If you enjoy makeup shopping, you have probably stumbled across BB Creams and CC Creams in the makeup aisle at the store. They are usually nestled among the foundations, concealers, and tinted moisturizers. Both BB creams and CC creams offer a level of coverage (but are lighter than foundations). Many brands also contain essential ingredients such as SPF, antioxidants, and vital minerals that aid skin health. Both types of cream gained global popularity in Asia and have since taken the world by storm.

These alphabet creams are a more advanced version of the tinted moisturizer and are an excellent choice for daily wear when you don’t want to don a full face of makeup and want a more natural look.

Here we explore the differences (and similarities) between bb cream and cc cream and discuss which products are best suited for skin types. When it comes to the cosmeceuticals industry (skincare and makeup), these creams are considered by many as a must-have product.

Let’s take a look!

Woman applying cc cream

What is BB Cream?

BB cream stands for blemish balm, beauty balm, or blemish base and is essentially a much lighter type of foundation, offering other beauty benefits such as sun protection and moisturization. A group of German dermatologists first invented BB cream in the 1950s to help patients cover their scars after laser treatments. Fifty years later, it gleaned global fame when it became popular in the Korean beauty world (a country known for its sophisticated skincare systems). BB creams subsequently enjoy a prominent place in the beauty world, and thanks to their various skin and beauty benefits, they probably won’t go out of style soon.

Unlike foundations or concealers, which are individual products, BB creams offer an array of benefits in one product, saving people money and time. Many BB creams, which are lightly tinted, include:

  • Moisturizer
  • Acne and blemish fitting ingredients (such as antioxidants)
  • Sun protection (the golden standard in the beauty world!). Nonetheless, always check the level of protection as you might need to add a stronger broad-spectrum SPF to your skincare regime.

More complex varieties have other skin-nourishing ingredients such as collagen boosters, peptides, and primer. These ingredients can fight the aging process and enhance the luminosity of your skin. BB cream is a great formula if you are looking for lightweight coverage and some skin healing benefits. Its hydrating elements are also fabulous for those with dry skin.

Pros & Cons of BB Cream

Like most other beauty products, there are several pros and cons when it comes to BB cream. It’s a good idea to explore these before deciding if you will integrate a product into your skincare regime, and choosing BB cream or not will largely depend on your skin type.

Pros:

  • Locks in moisture: BB cream usually contains moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera or hyaluronic acid that will keep your skin hydrated
  • Supports skin barrier: It can protect and support the skin barrier, keeping it supple and ensuring ultimate product penetration and skin health.
  • Fights oxidative stress: Thanks to ingredients like vitamin E, BB creams can fight the aging process and help inflammation.
  • Sun protection: Some creams contain SPF and can protect skin against UV rays. However, always check your particular product and use a broad spectrum SPF in addition if needed.

Cons:

  • Not suited for acne-prone skin: Unfortunately, BB cream isn’t always the best idea for acne-prone skin, as some of the active ingredients could cause breakouts. Since its emollient, it can also exacerbate oil production.
  • Additional SPF is often needed: While many BB creams have SPF, it might not be enough to offer adequate protection. An extra broad-spectrum SPF is usually needed alongside your BB cream.
  • Light coverage: Since BB cream offers light to medium coverage, it might not actively cover active breakouts and lesions. For this, thicker concealers and foundations are needed.
Woman pampering her face

What is CC Cream?

CC cream stands for color corrector or complexion cream and offers heavier coverage than BB cream. CC cream is better at covering specific areas of concern and works to conceal issues such as :

  • Redness
  • Dull complexion
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Scars caused by acne
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Hyperpigmentation

Much like BB cream, CC creams often boast several skin-healing properties and often contain beneficial ingredients and minerals such as antioxidants, peptides, vitamins, and moisturizing agents. However, since they aim to correct color discrepancies, they are usually lighter in color. Celebrity makeup artist Nico Gulis shares that CC creams “have more of a whipped, light, fluffy feel and finish–kind of the new and improved BB.”

CC Creams also often focus on age-specific concerns, like dark spots.

Interestingly, DD creams are soon set to be the new kid on the block, standing for ‘Dynamic-Do-All’ and serving as a hybrid between both creams.

Pros & Cons of CC Cream

Pros:

  • Offers great general coverage: Since this cream is color correcting, it can provide a fantastic lightweight remedy and fix the appearance of uneven skin tone and pigmentation.
  • Suitable for oily or acne-prone skins: Its lightweight and matte formulation makes it a fantastic choice for anyone prone to breakouts or oily skin.

Cons: 

  • Might not completely cover prominent blemishes: In the case of a prominent blemish or spot, concealer is sometimes needed in conjunction with color-correcting cream.
  • Not always an inclusive range of skin tone options: While the beauty industry is diversifying, many prominent brands only make around 15 color shades.
  • SPF is needed: While many creams contain SPF, you will often need to use an extra SPF under your cc cream.

Which Is Best For Your Skin Type?

  • Oily skin

If you are prone to oily skin, you will enjoy the mattifying effects of CC cream. While BB cream might slip on your skin and make it even oilier, CC cream will take away excess shine. When choosing a CC cream, look for ingredients known to prevent excessive oil, such as charcoal or silica. You can also find oil-free options.

  • Acne-prone skin

CC cream is also a great choice if you are prone to breakouts. Thanks to its lightweight formula, it will cause less havoc on acne-prone skin. Many varieties will also include acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and colloidal clay.

  • Dry skin

Since BB cream is known for its super hydrating properties, BB cream is an excellent choice for those with dry skin and will lock in moisture and hydration thanks to ingredients like hypotonic acid, ceramides, and glycerin.

How are BB and CC Creams Different From Foundations, Concealers, And Tinted Moisturizers?

BB creams and BB creams are hybrid solutions, offering skin-healing benefits and some light coverage. As highlighted above, CC varieties correct color and are better suited for uneven skin tones, dark circles, and general pigmentation. Both creams have some skin-healing ingredients that can heal skin, all the while offering light coverage.

Foundations and concealers are heavier than both creams, often offering full coverage. However, the ingredients can sometimes not be as skin-friendly. If you wear foundation, it is essential to wash your makeup off at the end of the day.

Since foundations are not always moisturizing and don’t always contain SPF, you will also need to use moisturizer, primer, and SPF before using it.

Tinted moisturizers are great if you are looking for hydration and usually offer sheer coverage. However, they might not include the same beneficial properties as BB cream and CC cream or the same coverage as foundation and concealer. You will also need to use SPF.

So, Which One Is For Me?

Skin care is a hugely personal decision, based on your skin type, budget, and preference. If you are looking for lightweight coverage for oily or acne-prone skin or want quick and simple color correction, opt for a CC cream. If you want some extra moisture and hydration and are prone to dry skin, opt for a BB cream. However, if you want full coverage or are going to a big event and want to rock a glam look, foundation and concealer are your best bet.

Just remember to wash them off at the end of the day and keep that skin healthy and hydrated!