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Over the past five years, BB creams have become a staple in any American beauty girl’s arsenal, but Korean women have been using the stuff for decades. At its core, BB cream (aka beauty balm or blemish balm) is an all-in-one product that combines moisturizer and sunscreen with anti-aging and brightening benefits, plus the coverage of face makeup. “Korean women popularized the BB cream as an alternative to foundation because they were looking for a product that would provide coverage while having a variety of skin-benefiting properties,” explains Charlotte Cho, founder of online Korean beauty shop Soko Glam.
Today, it seems like every American beauty brand has a BB cream, but they’re not all up to Korean women’s standards. That’s why, with the help of Yoon and Cho, we put together this list of BB creams real women in Korea use and love.
Read on for the best Korean BB creams to try now.
Best Overall: Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++
This was one of the first-ever BB creams to come out in Korea, and it has remained wildly popular ever since. “It blends naturally and creates a flawless finish with medium coverage,” says Cho. Plus, you gotta love that high SPF. Cho recommends this product for those with beige and golden skin tones.
Best for Oily Skin: Erborian BB Crème SPF 20
We Byrdie editors are obsessed with this luxurious half-French, half-Korean skincare brand, and as it turns out, so are women in Korea. The secret to this BB cream is that it’s infused with ginseng, which Cho calls “a star Korean skincare ingredient.” The finish is “velvety and loved by oily to combination skin types,” Cho adds. (Intrigued? Find out more about the anti-aging benefits of ginseng.)
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Shangpree Crystal BB Cream
Makeup that effectively fights acne? According to Alicia Yoon, founder of Korean e-boutique Peach & Lily, that’s exactly what this pick does. The miracle-working formula is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, meaning it works to soothe skin and prevent acne from the source. “All the while, it keeps skin totally flawless and glowing,” says Yoon. “It’s a celebrity favorite in Korea.”
Best for Dry Skin: Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream SPF 20
Plump, hydrated, “bouncy” skin is the beauty standard in Korea, and Yoon says this product’s unique formulation helps you achieve just that: “The 80% mint water instantly hydrates and cools, and marine jelly creates that perfect ‘skin bounce’ that’s a part of the K-beauty look,” she says.
Best Multitasker: Skin79 Super+ Beblesh Balm Triple Function BB Cream SPF 30
Cho says this popular pick has Korean beauty cult status. Korean girls love the product’s multitasking formula, which offers brightening and anti-aging properties, in addition to SPF 30. Cho recommends the product for light to medium-light skin tones.
Best Budget: Mizon Snail Repair BB Cream SPF 32 PA+++
Wacky as it may sound, snail extract is a massively popular ingredient in Korean skincare, and this multifunctional BB cream is packed with it. “It helps to heal blemishes while covering blemishes, too!” says Yoon. The product also hydrates and tightens the skin. “It’s easy to see why this BB cream is a crowd-pleaser among skin-savvy Korean women,” Yoon adds.