BB cream, or beauty balm, is quickly becoming the biggest thing in skincare today.
What started out as a trend became a must-have item in everyone’s cosmetics cabinet, but here’s the thing: American BB cream doesn’t hold a candle to Korean BB cream.
In South Korea, they take appearances very seriously. A quick search on Korean makeup, skincare, and overall aesthetics will take you down an internet rabbit hole and show you just how much South Korea pays attention to their looks.
And you know what?
We’re all better for it because this Korean BB cream is out of this world. Hyper effective, viable for all skin types, and designed with nutrients your skin actually needs, these Korean BB creams are about to become a staple in your cosmetic arsenal.
Best Korean BB Cream – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Best Overall: Skin79 Gold BB Super Plus Beblesh Balm
- Size: 1.4 fl oz
- Color: Gold
- Hydration: Yes
Are you ready to sap the beauty out of this beauty balm? Are you ready to see what Skin79 can really do?
They’re regarded as one of the best authentic Korean BB cream brands out there for a reason, but keep in mind that this isn’t 100% natural, so if you have serious skin irritations it might not be the best fit.
The best Korean BB creams do not need a hefty, heavy-handed application, but even so you’re only getting about forty-five days worth of serum in this purchase. Skin79 uses excellent top-of-the-line ingredients, and they’re able to do what few other brands can: create relatable skin tones.
Skin79 is often regarded as the best Korean BB cream for acne prone skin, even though it’s not marketed this way. That’s because the equalizing ingredients help balance your pH levels from continued use, this is just an added bonus. That, and the way the cream is formulated.
It’s non-greasy, and doesn’t leave a sticky residue on top of your skin. After about five minutes, it’s completely soaked in and immediately smoothes and softens your skin.
You’ll be able to feel a difference with your fingertips from just one application, and those benefits compound as time goes on (as long as you keep this up).
But if you do miss a day, Skin79’s formula won’t punish you for it. Designed with vitamins and nutrients that your skin needs, you’ll maintain a short supply of them within your epidermis, so a single day of not putting on BB cream won’t dry your skin out.
Between the natural gold coloring to the niacin and caviar in the actual cream, this is a full facial treatment. For better coverage and longer-lasting protection, Skin79 has you covered (literally).
Runner Up: Skin79 Super Plus Beblesh Balm Pink BB
- Size: 1.4 fl oz
- Color: Pink
- Hydration: Mildly
We know that Skin79 is the top brand on our list, but they’re so good that they’ve actually stolen the second spot, too. As the best Korean BB cream for dry skin and the best Korean BB cream for oily skin, their Super Plus packs a serious punch that you can’t ignore.
First of all, you get 1.4 ounces in total, which is a lot for products like these. In that formula, you get closer-to-nature ingredients (with fillers and application chemicals that you’re going to find in most cosmetics), and a simple formula that helps nourish damaged skin.
One speciality of Skin79’s Super Plus formula is the SPF30 protection. It’s designed with a surge of vitamin C for your skin, which naturally helps to deflect UVA and UVB damage and keep your skin protected. Using this is as good as using sunscreen on your face.
Now, oily skin users, listen up: this is the balancing agent you’ve been waiting for. Your skin can be oily from medication, environmental issues in your job, or it can just be naturally oily.
Skin79’s BB cream helps to mitigate that and pull all that shiny oiliness away. It’s not specifically designed to pull oil like that, but it does a fantastic job at equalizing your skin.
Alternative: Atomy SPF30 BB Cream
- Size: 1.4 fl oz
- Color: Medium skin tones
- Hydration: Yes
Smack dab in the middle of the top Korean BB creams, we have Atomy with their unique formula.
This is one of the best deals on authentic Korean beauty balm, because you get a total of 1.4 ounces for about half the cost of Mizon, and a much lower cost-to-entry compared to Skin79. While we love those brands and what they can do, this is one of your best budget-friendly options.
You get SPF30 protection, which is excellent to help your skin against harmful UV rays. If you have fair skin, SPF30 should be enough to protect you throughout the better part of the day.
Apart from that benefit, Atomy’s cream also helps to hydrate and nourish your skin on contact. You can feel this sink into your skin
Atomy is the best Korean BB cream on a budget thanks to the nourishing ingredients such as methysticum leaf extract and camellia leaf extract, but there are also a fair few ingredients in here that are low-tier.
This cream isn’t as close to nature as say, Skin79 and their products, but despite including chemically-derived ingredients, this still does a fantastic job at smoothing out wrinkles and hydrating your skin.
From user reviews and our own personal experience, there’s a common thread: people assume you’re using highly expensive beauty products.
After about two months of use, you’ll see largely noticeable differences in your skin that others will compliment on. While there are some short-term immediate benefits, they will be small at first.
Atomy’s formula is non-greasy and soaks into the skin fairly quickly, although it can feel a bit sticky at first. After about five or ten minutes, your skin absorbs the remaining topical ingredients and that feeling goes away.
It’s just not as instant as some of the other BB creams we’ve seen on this list so far. An excellent choice with a balance between budget and power, Atomy should be on your short list.
Alternative: Mizon Snail Repair Multifunctional BB Cream
- Size: 0.67 oz
- Color: Medium to dark skin tones
- Hydration: Yes
Mizon may just be the best cheap Korean BB cream that we’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Beauty balm is all about tightening your skin and giving you a healthy, glorious glow.
Mizon makes this as affordable as possible for the volume that you get, which is 0.67 ounces. For the power of this formula, that’s plenty to get excited about.
One important thing to note is that they include SPF50+ in here, which gives your skin ultra protection.
For some context, SPF30 is more than enough to block UVB rays (which tan your skin), and SPF50 helps with even more protection to reduce damage from the sun’s rays. Your skin stays younger-looking for longer.
The squeeze bottle helps you get every last drop out, which is a big up from those small containers that a lot of beauty balm creams have. You can actually get everything out that you paid for, which is nice.
The bottle blocks UV light from damaging the product as well, so if you end up leaving this on a windowsill or on the table in the kitchen and the light hits it, you’ll be fine.
Mizon also ends up being the best Korean BB cream for mature skin. Thanks to the wrinkle reducing effects, you’ll notice immediate and drastic results in maturing skin where laugh lines, crow’s feet, and other wrinkles begin to appear on a regular basis.
It’s like getting botox right through the skin and having it work right away.
Last but not least, oily and combination skin types will have a field day with this. Mizon makes their formula non-greasy, so as it absorbs into your skin, it actually helps you feel like your skin is hydrated without being oily.
There’s no sticky residue left on top, either, making the entire experience much more enjoyable.
Alternative: Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream
- Size: 40ml
- Color: Pink to light skin tones
- Hydration: Yes
Last but not least, Holika Holika offers a fantastic deal on Korean BB cream that anyone can get in on.
We know some of the higher-tier brands end up charging a lot, and so does Holika Holika. You get a total of 40ml of beauty balm with this purchase, and depending on your application habits, that could last you for quite some time.
In our efforts to make the best Korean BB cream review, we wanted to explore alternatives like Holika Holika (more on that later). You’ll notice the container is very unique and synonymous with a lot of Korean designs, and includes an excellent way to seal up the bottle when you’re done using it.
Aqua Petit might be the best Korean BB cream for oily skin, primarily because it comes out as a jelly instead of a slick cream.
You’re not going to feel those heavy oils resting on your skin the way that you normally would, giving you the opportunity to apply this and let it soak into your skin without that familiar, uncomfortable feeling.
This includes mint water to be ultra refreshing on your skin, and that mint soaks into your pores to help hydrate you properly. As described by the brand, it makes your skin bouncy and soft; we’d say that’s a fair assessment after using it for two weeks to test it.
While this works excellently for pink to light skin tones, you’re also going to find that yellow undertones in Eastern Asian skin really shine with the formula. However, some other skin tones may encounter non-flattering tone changes. It all depends.
Korean BB Cream FAQ
Are BB Creams Like Other Alphabet Creams?
So beauty balm became a best-selling product all around the world in no time. Then, marketers decided to take the whole alliteration titling thing and make it into a marketing trend.
You have CC creams, DD creams, EE creams, etcetera. They’ll probably come out with more by the time you read this guide, too.
Despite being roped in together in a fun name-scheme, these creams all serve different purposes (one of which we’ll use as a comparative figure later on in this guide).
BB cream is unique and serves an entirely different function from dynamic do-all cream, or… well, whatever EE stands for (nobody quite knows, but Estee Lauder is pretty proud of themselves for inventing it).
You don’t have to get on board with other alphabet creams in order to enjoy or properly use one of them.
Why Does BB Cream Look Different Every Time You Order It?
Korean BB cream has to come out perfectly. In South Korea, appearances and having yourself “done up” is part of the culture. They tend to take heavy stock in how they look.
As a result, they know that organic, naturally-sourced ingredients are going to work far better in their BB creams than overly chemically-comprised products.
They spread better, they soak into the skin better, and they don’t leave that greasy, oily feeling behind on the surface of your skin—all of those are important.
As a result, when you order a lot of Korean BB cream brands (not all, but many of them), you’re getting all natural ingredients that are assembled into beauty balm in a timely manner. They have shorter shelf lives than chemically-derived creams.
Conditions are met as often as possible to ensure that ingredients are consistent, but natural ingredients are at the mercy of nature no matter how much careful planning goes into it.
Still, BB cream brands have quality control guidelines, and out of the ones on this list, they’re all reputable and ensure that even if your cream doesn’t look 100% the same as the first time you ordered it, you’re still getting top-notch, high-quality ingredients.
How do Koreans Apply BB Cream?
Koreans tend to use sponge brushes to apply BB cream, although if you watch a handful of Korean YouTube tutorials, you’ll also find that they use their index finger to apply it.
This could be because they’re trying to make sure they’re speaking clearly and concisely to the camera, but from what we’ve seen, this appears to be a viable option to apply and spread BB cream effectively.
BB cream is inherently Korean, but we’ve seen plenty of applications from other areas of the world. Whether or not they’re following these YouTube tutorials, many people use their index finger to apply BB cream.
Can I Use BB Cream Daily?
Yes, you can absolutely use BB cream every single day if you want to. Include it in your daily skincare regimen; give it a go.
But keep in mind that beauty balm cream should be used to replace other parts of your cosmetics. You don’t want to use a dozen cosmetics during the day, so pay attention to the ingredients in your beauty balm cream.
For instance, if you have oily skin, BB cream tends to have the right amount of moisturizing products that can negate the excess sebum production, while also making sure your skin stays nice and hydrated without drying out too bad.
With dry or combination skin, well you might run into a few snags here and there. BB cream alone does not have enough moisturizing product to completely hydrate your skin, so you have to rely on using a facial moisturizer first before applying BB cream.
Also keep in mind that while you’re applying this every single day, you will run through it quickly. Plenty of people have found excellent levels of success with BB cream simply by spacing it out. One day on, one day off, and the cycle continues.
What Should I Apply After BB Cream?
Powder. If you want that flawless, porcelain look that is so popular and gorgeous in Korea, then you want to apply a thin layer of powder on top of your BB cream.
You really get a nice matte finish with powder that looks flawless, but still looks like it’s real skin. However, if you don’t want to use powder (skin irritations or whatever reason you have), we totally understand.
Instead, you can use BB cream and then apply a light layer of concealer on top. This will shield the BB cream from UV light, while also blending it together to give you an even skin tone and complexion.
How do I Choose a BB Cream Shade?
Choosing shades is difficult, because out of the eight billion plus people on the planet, it’s rare to find two people with the same skin shade or even a close resemblance.
You have a difficult choice, because many BB creams simply come in light, medium, or hybrid blends. Sometimes medium/dark mixes or other blends, and many different brands have separate ideas on what light truly means.
You might not have more than a few hundred shades to choose from in total, accounting for different brands and their BB cream lineup. That being said, you can do your own.
Do you have a light skin tone, but the brand you’re looking at is a little too light? Is brand B a little too dark even on their lightest shade?
Get both, mix them, and you’re good to go.
The same can be done for other shades of BB cream. You want to find something that’s going to match your skin tone properly, even though it’s going to be covered up with powder and possibly concealer. It won’t blend in properly unless you do everything you can to get a close skin tone.
How Can I Make BB Cream Last All Day?
Use a primer. Primers are the savior of BB cream, because as you know, this isn’t cheap stuff. You want to stretch it for as long as possible without degrading the quality of your appearance as a result.
Using a primer underneath will help your beauty balm stay nice and tight to your skin all throughout the day. Make sure that you choose a quality primer that isn’t going to melt off halfway through the day.
You should have around eight to twelve hours of continuous BB cream application with this. While it’s an option to bring it with you throughout the day in a cosmetics bag, it’s not exactly the best idea.
Beauty balm is temperamental when it comes to high temps. Even if you’re carrying it around with a relatively low outside temperature, close contact with your body in a knapsack or purse can cause it to begin to melt and disform.
Should I Use BB Cream or CC Cream?
BB is beauty balm, while CC is color correcting cream. Beauty balm serves more purposes than CC cream, although it depends on the circumstances.
Continuous application of BB cream can result in long-lasting beautifully nourished skin, whereas CC cream is simply designed like a high-intensity cover-up.
If you apply CC cream, it’s not really doing anything long-term for your skin. Eventually, using BB cream could mean not having to use CC cream for any reason, but it doesn’t work the other way around.
If you’re just looking to cover up blemishes or smooth out your skin tone for events or specific times, then you can use CC cream with great effect. If you want continuously smooth skin and can commit to daily applications, BB cream is what you’re looking for.
Korean BB Cream: Now You Know
Now you know what the difference is between standard BB cream and Korean BB cream, and on top of that, you know how to use it effectively.
Beauty balm does wonders for your skin, hides blemishes, and allows you to look flawless whenever you want. Take your pick (or try out each of the creams we mentioned); you won’t be disappointed.