

What are the key differences between foundation vs BB cream?

You can then decide which one gives you exactly what you need.

1. Coverage

One of the main things about the bb cream and foundation difference discussion is coverage.

To start the discussion of bb cream vs liquid foundation off deals with coverage.

Foundation is designed to give complete coverage. It is thick and feels comparatively heavy on the skin. So if you want more coverage, the foundation is for you.

BB cream, on the other hand, is light in weight as well as in coverage. It is designed to give a natural look, so it won’t cover scars and blemishes if that’s what you expect.

2. Skin Care

Unlike foundations, BB creams can act as a skin care product. This means that while you’re wearing it, while it does offer minimal coverage, BB cream can help even skin tone, reducing wrinkles and acne marks, deeply moisturizing, as well as protecting your skin against harmful UV rays.

RELATED: Foundation That Doesn’t Settle Into Wrinkles

Foundations don’t have those qualities. They only cover the skin, giving a smoother look and more coverage without changing anything underneath. There may be some with SPF or anti aging properties, but mostly foundations do not have skincare benefits.

3. Skin Types

BB creams are mostly designed according to different skin types. The one for the dry skin type will help in keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized to avoid unwanted breakouts. If you get a product specifically designed for the oily skin type, it will help in controlling oil and mattifying the skin.

Foundations are designed differently. They can give a poreless, matte finish to oily skin but only till the time you are wearing it. Foundations also offer a dewy finish for dry skin types, but they will affect the skin dryness in general.

RELATED: Best Dewy Foundation in the UK

4. Skin Tones

Foundations have a shade for everybody. There is a vast range of specific skin tones present for you to pick one. Major brands even go up to 50-60 shades.

On the other hand, BB creams only come in a few general colors, including fair, medium, and dark. This makes it harder for deeper skin-toned people to find a BB cream that perfectly matches them. Should you pick one that’s lighter than your actual shade, this will also require more blending.

5. SPF Protection

Lastly in this list of points to illustrate what’s the difference between bb cream and foundation, we have UV and sun protection.

Most BB creams are formulated with SPF while many foundations are not.

This means that if you are wearing BB cream, your skin is protected from harmful sun rays.

Unlike BB cream, if you are wearing foundation, you will need to wear sunblock to ensure protection from sun damage.

RELATED: What Is Dry Oil Sunscreen


Know the difference between BB cream and foundation


Is bb cream foundation?

Is bb cream like foundation? In a way, yes, since they’re both laying out the canvas for the rest of your makeup.

Is bb cream a foundation?

No, it isn’t! If you mean is BB cream a base makeup, then it is. It also doubles as skin care. You can also use BB cream in place of foundation, especially if you want an all-around makeup that can both take care of your skin as well as smoothen it for the rest of your makeup routine.

However, if you’re looking for the power of foundation in a BB cream, such as coverage and longevity, you might be disappointed. And if you’re looking for the lightness and skin care properties of BB cream in a foundation, you might not be able to find it.

For dark skin tones, it might be difficult to find a BB cream that matches. Although the beauty industry is diversifying shade ranges, certain makeup products do fall behind.

Can you use bb cream as foundation?

Can bb cream be used as a foundation?

Since they’re so similar, you may be asking can bb cream be used as foundation?

If you want a base makeup that also doubles as skincare, you can indeed use BB cream as foundation.

As mentioned above though, BB cream works one way, while foundation works another.

For instance, if you have acne prone skin, you may want to opt for foundation for more coverage. But also, ingredients in BB cream (such as tea tree oil or salicylic acid) can help acne prone skin.

Is bb cream better than foundation?

From a skincare product perspective, BB cream is better than foundation since it’s packed with ingredients that can nourish and moisturize your skin, as well as cover over it. If you want something that gives light coverage that makes your skin appear more natural, BB cream is also better than most foundations.

However, if you want fuller coverage and longer wear, foundation is better. If you’re appearing in front of bright lights or if you’re wearing base makeup for a long period of time, foundation may be better for you.

Using bb cream as foundation? BB creams would require more touch-ups, but foundations tend to have more longevity.

Can bb cream replace foundation?

We would say yes and no.

Many people have switched over to using just BB creams because of how light it feels and how nourishing it is.

However, many people also don’t use BB creams and prefer the performance of foundation.

It’s up to what you’re looking for and what your makeup look needs.


Difference between foundation and bb cream: Is BB Cream or Foundation better?

BB creams and foundations are both great in their own ways. You may have the idea now after reading our detailed bb cream vs foundation comparison.

It completely depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a product to give you a daily natural look while keeping the skin protected, BB cream is your friend. A foundation would work best for full coverage occasions to give you the ultimate flawless look.

BB Cream vs Foundation: Other FAQs

What is the difference between BB cream and CC cream?

You might be confused after seeing these two products in your tall makeup organizer. What’s the difference between bb vs cc cream?

If you want to know what sets apart BB and CC cream, BB is “beauty/blemish balm” while CC is “color correcting”. While BB has skincare benefits, CC makes your skin tone look more even.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream, Medium (W) - Color Correcting Cream, Full-Coverage Foundation, Anti-Aging Serum & SPF 50+ Sunscreen - Natural Finish - 1.08 fl oz

CC cream vs BB cream?

If you’re stumped about choosing in the bb cream vs cc cream debate, we understand. Again it depends on what you need from your base. Do you need to nourish your skin with BB Cream? Do you need to color correct with CC cream?

If you have more mature skin and uneven skin tone due to age spots, CC cream works better. It has ingredients that can help reduce signs of aging.

In addition, when looking at cc vs bb cream, BB cream tends to be more hydrating, while CC cream offers better coverage.

Tinted moisturizer vs foundation? BB cream vs tinted moisturizer?

Tinted moisturizers are moisturizers that have a color/tint. This is usually a light base, meaning thin, sheer coverage. Foundation is proper makeup for a smooth base, though it can sometimes be moisturizing too. BB cream is for both coverage and skincare, though it might offer a more medium coverage than tinted moisturizers and a lighter coverage compared to foundation.

Tinted moisturizer tends to be more on the skincare side than BB cream, which is more a makeup. Tinted moisturizers are thicker with just a slight tint, while BB creams are lighter. BB creams and tinted moisturizers tend to have SPF both and hydrating properties.

Still wondering the difference between Tinted Moisturizers vs BB Creams? Read more through the link!

bb cream vs foundation


Foundation vs BB Cream: Which should you use?

Bottom line is that between foundation of BB cream, it’s up to you what you want to use. They each have their own purposes, and one doesn’t always work for a person who prefers the other.

If you’re still asking “can I use bb cream instead of foundation”? If you’re looking for a natural finish and sheer coverage but a smooth canvas for your makeup, you technically can! Just remember not to expect foundation levels of coverage and performance when you do!

Check out our related posts on the blog!

So, which one’s for you, foundation or bb cream? Let us know what your favorite BB creams and foundations are!

Comments (6)

  1. Nancy 3 years ago

    I learned a lot about the difference between BB cream and foundation! I found myself buying BB cream recently and it hits me so much differently. Thanks for sharing these facts!

    Nancy ♥

    • Ellis James Designs 3 years ago

      BB cream and foundation are most certainly different, even if they serve the same purpose of creating a good base. You’re most welcome!

  2. Paola 3 years ago

    Well written post, thanks for sharing!
    Kisses, Paola.


    • Ellis James Designs 3 years ago

      Thank you so much, and we appreciate you stopping by!

  3. Ashley 1 year ago

    This is a great rundown- you do a lovely job of illustrating the difference, which I think isn’t clear to the casual makeup customer!


    • Ellis James Designs 1 year ago

      Appreciate it so much, Ashley!

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