BB Cream: Korea’s Best Kept Secret to Gorgeous Skin!

Last Updated on June 20, 2021 by Christine Kaaloa

song hye laniege snow
BB Cream Korea is all the rage:  Hallyu actress, Song Hye Gyo, the face of Laniege


Why do Koreans have such luminous and flawless skin?

For a country fixed on skin-deep aesthetics, plastic surgeons, immaculate dress styles, pinpoint-fluffed hair and healthy diets, it stands to consistent logic that Koreans would know how to ‘create’ great-looking skin!

Back in the U.S., I used to spend hours in Sephora, dropping anywhere from $40-$70 on various bottles of moisturizer and spot lightening potions. It was a back-breaking, wallet-splitting chore to maintain my face. Results? As noticeable as having taken a placebo!

Then came “foundation makeup”; a necessity for formal affairs and acting auditions. It went on like a thick mask and had my pores gasping for air! I hated it so much, I wore it, only when absolutely necessary and it came off just as quickly.

BB cream in Korea changed all this.


What is BB cream in Korea?

Like Korean face slimming masks, Korea BB cream  (aka Blemish Base) is one of my fun and naughty beauty secrets (shhhhh!).   In Korea, Korean drama stars use it to get flawless-looking, radiant skin on-screen, but Koreans all over use it to create a clean and clear complexion. In fact, BB cream’s gotten so popular that it’s migrating over to the United States.

BB cream is a 2-in-1 cream, combining Korean skin care and makeup. It goes on like a light foundation, but it has sunscreen, moisturizer, skin brightening, concealer and occasionally, stuff like ‘anti-wrinkle’ or ‘lifting’ cream. My skin seems to like it. It conceals my uneven skin tone and appears smooth and natural.  Best of all, my skin looks 10x more rockstar glamorous than it is!

I’ve used it for the past two years and I’m seriously addicted.


Korean BB Cream whitening: Is it for everyone?

Unfortunately, if you have dark or olive-tanned skin, you’re out of luck. BB cream comes in 2 shades: light beige and natural beige (or light and lighter!). As such, my first discovery of BB cream was a rude awakening. Asia is synonymous with whitening solutions and the halo around BB cream is that it gives “radiance ” to your skin.

How much radiance?

Laneige Snow BB Cream Shades, song hye laniege snow, best bb cream to buy, bb cream in korea, skin care and beauty in korea, hallyu beauty secrets
Shades of Laneige Snow BB Cream

It was night. I was leaving the store, where I’d discovered and applied a sample of BB cream to my face. I accidentally caught a glimpse of myself in a passing window and gaping shock, accompanied my twinge of horror. My face literally, glowed in the dark. I was a floating head! My face didn’t look real on my body; it was my Michael Jackson moment.

However, the next day, I went back, changed my color to the shade darker and applied a thinner spread. It blended quickly into my skin, creating a perfectly smooth, clear and radiant (but natural-looking) surface.

That was it. I was addicted.

song hye gyo bb cream, whitening products
BB cream Korea



BB cream in Korea: Can men wear BB Cream?

Yes and though ‘men wearing makeup’ feels wrong (by western standards), you’ll love the skin on the men who do…  Perhaps part of its draw has to do with its popular Hallyu cover boys. Boys over Flowers stars Lee Min Ho represents Etude House, Kim Hyun Joong is the flawless face for The Face Shop and  Secret Garden‘s Hyun Bin is one of the many poster boys for Laniege. Yum!


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Boys Over Flowers Korea star Lee Min Ho endorses BB Cream for Etude House.


Which Korean BB Cream do I prefer?

There are many types of Korean BB creams out there and under different brands. Your options are bountiful.

I like Face Shop’s Face It BB cream and Face Shop’s Face It Power Perfection BB Creamirtgt0d8 20amplam2ampo2ampaB006FSOQZ62 (review here). It goes on light, while forming a smooth, even-toned and radiant palette. I barely know it’s there, to the point, I occasionally forget to wash it off!

faceshop face it whitening bb cream, song hye laniege snow, best bb cream to buy, best bb cream in korea, skin care and beauty in korea, hallyu beauty secrets, the best faceshop bb cream
The Faceshop Face It Dual BB cream with moisturizer, brightening and SPF 22
FAceshop's BB cream power perfection, most popular bb cream brands, song hye laniege snow, best bb cream to buy, bb cream in korea, skin care and beauty in korea, hallyu beauty secrets
The Faceshop’s BB cream Power Perfection- 3-in-1 : antiwrinkle, whitening, sunscreen, moisture and coverage
Laneige White Plus Renew Snow Crystal Dual Foundation, song hye laniege snow, best bb cream to buy, bb cream in korea, skin care and beauty in korea, hallyu beauty secrets
Amore Pacific Laneige White Plus Renew Snow Crystal Dual Foundation SPF41/PA++ No.23 Sand Beige. Get it on Amazon hereirtgt0d8 20amplam2ampo2ampaB004COKRMQampcamp227245ampcreative3993732. Alternatively, another foundation I use, which isn’t quite BB generation but still packed with glowing goodness I’d swear by. The cap has a concealer stick.


Does prolonged usage improve your skin?

The claim is that BB cream will improve your skin from the inside out, but it’s probably packed with no more toxic junk than other skin products. Nevertheless, my skin feels more firm, moisturized, stronger and resilient. I’ve actually noticed less acne breakouts on my end. My sunspots and freckles are still there, but my acne scars are slow fading.

As a person who’s always hated wearing “makeup”, it’s changed the way I feel, from a zero to a 100. I love the way BB cream makes me look and I love wearing it when I go out. Best of all, it’s made my daily regimen of moisturizer and sunscreen, no longer a chore but an incentive to beauty.

Who doesn’t want gorgeous skin?

With BB cream, I have it.


 Here’s a video on the rage over beauty care products in Korea.

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  • I do hope that this product will at least help me in “glowing” my face skin. Would like o try it thou.

  • […] Click here to read the article I wrote and posted on Grrrl Traveler. […]

  • How I wish I can have also that beautiful face, I will love to buy this cream and try if it is effective…

  • I never thought that my idol Lee Min Ho is using this kind of cream, I will try also this one in order that my wife will watch over with my face…

  • Wait, so does it actually lighten your skin? Or just brighten it? I know in the Middle East it’s hard to find creams that don’t have a whitening agent in them but is that the same in Korea?

    • @Andrea: I’ve used it for 2 years and to your question I can say– No. Aside from when I have it on, it hasn’t lightened my skin or sunspots/freckles (& I was hoping the latter would lighten). But Asia has a lot of whitening products in them, to which I”m very unconvinced that any of them work longer than temporarily.

  • Now I never really knew much about BB Cream before now – and I’ve lived in Korea since 2009! If they could get Won Bin or Tae Yang advertising the stuff, I’d buy it for sure 😉

    Interesting that it seems to help prevent breakouts – my skin’s being going crazy recently. Well, nothing major, but annoying nonetheless. May have to give it a try when I go back next week!

    • @Tom: ha ha.. well, good luck. 😉 If I recall, Won Bin endorses Nature Republic now (which is what Bi-Rain was once the poster boy of until he got drafted into the army). Dunno if he uses it but in all his ads, he definitely has it on. Guys are supposed to be lucky in that they have rougher skin (aka more resilient) but I think with the pressure there is to look good in Korea in general, these K-drama guys must use it when they go out.

  • Fair point about the old tanned and leather faced golden oldies on the beaches of Florida. Worse is if they smoke! Eww.

    But, when I think about them (and I try not to), I have to say I prefer the leather face look to the chemical bleached ladies I saw. But then that’s just me, natural over chemical and all that.

    Yes, I totally get the whole class thing. And, as a whole, it’s not something I like. The “class” thing that is. Again, that’s just me. I’ve seen too many “rich” in SEA profit from the poor. And yes, in the West too. I guess we as humans have done well in equality across the races on that note!

    I think ultimately the whole boob job, nose job, skin tone thing boils down to human nature. A side to it I get, but don’t like. I do think, as much as I like the pretty shiny things in life, that I can look beyond all that to the real person. And not to sound all holier than thou, but yes if given the choice I would choose to have a beautiful face over an ugly one.

    At the end of the day, I can only assume that we as a race have not evolved enough to get over the surface look of things. Perhaps we never will, it’s in our DNA for survival. So maybe then indeed, I am barking the wrong argument.

    Well, there always has to be one out there! 🙂

    • @Dave: I’m going to put out an imaginary “Like” button on your comment and click on it. …. with the exception of the leather faced oldies. Maybe I just haven’t seen your chemically altered ones. 😉

  • Who me, comment on ladies (yea okay, some mens) make up?

    I’ve actually got a near finished article about “Skin Whitening” coming up in the future. I found the whole thing quite disturbing.

    I know BB is something else. But I don’t have any experience of needing such things. Or erm wanting to. But I digress!

    I remember seeing an old SEA lady and a friend in a cafe once. They looked like wax dolls but skin akin to a bulldogs scrotem. Sorry, cruel I know but bear with me. It was due to decades of skin whitening creams and bleaches. They looked so strange as if someone had sucked all the life out of their faces. and hands. Look down at their ankles and you could see natural skin color.

    I myself had difficulty in buying plain old soap in The Philippines. Nearly everything was “Skin bleaching” or spot removal. Even deodorants. Hate the idea.

    Good on you for finding something like BB cream. I’m really hoping it’s not a whitener though!

    As for me wearing it …. yea… I guess you know my answer to that one! 😉

    • @Dave: “Skin akin to a bulldog’s scrotum”… hmmm. Can’t say I’ve examined one close enough to remember what it looks like, but I’ll trust your judgement. =) ha ha… okay, so I’ll rant back at you, just because I like ya!

      Ya know, I do/don’t feel disturbed by Asian skin whitening. True, many things in Asia has got skin whitening and this is a controversial topic for westerners & expats. Westerners may say its “messed up!” They poo poo on it as if boob jobs, anorexia and bulimia wasn’t pregnant to their own culture. They think Asians are dissatisfied w/ being Asian. I’m gonna stand up for my fellow yellow man & say, that’s not it. Light skin in Asia is a status thing. It has to do with ‘class’– the fact, the ‘elite and rich’ never had to work in the fields, so they stayed light; while, farmers and poor laborers had no choice but work in the sun.

      Besides, what human being is ‘completely satisfied’ with how they look? Why do westerners suntan at the beach or going to a tanning salon and pay to look orange? Reviving your ‘bulldog’s scrotum’ have you ever seen those overly tanned older ladies with weathered skin in Florida? Years of sun worship! Scary. 😉

      What of weight-loss solutions, diet pills, “ant-” (anti-cellulite/anti-aging/etc) creams, acne medication, viagara pills and all the products that the tv tells us we need to be happy? Pointing fingers seems very ‘pointless’ in a society which will never be satisfied with its natural self.

      Yes, BB cream has skin whitening (and it’s the Germans, who originally designed BB). Do I believe that actually works? Only when I have it on. I think the ‘whitening’ is kind of your average ‘concealer/coverup’ mixed in.

      ps. I did buy one of those Thai underarm deodorants for a souvenir!

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