We may earn a commission from links on our website, but this doesn't influence the opinions of our editors.

BB Cream vs Foundation: What’s The Difference?

Last Updated: June 17, 2022

If you’ve ever gone to a store or searched online to pick out a new foundation, you’ve also probably felt overwhelmed by all the different choices. There are so many types, brands, shades, coverage levels, finishes, and more that it’s hard to narrow down the right option for you and your skin. 

We all know what foundation is, and we all have probably heard of BB cream, but what exactly is it? And what’s the difference between the two? Find out in this BB cream vs foundation review where we list everything you need to know about these two face products. 

RELATED: 11 Best Lightweight Foundations For a Natural Look

BB Cream vs Foundation

BB cream stands for “beauty balm” or “blemish balm,” and it first gained popularity in South Korea as an alternative to full coverage, heavy foundations. It then became a trend in countries like the U.S. for creating a natural look with a radiant finish

To this day, BB cream is still really popular as an alternative to foundation for its all-in-one properties that will be covered later in this article. Many brands carry a BB cream along with their normal foundations such as L’oreal, Maybelline, Covergirl, Elf, Tarte, and more. 

Foundation is a staple for almost every look. It’s one of the first products you are introduced to when you first start learning how to do makeup. Every makeup brand is guaranteed to have at least one if not multiple kinds of foundation in their line. 

BB CreamFoundation
Mostly sheer coverage

Also primes and hydrates the skin

Lightweight and long-lasting

Great for a natural, dewy look 

Has skin care benefits
Light to full coverage, depending on the formula/brand


Great for covering up problem areas on the face

Typically has a larger shade range

Now, let’s clarify once and for all what exactly the difference is between BB cream and foundation. 

What is BB Cream?

BB cream combines skin treatment and coverage into one product. Rather than having multiple steps in your makeup and skin routine, a BB cream acts as a moisturizer, primer, and foundation all in one. 

Depending on the cream, you can get anywhere from sheer to full coverage, but BB cream is mostly used to create a natural look. It’s very similar to a tinted moisturizer. 

It’s also important to note the difference between BB cream and CC cream. The CC stands for “color or complexion corrector”. They have similar skin care properties and can be used the same way, but CC cream is better to color correct and provides fuller coverage. 

What is Foundation?

Foundation is the foundation of any routine and is sure to be in anyone’s makeup bag. It is used to smooth and blur the skin in order to make an evened-out base for the rest of your look

Because foundation is so essential, there is an extensive variety to fit everyone’s needs. There are foundations with different finishes like matte and dewy, for oily or dry skin, with different coverage levels from sheer to full, and even liquid or powder. 

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between BB cream and foundation is coverage and skin benefits. 

BB cream definitely makes more of a punch in one product because you’re getting multiple treatments at once. You can even out your skin by covering up blemishes, dark spots, redness, etc. while also hydrating, priming, and protecting your skin from the sun. By cutting out some steps in your routine, this helps to reduce the time you spend getting ready.

Though there are some creams that are buildable for a full coverage, matte finish, BB cream usually provides more sheer or light coverage and is used for an every day, no-makeup look

Foundation on the other hand is typically used only to provide coverage and doesn’t have the other properties that BB cream does

Which One Should You Use? 

It really depends on your personal preference. You should choose the product based on the kind of look you’re going for and your skin care needs

If you want a natural and dewy look that’s lightweight, sheer coverage, and easy to apply, use BB cream

If you need a product that is better at evening out the skin and covering up imperfections, creating that smooth and flawless look, go with foundation

If you want a product that takes care of your skin all in one without extra steps or products, BB cream wins there. 

RELATED: 14 Best BB Creams for Natural-Looking Skin


Can you use BB cream instead of foundation?

Yes! Especially if you don’t want super heavy face makeup, BB cream is a great alternative to normal foundation. 

Can you wear BB cream alone?

Yes, you definitely can wear BB cream alone. Just remember that BB cream usually provides more of a sheer coverage which is great if you want a natural, no-makeup look. It also acts as a moisturizer and primer, so BB cream even helps you skip some steps. 

In Conclusion

All in all, BB cream and foundation are both great choices for your base. You really can’t go wrong either way. Both will give you exactly what you need for a smooth and even face, but it all depends on what works best for you. 

UP NEXT: 13 Best Cream Foundations for Flawless Coverage

Leave a Comment