We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
In full transparency, while doing my research, finding good, shade-inclusive BB creams was not an easy task. Needless to say, more work most definitely needs to be done to diversify the options available for women of color. Now that that's out of the way, let's move on to what you're looking for: formulas fit for brown girls. BB creams are essentially for the in-betweeners. You know, those who aren't exactly into full-coverage formulas but still appreciate a bit of help with their complexion. The best thing about BB creams—or beauty balms, or blemish balms—is that they're made with a skin-first approach.
BB creams spoil your skin with good stuff like SPF, antioxidants, and lots and lots of hydration, and those are the key components to look for when choosing one. They're basically a cold-month staple and will keep your skin glistening at all times. Most of the formulas are cushiony-soft and creamy, allowing you to easily blend some of them in with your hands.
Below are our top picks for the best BB creams for dark skin tones.
Best Overall: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30
If it's impossible for you to pick between a BB cream, CC cream, and tinted moisturizer, this multitasking balm could be what you've been waiting for. It has a gel-like feel on the skin and one of the widest ranges of shades on the market. BareMinerals keeps it consistent with natural formulas free of fragrance and harmful ingredients.
Best for Oily Skin: CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream
This offers up a flawless veil of coverage for a comfy matte finish. It's meant to smooth out your skin without any added shine to keep oil production in check.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Clinique Acne Solutions BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40
When you can't seem to catch a break from acne or a shiny T-zone, reach for this mattifying BB cream, which is made specifically for solving those exact skin concerns. You can expect light to medium coverage that does a good job at concealing imperfections but will make you forget it's there.
Best for Dark Spots: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
NARS has always been brown girl–friendly. This soft, velvety texture is good for hiding any signs of discoloration or dark spots as well as disguising fine lines and wrinkles.
Best Drugstore: IMAN Cosmetics Skin Tone Evener BB Crème
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body, including the skin, but we cannot produce it on our own. For the skin, it helps to boost collagen, lighten discoloration, and fight free radicals.
Iman has always had the brown girls covered with her immaculate, shade-inclusive line. This BB cream is no different, and you can trust that its healthy lineup of ingredients is fit for even the most sensitive skin. It's a paraben-free mixture made with a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants so your skin will maintain a youthful, lit-from-within look.
Best Sheer Coverage: Black Radiance True Complexion BB Cream SPF 15
This beauty balm was formulated specifically to suit darker skin tones with skin-enriching ingredients that meld this makeup product into a skincare product. Its oil-free, lightweight coverage leaves a sheer, yet buildable finish full of SPF 15. You're free to use this as an allover complexion booster or to spot-treat areas that need extra love.
Best Dewy Finish: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35
Emollients serve as softening and moisture-locking agents, like kinds of butter, oils, esters, lipids, and fatty acids. It can also be used to describe a category of products that contain these ingredients, like lotions, creams, and ointments.
Smashbox doesn't play around when it comes to coverage. This BB cream will give you that natural-looking, I-woke-up-like-this glow thanks to the radiance you'll receive from its emollients and optical pearl pigments. Layer on as much or as little as you like. The texture is so creamy you can even use your hands.
Best Splurge: Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35
Bobbi Brown kept all shades top of mind with this hydrating cream. Cloak your skin in moisture with all of the emollients packed in this tube, which is essentially a shot of brightness for your skin. It has a dewy consistency that'll keep sun damage at bay.
Best CC Cream: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
Although it's technically a CC cream, this gives your skin the warmest hug of coverage to create that your-skin-but-better effect we all so desperately crave. It does an exceptional job at evening out your skin tone and works overtime with SPF 50 and anti-aging benefits.
What to Look For in a BB Cream For Dark Skin Tones
Because this is a product that you'll be placing all over your face, having your BB cream contain SPF will save you from needing a separate item for that too. Yes, you need SPF even in colder months, and even if your skin tone isn't prone to ever burning. And though skin cancer is less prominent in people with darker skin tones, outcomes are often worse because it's caught later.
This ingredient category is beloved by both manufacturers of skincare and users alike due to how visible results can be. Antioxidants such as vitamin C, niacinamide, and vitamin E can all lead to brighter and healthier looking skin. Dermatologist and associate professor of Dermatology at Yale School of Medicine Dr. Mona Gohara says that ""Antioxidants are substances that are a crucial part of everyone's skincare routine because they are the hardest working ingredient in the game."
For skin to look glowing and healthy, which BB creams help to do, it needs to be properly hydrated and moisturized. Choosing a BB cream that contains hydrating ingredients will make that an easier process, and may yield smoother looking results. Provided your BB cream is moisturizing enough, you may be able to use less moisturizer.
Is BB cream suitable for dark skin?
Yes, BB creams are suitable for all skin types. They may be sold in more shades for lighter skin tones, but fortunately there are progressively more available for darker skin shades. Unlike foundations, which are sold in dozens of shades, BB creams tend to come in only a handful of colors.
Is BB cream good for beginners?
BB cream is a great choice for those who are just getting used to and educated about how to apply makeup. Celebrity makeup artist Sir John says that "the best way to apply BB cream would be with your hands. A brush isn't necessary as you don't have as much coverage that needs to be blended."
Can I wear BB cream alone?
Definitely! One of the best things about these creams is that they are lighter than foundation but still provide coverage and give your face a smoother, more evenly toned appearance. You do not need to wear additional products on top of them if you don't want to.