If you’re suffering from dry skin despite your best efforts to hydrate and moisturize, you’re not alone. Dry skin is common and can happen for myriad reasons at any age. The truth? Some people are simply genetically prone to dry skin, explains Anna Guanche, MD, a dermatologist at Bella Skin Institute in Calabasas, California.
On the other hand, “some may have a medical condition that can exacerbate dry skin, such as thyroid disease or diabetes, while others may be healing from peels or exfoliating creams, which can lead to dryness and flakes on the skin,” she explains.
You may also notice your skin feeling especially dry during the colder months, thanks to the cold temps, low humidity, harsh winds, and drying indoor heat. All of these things zap the moisture from you skin, says Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist at Skinney Med Spa and clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
If you’re dealing with dry skin for any of these reasons, one of the best products you can own in your beauty arsenal (besides an ultra-hydrating moisturizer) is a BB cream. Short for blemish or beauty balm, these products act as both skin care and makeup because they offer beneficial ingredients like SPF and antioxidants while providing a tint to even out the complexion. Win, win! Most BB creams tend to be lighter than foundations, but heavier than tinted moisturizers.
How to choose the best BB cream for your dry skin
Pull in moisture: Look for humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which attract moisture to hydrate the skin, Dr. King explains.
Lock in hydration: Humectants are no good if you don’t have emollients to seal them in. For this reason, Dr. King also recommends looking for ingredients like petrolatum, ceramides, beeswax, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter to prevent moisture from evaporating.
Go for dewy: Skip matte formulas, which often contain ingredients that absorb oil—not what you want if you’re dealing with dry skin. Instead, look for words like radiant, dewy, glow, and water on the packaging to ensure a creamier formula with a natural-looking finish.
Now that you know the basics, here are the best BB creams for dry skin—from drugstore to high-end—to give your face a healthy, hydrated glow.
Belif Moisturizing Bomb Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50
This BB cushion compact is jam-packed with moisturizing ingredients like ceramides (which create a barrier to prevent moisture loss) and comfrey leaf (an herb with hydrating properties), explains Dr. King. It also contains SPF 50 for an added boost of protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which not only dry your skin out further, but also cause long-term damage.
Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 45
This BB cream is a cult favorite due to its outstanding coverage and hydrating ingredients, like glycerin (a humectant to attract moisture) and dimethicone (to help lock in the moisture). It also contains niacinamide (aka vitamin B3) to target discoloration. The result? A lightweight, dewy finish that doesn’t emphasize dryness and texture
Physicians Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing BB Cream SPF 30
Due to its moisturizing properties, you’ve likely encountered argan oil in your favorite hair care products. But the ingredient also has anti-inflammatory benefits for your skin and helps improve brightness, tone, texture, and elasticity, says Dr. King. “This BB cream also contains glycerin, a good humectant to attract moisture and shea butter and dimethicone to lock in the moisture,” she adds.
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream
If you’re looking for light coverage (read: not cakey at all), try this water gel formula from Maybelline if you have dry skin. It contains zero oils and heavy ingredients. Instead, it utilizes moisture-attracting glycerin, as well as lecithin, an ingredient that locks in hydration because of its fatty acids, explains Dr. King. Bonus: It also contains aloe vera extract to calm inflammation, she says.
Garnier SkinActive BB Cream SPF 15
If you’re going for a smooth, radiant finish, this BB cream from Garnier is a safe bet, thanks to ingredients like glycerin and shea butter. The thicker, creamy formula glides over skin effortlessly, so it won’t cling to any dry patches. The result? A natural, glowing complexion.
Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35
With seven different shades to choose from, all in a lightweight formula, this BB creams leaves the skin looking dewy and youthful. “It contains a number of hydrating ingredients including squalene, urea, and glycerin, as well as titanium to help defend against the sun’s damaging UVA/UVB rays,” says Erum Ilyas, MD, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology.
e.l.f. Cosmetics BB Cream SPF 20
The affordable price tag isn’t the only perk to using this BB cream. It multitasks by priming, protecting, hydrating, and perfecting the skin with a slew of anti-aging and skin-nourishing ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba oil, aloe, and cucumber. “This one has a hydrating base and really gives nice coverage to even out skin imperfections,” says Dr. Ilyas.
Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream
This hydrating BB cream offers a lightweight, buildable coverage to conceal imperfections without that heavy feeling. Glycerin pulls in moisture, vitamin C offers anti-aging benefits, while SPF protects your skin against harmful UV rays. What’s more, it’s noncomedogenic and fragrance free, so it won’t clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.
Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36
Although this tint from Alastin isn’t marketed as a BB cream, it feels and is used like one, with the same lightweight formula and sun protection. “This is one of the most popular products at my office and is used as a light foundation,” says Dr. Guanche. “It builds collagen with TriHex Technology as well as elastin (a protein in your skin) and contains a daily SPF with a beautiful color matching tint.”