7 Next-Level BB Creams Korean Women Swear By

Updated 06/03/19

Byrdie

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. In fact, Alicia Yoon, founder of Korean e-boutique Peach & Lily, says BB cream is the one product that represents the very essence of Korean beauty.

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-benefitting properties,” explains Charlotte Cho, founder of online Korean beauty shop Soko Glam.

Koreans highly prioritize their skincare routines and are well-informed about how to care for skin and keep it healthy, which means Korean companies have to work harder to please consumers. With such an informed market, an inferior product just wouldn't make it.

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:

The Original BB Cream

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++ $22
Shop

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.

The Ginseng-Infused BB Cream

Erborian BB Crème $39
Shop

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.)

The Acne-Fighting BB Cream

Shangpree Crystal BB Cream $67
Shop

Makeup that effectively fights acne? According to Yoon, 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.”

The "Bouncy Skin" BB Cream

Holika Holika Aqua Petit jelly BB Cream
Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream $13
Shop

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 percent 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.

The Triple-Action BB Cream

Skin79 BB Super + Balm
Skin79 Super+ Beblesh Balm Triple Functions $21
Shop

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 25. Cho recommends the product for light to medium-light skin tones.

The "Snail Extract" BB Cream

Mizon Snail Repair BB Cream $21
Shop

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. “Men use it, too!”

The Photo-Ready BB Cream

Missha Signature Real Complete BB Cream
Missha Signature Real Complete BB Cream SPF 25 PA++ $29
Shop

The gentle, luxurious texture of this BB cream conforms to your skin, provides great coverage, gives a flawless-looking complexion, and treats wrinkles.

Fascinated by all things Korean beauty? Don’t miss this fascinating story about the cultural backstory of the Korean beauty industry.

Related Stories