• Top 15 Best Japanese BB Creams to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 1
  • Top 15 Best Japanese BB Creams to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 2
  • Top 15 Best Japanese BB Creams to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 3
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  • Top 15 Best Japanese BB Creams to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 5

Top 15 Best Japanese BB Creams to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True!

We’re obsessed with flawless skin here in Japan. Beyond just looking good, we want our skin to actually be good–naturally healthy and free of blemishes–so it makes sense that BB cream, which is makeup and skincare in one, would have firmly taken root here. We’ve got a lot of brands, like Sekkisei, and a lot of formulations.

So you’re probably wondering which BB creams are actually popular and which work. In order to answer that question, we ordered the 15 most popular tubes of BB cream from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also invited two experts and had them compare the following:

1. How Well It Spreads
2. Coverage
3. Finish
4. Longevity

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional BB creams.

This article's specialists

Chie Kato
Rika Fujiwara
  • Last updated: 12-18-2019
  • 8,920 views
Table of Contents

Sorry, but What’s BB Cream Again?

Sorry, but What’s BB Cream Again?
In Japan, we like to say BB cream stands for “blemish balm,” though it more often stands for “beauty balm” in the West. It’s meant to be almost everything: sun protection, primer, foundation, and sometimes concealer in one. To put it another way, it’s all of your base makeup in one tube.
BB cream was invented in the 1950s by a German dermatologist. She wanted coverage that could soothe and protect skin, which could then be used by patients who underwent facial peels. After that, the Korean beauty market adopted the idea and added its own twists, like UV protection and beautifying ingredients. Thus, our modern BB cream was born.
It’s now a worldwide trend and a must-have item for those looking to shorten their makeup routine.

Top 15 Best Japanese BB Creams to Buy Online 2019

Now to introduce the 15 best Japanese BB creams available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall grade ranging from D to A+.

1
SpreadA+
CoverageA+
FinishA
LongevityA
Overall ScoreA+
2
SpreadA+
CoverageA
FinishA+
LongevityB
Overall ScoreA+
3
SpreadB
CoverageA
FinishA
LongevityA
Overall ScoreA
4
SpreadA
CoverageB
FinishB
LongevityB
Overall ScoreB
5
SpreadA
CoverageB
FinishB
LongevityB
Overall ScoreB
6
SpreadA
CoverageC
FinishB
LongevityA
Overall ScoreeB
7

BenowaMedicated Perfect BB Cream

$14.15

SpreadB
CoverageA
FinishB
LongevityC
Overall ScoreB
8
SpreadA
CoverageC
FinishB
LongevityB
Overall ScoreB
9
SpreadC
CoverageC
FinishC
LongevityA+
Overall ScoreC
10
SpreadB
CoverageB
FinishA
LongevityC
Overall ScoreB
11
SpreadB
CoverageB
FinishA
LongevityD
Overall ScoreC
12
SpreadC
CoverageD
FinishC
LongevityC
Overall ScoreC
13
SpreadD
CoverageC
FinishD
LongevityD
Overall ScoreD
14
SpreadC
CoverageD
FinishD
LongevityD
Overall ScoreD
15
SpreadD
CoverageD
FinishD
LongevityD
Overall ScoreD

Compare the Best Japanese BB Creams

Image
1
Kose Sekkisei White BB Cream 1

Kose

2
Kao Curél BB Cream 1

Kao

3
Chifure Chifure BB Cream 1

Chifure

4
Dr. Ci:Labo BB Perfect Cream Enrich-Lift 1

Dr. Ci:Labo

5
Fuji Film Astalift BB Cream 1

Fuji Film

6
Bison Baby Pink BB Cream 1

Bison

7
Benowa Medicated Perfect BB Cream 1

Benowa

8
Canmake Perfect Serum BB Cream 1

Canmake

9
Meishoku Moist Labo BB Essence Cream 1

Meishoku

10
Kanebo KATE Water in Oil BB 1

Kanebo

11
Shiseido INTEGRATE Mineral Base BB 1

Shiseido

12
Satori Premium Perfect BB Cream 1

Satori

13
Freshel UV Skincare BB Cream 1

Freshel

14
Shiseido Recipist Oshiroi Irazu BB Cream 1

Shiseido

15
Cezanne BB Cream 1

Cezanne

Name

Sekkisei White BB Cream

Curél BB Cream

Chifure BB Cream

BB Perfect Cream Enrich-Lift

Astalift BB Cream

Baby Pink BB Cream

Medicated Perfect BB Cream

Perfect Serum BB Cream

Moist Labo BB Essence Cream

KATE Water in Oil BB

INTEGRATE Mineral Base BB

Premium Perfect BB Cream

UV Skincare BB Cream

Recipist Oshiroi Irazu BB Cream

BB Cream

FeaturesThe Number One Recommendati...Contains No Superfluous Ing...If You’re Looking for a Goo...Contains a Lot of Hydrating...Packed with Skin-Healthy In...Has a Translucent Finish, b...Gentle to Skin but Wears of...Great if You’ve Already Got...Good Base for Summer but Pr...Heavy Texture, so It’s a Bi...Covers Well and Blends Read...So Many Little Things Bothe...So Thick That We’re Worried...Using the Wrong Amount Can ...Full Points on Hydration! B...
Price$19.75$12.80$18.00$30.10$37.72$10.12$14.15$7.82$7.08$13.69$8.53$6.03$13.66$7.80$7.86
SpreadA+A+BAAABACBBCDCD
CoverageA+AABBCACCBBDCDD
FinishAA+ABBBBBCAACDDD
LongevityABABBACBA+CDCDDD
Overall ScoreA+A+ABBBBBCBCCDDD
Link

Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge

This time around, we borrowed the expertise of hair and makeup artist Rika Fujiwara and Instagrammer Chie Kato.
Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge
〈Chie Kato and Rika Fujiwara〉
Beauty Gurus

{Left: Former Fashion Retailer and Instagrammer Chie Kato}
She used to work in fashion as a retail clerk (also the time when she started her blog). After she got married, she quit her job in in the fashion industry. Now, as a housewife, she's still very active, Instagramming daily about fashion, cosmetics, and hair. She's got over 100,000 followers.

{Right: Freelance Hair and Makeup Artist Rika Fujiwara}
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.

How We Tested the BB Creams

How We Tested the BB Creams

We tested each BB cream for the following:

Test ①: How Well It Spreads
Test ②: Coverage
Test ③: Finish
Test ④: Longevity

Test ①: How Well It Spreads

Test ①: How Well It Spreads
First, we looked at how well the BB cream spread.

We had our experts try out all 15 products and tell us what they thought about the texture of each.

The Big Takeaway: The Softer the Cream, the More it Spread

The Big Takeaway: The Softer the Cream, the More it Spread
The runnier creams all spread easily. On the other hand, the thicker, more solid creams took some rubbing and warming up–which we worried would damage our skin over time.
One of the big advantages of BB cream is that it combines all your base makeup into one item–and the faster you can smear the cream over your face, the more time you’ll save during busy mornings.
Rika Fujiwara
Freelance Hair and Makeup Artist
Rika Fujiwara
You want BB cream to blend into your skin. Don't go for heavy creams that don't spread well and make it obvious that you're wearing makeup.

Test ②: Coverage

Test ②: Coverage
Next, we looked at coverage.
We applied drops of BB cream the size of a grain of rice to letters printed on a piece of paper. We then looked at which blocked out the letters once they were blended out. We also applied the BB creams to ourselves and made note of whether or not they really hid our blemishes.

The Big Takeaway: As Expected, Heavier BB Creams Provided More Coverage

The Big Takeaway: As Expected, Heavier BB Creams Provided More Coverage
The denser creams gave us the most coverage. Even though we only applied a drop to our sheet of paper, they completely blocked out the print. And they blurred out our blemishes when we tried them on our skin.
On the other hand, all the runny creams felt kind of watered down, so we can’t say they gave us much coverage. We’d apply the exact same amount of a heavier and thicker cream, and the results they produced would be so different, we were left quite surprised.

Test ③: Finish

Test ③: Finish
Next, we had our experts look at the finish of each BB cream.
They applied cream to the back of their hands and told us their impressions–whether the cream gave a nice translucent look to the skin or ended up kind of cakey.

The Big Takeaway: Juicier Formulations Left Us with Porcelain Skin

The Big Takeaway: Juicier Formulations Left Us with Porcelain Skin
The lighter, silkier BB creams blended well into our skin, leaving us with a translucent, dewy look. Plus, they were also hydrating–a perfect balance of skincare and cosmetics.
On the other hand, thicker BB creams often looked cakey. Make sure you pay attention to how much you’re using and apply only a thin layer to your face.
Chie Kato
Former Fashion Retailer and Instagrammer
Chie Kato
When it comes to BB creams, I recommend something dewy and fluid. Avoid thick formulas that don't blend into your skin, as they'll leave you looking cakey.

Test ④: Longevity

Test ④: Longevity
Finally, we gathered members from the editing department and tested for staying power.
We swatched the BB cream onto our arms; we then mixed together horse oil and water to simulate sweat and sprayed each patch of cream three times. Afterwards, we rubbed at the patches with a tissue to see how much wore off.

The Big Takeaway: A Lot of Creams Wore off as Soon as We Sprayed Them

The Big Takeaway: A Lot of Creams Wore off as Soon as We Sprayed Them
Kose’s Sekkisei BB Cream was the winner in this contest of longevity. It did the best at repelling the artificial sweat, and it didn’t start trickling off our arms. Even after we rubbed at it with a tissue, it didn’t leave a noticeable bald patch on our arms.
Then there were tons products that melted as soon as we sprayed them or wore off completely when we went at them with a tissue. But as long as you wear Sekksei BB Cream, a little sweat won’t wash off your makeup.

How to Choose Japanese BB Cream – Buying Guide

Now that we've explained how we tested and compared all the products, we’d now like to introduce four things you should look out for when choosing BB cream.

① You Want Cream that Spreads Easily and Saves You Time

① You Want Cream that Spreads Easily and Saves You Time
Look for BB cream that spreads as smoothly as half-melted butter. If the cream doesn’t spread easily, you’ll start rubbing and tugging at your skin during application, which can damage it over time.
Light and thin or thick and opaque… BB creams come in all kinds of textures, so it’s important to make sure that any product you buy will spread well.

② You Want Cream that Has Good Coverage

② You Want Cream that Has Good Coverage
Look for a BB cream that will hide your blemishes. Most BB cream offers pretty full coverage, but not all creams are going to perform the same.
Of course, not everyone needs the same amount of coverage, so think about what and how much you want to hide before shopping.

③ You Want Cream that Will Last through Water and Sweat

③ You Want Cream that Will Last through Water and Sweat
Sweat is makeup’s worst enemy, especially in summer. If your BB cream’s short-lived, you’ll have to touch up multiple times throughout the day–and it’s a pain. Look for long-wearing BB cream that will stand up to water and sweat.

④ You Want Cream that Will Moisturize

④ You Want Cream that Will Moisturize
One of BB cream’s greatest strengths is its hydrating power. Especially if you have dry skin, check the back of the packaging for hydrating ingredients.
There’s also BB cream that offers full-on sun protection, but these can actually dry out skin. Don’t go for anything too strong.

Know Your Undertone, and It’ll Be Easy to Find a Shade that’s Right for You

Most BB creams in Japan are identified as having a blue base or a yellow base. But here in the States, we like to talk about undertones. Basically, blue bases just refer to cool undertones and yellow bases warm undertones. If you don’t know how to already, let’s talk about how to find your undertone.

If You Have Cool Undertones, You Want Cream that’s Tinted Pink

If You Have Cool Undertones, You Want Cream that’s Tinted Pink
People with cooler undertones are said to have the following characteristics:
  • The veins on your wrist appear blue.
  • When you press down on the pads of your fingers, the tips appear pink or red.
  • (Asians) Your hair is black, and your irises are so dark you can’t really see your pupils.
If this sounds like you, then you probably have cool undertones. That means that you want more pinkish shades. The less yellow a cream appears, the more easily it will blend into your skin.

If You Have Warm Undertones, You Want Cream That’s Tinted Yellow

If You Have Warm Undertones, You Want Cream That’s Tinted Yellow
People with warmer undertones are said to have the following characteristics:
  • The veins on your wrist appear green.
  • When you press down on the pads of your fingers, the tips appear orange or brown.
  • (Asians) Your hair is brownish, and your irises are light enough that you can easily see your pupils.
If this sounds like you, then you probably have warm undertones. That means you want more yellowish shades.

When Should I Use a BB Cream instead of a CC Cream?

When Should I Use a BB Cream instead of a CC Cream?
Both BB creams and CC creams are meant to be all your base makeup–moisturizer, primer, foundation–stuffed into one tube. Their difference, however, lies in the finish.
BB creams are closer to foundation; they’re meant to provide more coverage than CC creams and the finish usually comes out more matte. On the other hand, CC creams are supposed to be more color correcting. They’re therefore more similar to primer than foundation and go on thinner than BB creams.
Therefore, if you’re looking for more coverage, buy BB cream; if you’re looking for something light and natural, buy CC cream. We’ve also tested out a few popular CC creams; if you’re interested, you can visit the article at the link below.

How to Apply BB Cream without it Looking Cakey

How you apply a BB cream will greatly affect the finish it comes out to. Here are some tips and tricks you can try.

Use Just a Pearl-Sized Drop. Layer Cream onto Problem Spots Bit by Bit

Use Just a Pearl-Sized Drop. Layer Cream onto Problem Spots Bit by Bit
You shouldn’t need more than a pearl-sized drop for a single layer. After you’ve squeezed out the right amount, tap the cream onto your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin and spread from the center of your face outwards, starting from the top and moving down.
To hide pores, try tapping the cream in, rather than buffing it. If you don’t plan on using any concealer, then layer the BB cream onto problem spots a little at a time.
If you want to set the cream with a powder, use a bit less powder than recommended; then, it shouldn’t end up looking cakey. Actually, since using a powder will give you a bit more coverage, it’s also a good idea to also apply a thinner layer of BB cream underneath.

Whether You Should Use a Brush or a Sponge Depends on the Kind of Finish You Want

Whether You Should Use a Brush or a Sponge Depends on the Kind of Finish You Want
Depending on whether you use a sponge or a brush, you can get a more natural or matte finish. If you want a natural look, try applying the cream with a foundation sponge. Dip the sponge in the cream and tap it into the skin; this will make it easy to control how much product goes onto your face and leave you with a natural, three-dimensional look.
Brushes can apply an even coat of cream, which leaves you with a flatter, more matte finish. However, it’s easy to over-apply with a brush, so put on just a bit at a time.

Summary

We invited two experts, purchased the 15 most popular tubes of Japanese BB cream, and tested them all.

Next time you’re searching for an item that’ll have you looking put together in a matter of minutes, try out any of the top-ranking creams on this list.
Original by Yukina Matsuda; Translation by Jasmine Li

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