Beauty balms—more commonly referred to as BB creams—are all-in-one skincare routines. They do it all (almost literally!), providing a really quite effortless route to achieving that flawless model-esque look every single day. They offer moisturizing, priming, light coverage, anti-ageing *and* UV protection, with their CC cream counterparts being toned-up on the coverage and toned-down on the skincare properties. Tinted moisturizers deliver the inverse of that, generally being more tuned towards the skincare side of things.
As with every other French skincare and makeup product, the French touch on BB creams is sublime. Simple to the point of maximum efficacy and tolerability, and higher quality from packaging to ingredients than any other.
Deciding which one is best for you, though, depends on your budget, goals, and skin type. Our top 10 picks narrow down the best French BB cream (as well as the best French CC cream and best French tinted moisturizer) based on each of these factors. Enjoy!
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#1 — Our Favourite French BB Cream
A BB cream is your secret to achieving that flawless, no-makeup makeup look with every application. Skip the moisturizer step, skip the primer step, skip the sunscreen step, skip the makeup step, effortlessly jump straight to flawless skin every morning with a high-quality beauty balm.
Our favourite is from the lesser-known—but rapidly growing—brand Laura Mercier (featured in our Best French Makeup Brands 2021 post!)
Although technically identified as a 'tinted moisturizer,' Laura Mercier's Natural Skin Perfector truly is a beauty balm in every sense of the term. This multitasking blend of skincare and makeup blurs imperfections with a sheer hint of coverage, improving your skin over time thanks to its hydrating complex and antioxidant infusion, not to mention a broad spectrum SPF30 sunblock! All in one!
We are *obsessed* with this French BB cream; if there was a rank above #1 favourite, we would award it to this.
#2 — Most Popular French BB Cream
Okay, okay, we've already taken a couple of liberties in this post (the following product is strictly French Canadian, as opposed to French) but, we promise it's for good reason! Thousands upon thousands of women globally have begun to use Marcelle's BB Cream Golden Glow and have not looked back - other than to leave rave reviews all across the internet, of course!
The oil-free, gluten-free, hypoallergenic formula boasts such an outrageous collection of benefits that, had it not had such a cult following and stellar set of reviews, you'd have been forgiven for thinking it was too good to be true! From the very first application of the BB Cream Golden Glow you can expect:
- A smooth, dewy complexion;
- Hydrated and soothed skin;
- Evened tone & imperfections lightly masked;
- Shine completely under control;
- And a radiant, healthy glow thanks to light-reflecting pigments.
It features a universal shade, meaning that you don't even have to stress about finding 'your' shade to get the most out of this glorious product. An absolute perfect *must-have*.
#3 — Best Overall French BB Cream
Bourjois, yet another lesser-known French makeup brand delivering big-time on the global stage; this is no coincidence, though. BB creams are a relatively newer trend (originating from K-Beauty), meaning that it was always going to be on the smaller, more agile brands to take the reigns initially.
Bourjois' Healthy Mix BB Cream is far and away the best overall French BB cream due to its overperformance in *every* subcategory. It excels as a foundation, yielding a gorgeously natural, fresh complexion, and its ultra-lightweight moisturizing, hydrating and vitamin-enhanced formula boosts radiance like no other. Expect a bright, awake, anti-fatigued look every single application and a lovely, fruity scent to along with it.
#4 — Best Luxury French BB Cream
Considering beauty balms enable you to shelf 90% of your current beauty routine, we *highly* recommend re-allocating that newly freed-up budget straight into the highest-quality, most luxurious BB cream money can buy. Look no further than the ultimate in blissful sumptuosity, the Hydra Zen BB Cream by Lancome.
Enhanced with Lancome's exclusive 'Neurocalm' technology, it is an anti-stress, soothing, multi-benefit tinted cream that in a single step moisturizes, protects, unifies, boosts radiance and conceals skin imperfections. An illuminating natural veil of mineral pigments ensures a unified, even, and naturally glowing complexion. You won't find a higher-quality French BB cream without sacrificing in one area or another.
#5 — Best Budget French BB Cream
Affordable makeup & skincare tends to be associated with low-quality ingredients and poor skin reactions, but you can rest assured that with French beauty brands, this is absolutely not the case. L'Oreal's Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream is a prime example.
For just a few dollars, enjoy *all* the benefits of its dearer counterparts: hydrated, moisturized, protected and soothed skin, an evened complexion with corrected imperfections, and a flawless, bare-skinned finish.
#6 — Best French Pharmacy BB Cream
French pharmacy skincare is a haven for all skin types due to its famously gentle and simplistic approach. Regardless of having dry, sensitive, oily or problematic skin, the uncomplicated formulas on offer from French pharmacy brands provide effortless solutions for achieving that coveted radiant, healthy glow without breaking the bank.
Yves Rocher (featured in our Best French Skincare Brands 2021 post) has offered its take on the BB cream trend in the form of the BB Peau Parfaite. As you would expect from a pharmacie product, its ingredients are all from natural origin, and it has been rigorously dermatologically tested, offering six core functions:
- Immediately moisturizes your skin;
- Perfectly evens out your complexion;
- Refreshes your complexion;
- Immediately smoothes skin texture;
- Revives the radiance of the complexion for a 100% natural effect;
- And enhances the natural beauty of skin.
Flawlessly beautify your skin in a single step, with this gorgeously light, melting, French pharmacy beauty balm.
#7 — Best French Tinted Moisturizer
As we glanced over in the introduction, tinted moisturizers are essentially beauty balms but with added emphasis on the skincare benefits and much sheerer coverage. You might opt for one over a BB cream when you need or want less coverage but would still like to combine skincare steps and flaunt an enviable radiant glow.
Sisley's Phyto-Hydra Teint represents a new generation of tinted skincare, and wow, what an ambassador it is. Combining the effectiveness of daily skincare with a veil of colour thanks to its all-in-one formula, it hydrates, perfects, and protects thanks to a 'Beauty Booster' complex and a 'Healthy Skin' cocktail of potent active ingredients. Your quest for the perfect moisturizer—let alone tinted moisturizer—ends with this.
#8-10 — Best French CC Creams
The CC in 'CC cream' stands for "colour correcting" or "complexion correcting". They generally provide a bit more coverage than BB creams but remain lighter than foundation, and are best used by those with sallow skin or age spots. While BB creams are geared more towards preventing blemishes and maintaining healthy skin, CC creams are specifically designed to prime, conceal, and colour correct.
The best CC creams come in the form of sister products to the best BB creams, hence allow us to introduce Bourjois' 123 Perfect CC Cream (sister to #3) and Lancome's UV Expert Mineral CC Cream (sister to #4). They are multi-tasking, colour-correcting, full-coverage CC Creams with physical sunscreen, that provide 24-hour skin hydration for a luminous finish, or as we like to call them: skin-smoothing filters in a bottle.
Last but certainly not least is By Terry's luxury CC cream option: the Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream. It offers an instantly unified, smooth, luminous, and plump complexion, with your skin becoming increasingly beautiful and flawless with *every* application.
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With over 10+ years of experience in skincare, you can rest assured that our curation is accurate, fact-checked and most importantly: we will only ever recommend products that truly work.