BB Cream vs Primer: Can You use BB Cream as Makeup Primer?

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

You’ve probably heard of both BB cream and primer, but do you really know what each makeup item is for and how they are different?  Many people wonder whether primer or BB cream will best meet their makeup needs since there are some similarities between the two products.  So, if you want to compare BB cream vs primer, keep reading.  We’ll help you understand more about what each makeup product does to help you decide which is right for you.

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Garnier Skin Skinactive Bb Cream Oil-Free Face Moisturizer, Light/Medium, 2 Count

BB Cream vs Primer

Before we compare BB cream vs primer, let’s take a few moments to describe what each makeup product is and how it is used.

Makeup primer is designed to get the face and eyelids ready for makeup.  It goes on before foundation or eyeshadow to prep the face.  Primer helps smooth the skin and fill in wrinkles and imperfections to create an even canvas for flawless makeup application.  It also helps foundation, eyeshadow, and lipstick stay on for lasting wear.  Makeup primer cannot be used alone, however.  It has a white or neutral color, but is not available in different shades to match the skin.

BB Cream, which is also referred to as beauty balm or beauty cream, originally became popular in South Korea.  It is designed to be a very flexible product that can complement any makeup routine.  BB cream works as a moisturizer, primer, foundation, and even sunscreen.  Like primer, it can help even the skin and fill in wrinkles, but since it is also tinted, you don’t have to apply foundation overtop of BB cream.

Matte Makeup Base Primer for Face: Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer for Oily Skin - Pore Minimizer, Shine Control Make Up Primer to Hide Wrinkles and Fine Lines - Cruelty Free Cosmetics - 30g

Is BB cream better than primer?

BB cream isn’t necessarily better than primer, but BB cream has a number of benefits and is definitely more versatile.  BB cream can act very similarly to primer by smoothing the face’s surface and filing in fine lines and imperfections, but since it is toned like the skin, it isn’t necessary to apply foundation over BB cream as it is with primer.  If you want to enjoy lighter coverage or are doing something outdoors where you may get hot and sweaty, using BB cream by itself may be your best bet.  Since most BB creams also offer SPF protection against the harmful rays of the sun, you’ll also be protecting your face and preventing it from getting burned.

Primer or BB cream for oily skin?

BB cream or primer for oily skin?  While BB cream is great for many individuals, it is not always the best choice for those with oily skin.  If you have oily skin, you may want to stick with primer, or look for a BB cream that is specifically designed for oily skin.  And, luckily, there will be a few options to consider, but be sure to look at the descriptions to confirm it will work well with your oily skin.

Is BB Cream a Primer?

Yes, BB cream can work as a primer.  If you’re using BB cream as primer, you can choose to put foundation overtop it as you would with using a standard primer.  Or, you can also choose to simply use the BB cream as your all-in-one primer and foundation and skip the step of applying a separate foundation.  The right choice for you will depend on your makeup goals and whether you’re looking for a more natural look or a full-coverage look you’ll be able to achieve with foundation too.

Do you need a primer with BB cream?

The beauty of BB cream is that you don’t need to use a primer with it.  You can simply apply your BB cream to your face. It will moisturize it, smooth out the fine lines and imperfections (as a primer would), and provide light to medium coverage (like foundation).  Using both primer and BB cream together is not necessary!

Primer or BB Cream first?

If you decide that you want to use both primer and BB cream, you may be wondering if you should use BB cream or primer first.  While it isn’t necessary to use primer if you’re also using BB cream, if you want to use both, always apply primer before BB cream.  Since BB cream is tinted to match your skin color, it should go on top of the primer.  You can choose to stop after applying the BB cream, or go on to apply foundation as well.

Can you use BB cream as a primer?

Can BB cream be used as a primer?  Yes, you can use BB cream as a primer.  Using BB cream as a primer will get your face smooth and ready for your foundation, just like primer would.  You may also choose to use only BB cream and skip both the primer and foundation altogether since BB cream can really take the place of both of these makeup products.

TULA Skin Care Face Filter Blurring and Moisturizing Primer | Smoothing Face Primer, Evens the Appearance of Skin Tone & Redness, Hydrates & Improves Makeup Wear | 1 fl. oz.

BB Cream vs Primer: FAQs

What is BB cream used for?

BB cream offers a variety of flexibly uses.  It can moisturize the skin, work as a primer to smooth out imperfections, provide coverage like foundation, and protect the skin from the sun’s UV rays like sunscreen.

Is BB cream bad for skin?

No, BB cream is not bad for your skin.  It is moisturizing and offers SPF protection to keep you from getting burned.  However, some makeup artists are not huge fans of BB cream. They feel that it dries out the skin and offers too much coverage.

What is primer?

Makeup primer is designed to get the skin prepped before applying foundation, eyeshadow, or lipstick.  It works to smooth out the skin. It also fills in lines to create the perfect canvas for foundation and other makeup.  When using primer, you’ll have to cover it with foundation since primer is not tinted to match your skin color.

Should I apply moisturizer before primer?

Yes, moisturizer should be applied before primer.  In fact, your moisturizer should be the first thing you put on your face before starting your makeup routine.

Coola, Organic Rosilliance BB+ Cream Tinted Moisturizer Sunscreen Skin Care Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Reef Safe, Light/Medium, 1.5 Fl Oz

Final Thoughts: Makeup Primer vs BB Cream

While you may find that there are times when you want to reach for your primer, in many cases you should find that BB cream can take the place of primer.  It offers the same skin-smoothing benefits of primer. But since it is tinted to match different skin tones, it can also be used by itself without foundation.  BB cream is also moisturizing and offers SPF protection, adding to its list of impressive benefits!

Check out some of the related posts on our blog to learn more about primer and BB cream:

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  1. Oh, yeah that can be a problem since many base makeup products have SPF in them. Happy to help, Sophie!

  2. This was a really interesting read! I’ve never thought to apply a foundation over a BB cream or tinted moisturiser before. I usually skip primer and just use my regular skincare unless I’m using one I feel like I need for the specific makeup products I’m using that day. But I can’t use makeup with SPF without getting a rash, so that rules out the vast majority of BB creams for me, unfortunately.

  3. This is such a helpful post! I have oily skin & I’ve tried a couple of BB creams in the past & they definitely weren’t for me. I regularly use a primer (along with a moisturizer & sunscreen) instead & it does the job! I’ll have to see if I can find a BB cream for oily skin though so I can see if it would work for me

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