The Best Korean BB Creams on the Market

BB Cream History, Tips, and Top Brands

Korean beauty blogger YellowyCream
Image provided by Liah of Yellowy Cream

If you want to know about the biggest thing in beauty right now, just look to Korea. While the Korean beauty industry has been innovating for centuries, it wasn't until a little product called BB cream made a huge splash that cosmetics companies from around the world wanted to know everything there is to know about the Korean approach to beauty products.

What Is BB cream?

"BB" stands for "blemish balm." Virtually anyone can use BB creams, regardless of skin type. The typical BB cream is a bit like foundation, but it's lighter in consistency and coverage—and, most importantly, it's packed with ingredients such as antioxidants, anti-aging substances, sunscreen, and other ingredients that actually enhance the appearance and health of your skin. BB creams are the jack-of-all-trades in the skincare world.

The History of BB Creams

BB creams have had a huge impact on the American beauty market during the past few years. They originated in Korea and took the beauty market there by storm in the 1990s.

Hanskin was the first Korean beauty company to specialize exclusively in BB cream, and its product line exploded in popularity. It dominated the market back then and continues to do so today, even though many competitors have sprung up to challenge its reign. These include high-end brands such as Missha, Etude, and Skinfood, which prompted a second wave of Korean BB creams when their products hit the market.  Eventually, the popularity of BB creams went global, creating yet another surge of popularity.

What Makes Korean BB Creams So Effective?

Koreans care about their skin products much more than they do makeup, and they take their skincare routines seriously. When you think about it, that's a pretty sensible approach. If your skin doesn't look good, your makeup probably won't, either. Not surprisingly, dermatologists are popular in Korea. All in all, Koreans are pretty well-informed about how to care for skin and keep it healthy.

This means Korean companies have to work harder to please consumers. Korean companies tend to be rather specialized, and cosmetic brands aren't quick to hop on the bandwagon and launch a so-so product just to cash in on a trend. With such an informed market, an inferior product just won't make it.

Top Korean BB Cream Brands

With the ongoing popularity and many brands of BB creams, singling out the best is a Herculean task. What works for one person doesn't always work for another. You really need to know your skin type to find the BB cream that best suits your skin. Here are a few of the most highly regarded to start with:

In general, the largest, most influential Korean brands include:

If You Have to Pick Just One ...

Caolion Sensitive BB Cream is very popular among those with sensitive, dry-to-normal skin, particularly if it's prone to acne. Its ingredients are natural, non-chemical, and free of paraben and mineral oil. It's non-comedogenic, so it won't clog pores.

Because it helps calm irritation, it's especially soothing if you're using other products to help with acne or other conditions. Although it feels a bit thick at first, your skin's temperature warms it up quickly so it blends into your skin. It doesn't provide heavy coverage, but the application is very smooth. Once it settles, It's light, comfortable, and fresh, with a dewy finish. You'll hardly feel it on your skin.

Where to Buy Korean BB Creams

Finding Korean BB creams stateside can be a little difficult. You'll usually find them on eBay, but they can be expensive. Instead, try ordering directly from Korean retailers. For example, is the site for a Korean department store that stocks Caolion and other brands at more reasonable prices.

How to Apply BB Cream

There's really no special way to apply BB cream. Using your fingertips affords a natural, no-makeup look. If you want more coverage and a smoother finish, put a bit of BB cream on the back of your hand and apply it with a beauty blender sponge.