Ask Ellbee ~ BBs, CCs and DDs

72questionpurpleDear Ellbee,

I don’t use very much foundation.  I’m a big fan of tinted moisturizer, with a translucent powder to set and finish.

I’m super interested in finding a BB cream to replace my moisturizer/light foundation/powder routine.  But there are SO many options.  What’s the difference between them, and what is your suggestion?

Also, I think I know that a CC cream packs a bit more of a punch.  What else can you tell me about it?

Thanks!  And keep the tips coming!


Thank you for your questions, Kelli ~ and for being a regular reader.

You are absolutely correct:  There are so many BB creams on the market (all with varying formulations and benefits) that it’s difficult to know which to try.  As such, I’ll categorize my top picks and recommendations by skin type and benefit, then touch briefly on CC ~ and DD ~ creams.

multi-tasking-makeupFor readers new to the concept of BB cream (or beauty balm), think “multi-purpose cosmetic.”

Applied like a foundation, this light emollient does more than cover:  It moisturizes, primes and evens out skin tone.  And, because most balms are mineral-based, they won’t clog pores.

Additionally, formulations may cover or treat acne, provide anti-wrinkle and anti-inflammatory agents, minimize age spots or supply sun protection.  And many offer up a combination of these benefits.

Very few BB creams give the coverage of a foundation, but do leave skin nicely texturized for additional makeup application.

Ellbee’s Recommendations

Dry Skin
~ If your skin requires hydration, quench it with Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream (SPF 15).

Blending quite easily, glycerin and hyaluronic acid penetrate and moisturize, leaving skin dewy.

Or hydrate with Diorskin Nude BB Cream (SPF 10). 


Though significantly lighter, it’s chock full of botanical conditioners and moisturizers like flax seed and hibiscus extracts.

You’ll also find a few antioxidants.

Oily Skin ~ If you have oil issues or problems with your T-zone, try the Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream in Combination to Oily Skin (SPF 20).  It has substantial oil-control properties and offers good coverage without caking.

Estee-Lauder-Daywear-BB-CreamOr look for Estée Lauder Daywear Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream (SPF 35). 

While most BB creams for oily complexions tend to settle into a matte finish, Daywear positively glows, all the while managing excellent shine control.

Sensitive Skin
~ If your skin has a tendency to break out, turn red or swell when you apply new products, look for lighter formulas such as Boscia BB Cream (SPF 27) and Dr Jart Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm (SPF 25). 

Coverage is minimal.  But both Boscia and Dr Jart will prime skin beautifully for your regular foundation.


The Boscia formula includes jojoba wax ester and willow extract to calm and soften skin.  Dr Jart’s contains a vitamin B complex, which effectively prevents inflammation and redness.

Mature Skin
~ For skin over 40, 3Lab Perfect BB Cream (SPF 40) is a superb choice. 

Whiteners minimize discoloration while ascorbyl glucoside inhibits the production of melanin.  Pea protein stimulates the production of collagen.  And a specially patented hGH addresses wrinkles.  (Ellbee says “Trifecta!”)

Other good performers include Stila Stay All Day 10 in 1 HD Beauty Balm (SPF 30) and L’Oreal Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator (SPF 15).


If your skin is prone to blemishes, take a peek at Aveeno Active Naturals Clear Complexion BB Cream (SPF 30). 

Clear Complexion is the only BB on the market specifically targeted to prevent and treat acne.  It also covers it well.

Another smart choice is SmashBox Camera Ready BB Cream (SPF 35).  Though not formulated to fight acne, it provides adequate coverage with very impressive oil and shine control.

More Coverage ~  Want to skip the foundation?  Stila Stay All Day 10 in 1 HD Beauty Balm (also great for mature skin) camouflages fine lines and wrinkles ~ but with a  finish that is quite refined.


Additionally, Stila  gives you the choice of employing illuminators or bronzers along with your BB. (The illuminating formula is a favorite “go-to” for Ellbee.)

For coverage with more radiance, the Estée Lauder Daywear or any of the Garnier line will do nicely.

Sheer Coverage ~ If you prefer sheer coverage, try Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm (SPF 20).  The finish feels a bit tacky at first, but then dries to a natural, youthful glow.

Too Faced-tinted-beauty-balmphysicians-formula-super-bb-cream

Or try Physicians Formula’s Super BB All-In-1 Beauty Balm Cream (SPF 30).

This one seems to accommodate all skin types (including Ellbee’s, who is currently halfway through her second tube).


Sun Protection ~ For maximum SPF without a chalky feel, Ellbee prefers Dior Diorsnow UV Shield BB Crème (SPF 50). 


However any of the above BB creams with an SPF of 30 or more are excellent options.


BlemishBalmBeyond the BBs

In recent months, CC or “color correcting” creams have begun to saturate the US market.  Manufacturers tout they are a bit more refined than BB creams.

Lighter in texture, they are purported to blend better and give superior coverage. That may or may not be the case, as BB creams continue to outsell CC creams.

In addition to moisturizing, priming and evening out skin tone, DD or “Dynamic Do-All” cream claims to improve skin over time.  As the first from Julep has just recently arrived in the US, the jury is still out.

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  1. Kelli says

    SO MUCH INFO! Thanks!! I’ve been using the Garnier Skin Renew, but I think I have more combination skin than dry. I’m excited to try out some of these other awesome products!

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