BB Cream vs Foundation: Which Is Better?

BB Cream vs Foundation: Which Is Better?
September 18, 2019 Ellis James

Foundation vs BB Cream: Which should you use?

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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What Is BB Cream? BB cream definition

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, C, and 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

BB 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

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

BB creams can give sheer to medium coverage.

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.

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 a 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 and when to use it – and the Primer vs Foundation debate!

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.

bb cream vs foundation

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

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.

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 skincare product. This means that while you’re wearing it, BB cream can help in the evening of your skin tone, reducing wrinkles and acne marks, deeply moisturizing, as well as protecting your skin against harmful UV rays.

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

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

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.

If you are wearing foundation, you will need to wear sunblock to ensure protection from sun damage.

Know the difference between BB cream and foundation

But which is better? BB Cream or Foundation?

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.


What is the difference between BB and CC cream

You might be confused after seeing these two products in your tall makeup organizer. 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.

CC cream vs BB cream?

Again it depends on what you need from your base.

Tinted moisturizer vs foundation? BB cream vs tinted moisturizer?

Tinted moisturizers are moisturizers that have a color/tint. This is usually a sheer base. Foundation is proper makeup for a smooth base, though it can sometimes be moisturizing too. BB cream is for both coverage and skincare.

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

Check out our related posts on the blog!

Let us know what your favorite BB creams and foundations are!

Comments (5)

  1. Nancy 2 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 ♥

    • 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 2 years ago

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


  3. Thanks so much, Aleena!

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