We tested each BB cream for the following:
Updated: March 22, 2022
She's a freelance hair and makeup artist and an expert in aromatherapy certified by the Aroma Environment Association of Japan. She also pens beauty columns. She studied under Mr. Hiroki Murooka from the hair and makeup studio ThreePEACE for four years before going independent.
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While BB creams were made popular in Korea, they differ slightly from Japanese BB creams. Japanese BB creams tend to have a more fluid, watery texture than their Korean or Western counterparts, similar to that of a sunscreen lotion.
It's also worth noting that Japanese BB creams tend to have warmer, yellow undertones rather than brighter, pink hues often found in Korean BB creams.
Additionally, when mentioning sunscreen, it's worth noting that Japanese products with UV protection not only have an SPF rating, but also a PA rating. To explain this briefly, SPF gauges how well you’ll be protected from ultraviolet B waves (which cause sunburn), while PA filters out ultraviolet A rays (which cause tanning). Japanese sunscreens, as well as BB creams, list both these ratings, as they protect against different UV rays.
The PA system was developed in Japan in 1996, based on the persistent pigment darkening (PPD) evaluation method, and is used to rate how well a product protects against tanning.
Additionally, Japanese BB creams generally have little to no fragrance, making them fairly easy to use in combination with other products, since they won't clash with other products that do have fragrance.
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MAQuillAGE Dramatic Cover Jelly BB
The Best Japanese BB Cream for All
An Instantly Moisturizing BB Cream for Dry Skin
MAQuillAGE Dramatic Nude Jelly BB
A Smudge-Resistant, Natural-Looking Finish
d Program Allerbarrier Essence BBN
Excellent Coverage and a Great Texture
Prior Gel Cream Foundation BB
Smoothes Out Imperfections and Erases Blemishes
Mama Butter BB Cream
Subtle but Concealing and Durable
Integrate Pro Finish BB
A Soft and Smooth Texture With a Matte Finish
Only Minerals Mineral Essence BB Cream
Great Pore Coverage and Finish, but Slightly Difficult to Spread
Maikohan BB Cream
Best BB Cream that Balances Moisturizing Ability and Smudge Resistance
Best for a No-Makeup Look, but Not the Most Concealing
Shiseido's MAQuillAGE Dramatic Cover Jelly BB is targeted at those who want to thoroughly cover their blemishes. Thanks to its abundant moisturizing ingredients, this BB cream creates a thin coating on the skin that doesn't rub off easily.
It naturally conceals uneven pores and instantly covers up redness in the cheeks, creating a natural-looking sheen that covers everything up without looking caked on. On top of that, even after sitting in front of a steamer, it didn't budge at all, nor transferred any color to our tissue, earning it high marks in the smudge resistance test.
This BB cream has a gel-like texture which allows it to spread easily and smoothly. When applied, it feels so thin that it's almost difficult to tell where you applied it. Given its incredibly high coverage and its natural finish, as well as its resistance to smudging, this is one BB cream to definitely consider.
Chifure's BB Cream is intended to do it all after using a moisturizing toner. Since it also acts as an emulsion and moisturizing cream, it covers both skincare and base makeup in one package.
This BB cream is best for those who want a natural-looking glow since this product delivers a moist-looking finish that blends well into the skin. The parts that got the most steam in our test did transfer a bit of color onto our tissue, but we would say this is overall a pretty resilient BB cream.
Although it has a slightly thicker texture, it can be spread evenly and easily, neatly concealing blemishes. While it does conceal pores well, it wasn't able to do it in a single coat, so we recommend layering the BB cream for spots you'd particularly like to conceal. This BB cream is best for the dryer months or for those who absolutely don't want their makeup to get smudged.
MAQuillAGE's Dramatic Nude Jelly BB delivers natural-looking coverage that makes your skin look healthy and clear. This thin and moisturizing cream neatly covers pores, filling in any unevenness to create even, dewy-looking skin. It also covers up redness, but some blemishes were still visible, meaning its blemish coverage leaves a little to be desired.
It's resilient to moisture and friction as well, with a very small amount transferring to our tissue. However, it is capable of maintaining its finish for the most part. Moreover, a word of warning: since it's only available in one light color, this may not be the best product for those with darker skin, as it can look too pale.
Shiseido's d Program Allerbarrier Essence BBN is a BB cream formulated for sensitive skin and protects against pollen, dust, and other microparticles in the air. While the liquid itself is slightly thick, it can be spread smoothly with no friction across the face. It also blends into the skin well, feeling almost like it melts in, resulting in a natural, slightly dewy-looking skin.
It also has great coverage, neatly covering up pores, redness, and blemishes without looking too thick, minimizing any stress on the skin. However, it's not the most resilient to moisture, with our steamer creating lumps in the finish, with some BB cream near the tip of the nose and cheeks transferring onto our tissue.
Shiseido's Prior is a brand that's popular among those in their 40s and 50s, and its BB cream is formulated for those who are starting to show signs of aging. This BB cream earned high scores in both our pore and blemish coverage tests, naturally concealing even the most prominent pores.
While it didn't offer the dewiest finish, we liked how natural it looked. Moreover, its medium-range color, Ocher 2, was slightly dark on particularly fair skin, so be sure to check beforehand what color is likely to work best for you.
The texture of this BB cream is on the firmer side, but it's so easy to spread that this was a non-issue. Moreover, there was hardly any color transfer to our tissue, and we didn't see any signs of smudging caused by our steamer.
BbyE's Mama Butter BB Cream uses ten plant-based ingredients, including organic shea butter, which provides features like long-range UVA protection and blue light protection.
While it delivers a natural and dewy finish, it also balances that with great coverage, neatly concealing more prominent pores like the ones found at the tip of the nose. Additionally, it was able to correct any uneven colors in the skin, but it did leave our testers wanting a little more in terms of acne coverage and its ability to conceal darker blemishes.
When tested against our steamer, there were some barely noticeable clumps, but no color was transferred to our tissue, resulting in no major smudging. Our testers also liked this cream's lavender and geranium scent and its soft and smooth texture.
Shiseido's Integrate Pro Finish BB is formulated with two types of hyaluronic acid as its moisturizing ingredients. It has a smooth and soft texture that can be spread easily, even with a small amount.
It neatly covers pores and evens out your skin tone. We felt that this BB cream smoothed out any unevenness in the skin without feeling like it was clogging our pores and that it concealed blemishes well.
This BB cream brightened our tester's skin and created a beautiful, natural-looking finish. However, since it's more of a matte finish, some might find it to be lacking. When using a steamer, we found some clumping occurred on the surface, but we were surprised that not much of the product transferred to our tissue, meaning it has fairly decent smudge resistance.
Ya-Man's Only Minerals Mineral Essence BB Cream is formulated with minerals and over 90% organic materials. This product, which can be removed with soap, delivers a natural, dewy finish with great coverage. In particular, it earned almost a full score for its pore coverage! Unfortunately, while it was able to conceal all signs of redness, it wasn't able to conceal all blemishes.
We were impressed at this BB cream's resistance to moisture, with almost no visible change caused by our steamer. While some BB cream around the tip of the nose and the edges of the cheeks transferred to our tissue, this is probably within an acceptable range for most.
Finally, while it didn't negatively affect the finish, the cream itself was pretty firm, making it hard to spread. We recommend using a sponge to pat this BB cream onto your skin for best results.
Tokiwa Pharmaceutical's Maikohan BB Cream is formulated with seven moisturizing ingredients and a silky powder that offers a matte finish to craft a natural, subtle, no-makeup look.
It also boasts great smudge resistance, with only the slightest of smudging occurring with our steamer, and only the faintest amount of BB cream transferring from the tip of our tester's nose to our tissue.
Our testers were really fond of how natural the finish was, while still managing to conceal their pores and redness. However, it wasn't the best at covering up blemishes. Moreover, we think it's best that you use a sponge to apply this product since the cream has a particularly heavy and dense texture that makes it really difficult to spread with your fingers.
Orbis's Whitening BB balances skin brightening and makeup thanks to being formulated with persistent vitamin C derivatives. It has a slightly thick texture that's easy to spread and blends in well with the skin, so it feels like you're wearing very little product. The finish is subtle and slightly matte.
However, it's undeniable that it wasn't the most concealing, and the cream would flow right into the pores, making them actually stand out more. Redness and uneven colors were also barely concealed, resulting in many of our testers commenting that it's not enough to complete their base makeup with just this one BB cream.
On the plus side, while there was some slight clumping caused by our steamer, we hardly noticed any color transfer to our tissue, making it pretty durable.
We gathered the 26 most popular Japanese BB Creams from Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme and tested them for how well they finish, smudge resistance, moisture retention, and feel.
When choosing a BB cream, it's crucial to have sufficient pore coverage.
We applied each BB cream to a Japanese tester in her late 30s and had three Japanese women check the coverage. Products that were able to naturally cover up any uneven pores without looking too heavy were given a high score.
BB creams are also great for covering up blemishes on the skin.
Just like how we tested for pore coverage, we applied BB cream to a Japanese tester in her late 30s and had three Japanese women check the coverage. BB creams that were able to conceal blemishes in one go without any unevenness were given high scores.
One important aspect of base makeup is whether or not it can deliver a natural-looking finish. Just as our tests for coverage, we had a Japanese tester in her late 30s apply BB cream. We then had three Japanese women check to see if the finish looked natural.
We checked for the following:
Next, we tested each BB cream for how they held up to smudging.
We had a tester with BB cream applied sit in front of a steamer for a minute. We then checked to see how much BB cream had gotten smudged. We then pressed down on the skin with a tissue to see how much BB cream would come off.
BB creams that didn't get smudged at all even after using the steamer, as well as didn't transfer to the tissue were given a high score.
Finally, we checked how easy it was to spread each BB cream since this can largely affect the finish. All 26 products were tested, and those with a smooth texture that spread easily and evenly were given higher scores.
Here, we'll cover some useful tips to know about BB creams and how to use them!
BB creams are useful base makeup products that combine sunscreen, base makeup, and foundation into one convenient package. Some can even be formulated to act as serums and creams.
In addition to their multiple features, though, BB creams also offer high coverage. Initially developed to be used to protect the skin after exfoliation or cover up scars, BB creams are great at concealing blemishes. If you want to cover up blemishes or blackheads, BB creams are best for you.
CC creams are similar to BB creams but lean more towards color control. If you want to brighten up the appearance of your skin and add clarity, as well as achieve a no-makeup look, use CC creams.
For more information on the best Japanese CC creams, check out the link below!
In order to make sure your base makeup doesn't get smudged, it's important to plump up your skin during the skincare stage. Doing so will help your BB cream adhere better to your skin, making it last longer.
If you want to cover up your pores and make sure your makeup doesn't get smudged, after you spread the BB cream, pat it in with a cushion puff or sponge to help the BB cream adhere to the skin.
If your BB cream already has some powder in it, then it's not crucial to use additional face powder, but if you really want to make sure your makeup stays on, I still recommend using it.
Moreover, one of the primary reasons why base makeup gets smudged is dry skin. If your makeup gets really smudged, I recommend removing it all with cleansing water and using either an emulsion or oil to help add moisture to your skin.
It's important to thoroughly moisturize your skin before you apply your base makeup.
The secret to creating a more 3-dimensional appearance with more depth is to adjust the amount of makeup you apply depending on the location.
Start from the center of the face or areas you'd like to cover up, and spread it outward. The area around your eyes, which tends to get smudged easily, as well as your face line or neck, where having too much makeup can make your face awkwardly stand out, doesn't need that much makeup; you can just use whatever is still left on your sponge.
BB creams combine base makeup and foundation in one package, but this actually makes it difficult to create clear-looking skin as well as depth.
When using tools like cushion puffs or brushes, always start from the center, moving outward towards the edges.
If you choose to use a brush, I recommend using a dense one, since it'll absorb excess cream like a sponge.
Sometimes you need a little more coverage than what a BB cream can offer. Or maybe you're looking for the benefits of BB, but a lighter formula that's practically see-through. There are plenty of J-beauty products out that are great for either situation, so check out the articles below for the best!
No. 1：Shiseido｜MAQuillAGE Dramatic Cover Jelly BB
No. 2：Chifure｜BB Cream
No. 3：Shiseido｜MAQuillAGE Dramatic Nude Jelly BB
No. 4：Shiseido｜d Program Allerbarrier Essence BBN
No. 5：Shiseido｜Prior Gel Cream Foundation BB
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