The Very Best Of: Tinted Moisturizers & BB Creams


Up until this time last year I was pretty sure I’d found my dream tinted moisturizer. I’d been using Kiehl’s Tinted Moisturizer in Medium near religiously for over two years and could never imagine needing anything else. I was in love! It had the perfect tint, the perfect coverage, it was good for my skin, and could be diluted with Kiehl’s regular moisturizer in the winter when my skin was a little paler and needed some extra oomph. It was the perfect product. And then, and of course you know how this goes, Kiehl’s had to up and discontinue it. Tale as old as time.

Since then I’ve been on the hunt for the best tinted moisturizer (ahem, the second best tinted moisturizer) on the market. I’d nearly found it, when I decided to open up the search up to include BB creams, because shoot, whatever, right? I was certain that with diligence and Babble on my side, I could find another product worth falling in love with. I tried what felt like hundreds (it wasn’t that many) of creams and potions and I’ve narrowed them down to a few favorites. Good options for those with light or heavy coverage needs, with either sensitive or impenetrable skin. Those (as well as my picks for overall best in both categories) are in the slideshow below!

  • image-18 1 of 10
  • L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic BB Cream 2 of 10
    L'Oreal Studio Secrets Magic BB Cream
    This stuff is hilarious and I'm somewhat obsessed with it. It comes out white as a ghost, and the color only appears as it warms against your skin. Also it has the silliest texture. It's almost scratchy? But I swear it has the best coverage out there for a BB Cream: terribly lightweight, but covers even the bags under my eyes. With this one I can sometimes skip the concealer.
    GOOD FOR: Anyone! Get this stuff, it's good. Best overall BB Cream (didn't expect we'd get that out of the way first, did you?)
    Get this magic cream right HERE, $15.
  • Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35 3 of 10
    Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35
    This was the first department store BB Cream I tried and the difference is noticeable. This felt much heavier, matte-er, and potentially like it was working harder to do . . . something . . . for my skin. That said, it was too much coverage for me and my fingers didn't appreciate having to work so hard to blend it in every morning and you'll need to add in some highlighting and contouring with bronzer or blush to give your face back its definition. But! Definitely among the winners I tried.
    GOOD FOR: Those wanting a matte, full coverage BB Cream.
    Get this magic cream right HERE, $51.
  • CHANEL Hydramax + Active Teinte Moisture Tinted Moisturizer 4 of 10
    CHANEL Hydramax + Active Teinte Moisture Tinted Moisturizer
    Switching gears here to talk about a tinted moisturizer. And um, hmm. How to break this to you gently . . . . this stuff costs almost 100 bucks and it's the best hands down? Shoot. I mean. The weight is perfect. It smoothes on like a dream. The coverage is light but also opaque enough to get hte job done. You're able to build on it with more product if you like, but you can also wear it otherwise bare faced and look impeccably fresh and naturally gorgeous. I mean . . .
    GOOD FOR: People with large pockets, and little time in the mornings for fussing with extra make up.
    Get this magic cream right HERE, $95.
  • Garnier Miracle Skin Protector BB Cream 5 of 10
    Garnier Miracle Skin Protector BB Cream
    Of all of the BB Creams I tried, this was my least favorite. It smells really good, but in a way that you know isn't terribly good for you. It has the highest number of chemical ingredients of all of the BB Creams. It does a good job at providing coverage (with just the right hint of dewey sheen) but at what cost? I used it for a week and didn't break out, but I felt lucky, like I dodged a bullet.
    GOOD FOR: Those for whom a good-smelling face is a top priority, and those who's skin is all but impervious to breaking out..
    Get this magic cream right HERE, $10.
  • Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream 6 of 10
    Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream
    I give this one a solid "Meh."
    GOOD FOR: Those who just need a cream, don't care what it does, just has to moisturize and provide a little coverage and not cost ridiculous amounts of money.
    Get this magic cream right HERE, $14.
  • Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream 7 of 10
    Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream
    I may be in the minority here, but the fact is, I'm not a huge Smashbox fan. This felt like too much all at once, for me.
    GOOD FOR: Troubled skin that needs the extra coverage, or make up junkies who really care about a great make up primer. (PS I'm aware that Smashbox has, like, a million different BB Creams that all do a million different things. I only tried this one because I feel like Smashbox is just way outta my league as an amateur make up wearer ;).
    Get this magic cream right HERE, $39.
  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer 8 of 10
    NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
    I do like this product, though it hasn't been my favorite. It's been tricky for me to get the shade just right, and for a tinted moisturizer, this stuff has heft. Maybe a little too much heft. I like something a little lighter.
    GOOD FOR: Tinted moisturizer fans who don't want to wear concealer, too, and also have a good handle on matching their skintone to products, cause I had to buy two to mix in order to get the right color and that's just too much hassle for what's supposed to be a time saver product.
    Get this magic cream right HERE, $42.
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 9 of 10
    Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
    At first I HATED this stuff. Too sheer, too shiny, not enough coverage, and don't even think about wearing bronzer on top of it . . . but then I stopped wearing bronzer and suddenly I see the appeal. This is the one I've been using lately and I'm really satisfied with how dewey and fresh my skin looks when I pair this with a sheer cream blush.
    GOOD FOR: Those wanting the lightest touch of coverage, you'll definitely need a good concealer for trouble spots. Get this magic cream right HERE, $20.
  • e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 10 of 10
    e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
    I will never get over just how good e.l.f. is at knocking off the big guys and making a product just as good as the original. This one has all the benefits of the NARS tinted moisturizer without the cost. Four dollars, are you kidding me?
    GOOD FOR: The budget minded, those in a hurry who happen to find themselves at Target in the make up aisle, those who enjoy sticking it to the man. ;)
    Get this magic cream right HERE, $4.