BB Cream vs. CC Cream: Which One is Right for You?
Also referred to as alphabet creams, BB and CC creams have quickly become mainstay heroes in beauty bags around the globe. These multitasking creams are similar to tinted moisturizers and foundation in the sense that they help even out your skin tone. What sets them apart, however, is their ability to also target specific skin issues, including dark spots, sun protection, aging and dryness.
Though BB creams and CC creams have plenty of similarities, they're not quite the same. To help you determine which is best for your skin type and specific needs, we're diving into the BB cream vs. CC cream conversation.
What Is BB Cream?
South Korea has given us one remarkable skin care invention after another, and BB creams are certainly high on the list. Short for "blemish balm" or "beauty balm," BB creams help conceal minor blemishes and hyper-pigmentation while evening out your complexion.
In addition to delivering sheer coverage and a dewy finish, BB creams are formulated with skin-friendly ingredients that work overtime for your skin to improve tone and texture over the long term.
Examples of ingredients you'll find in BB cream include:
- Antioxidants to protect your skin from free radicals
- SPF to shield your skin from the sun's harmful rays
- Hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides
- Brightening ingredients such as licorice root, vitamin C and niacinamide
Who Should Use BB Creams?
Because of its hydrating abilities, BB cream is perfect for people with normal to dry skin types who like a radiant finish and light versus full coverage. Oily skin types can still use BB creams, but you may want to use a mattifying product underneath to help absorb oil. There's no shortage of BB creams to choose from, so select one that fits your needs best.
What Is CC Cream?
CC cream came after the invention of BB cream and is considered a variation of the original. The CC stands for "color control" or "color correcting." Though similar, the biggest difference between BB and CC cream is that the latter tends to deliver fuller coverage. Also, CC cream formulations tend to focus on anti-aging benefits to help smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Examples of ingredients you'll often find in CC cream include:
- Higher levels of SPF (note that you still do need to wear sunscreen underneath)
- Skin firming and smoothing ingredients such as peptides, collagen and ceramides
- Antioxidants to protect against free radical damage
Who Should Use CC Creams?
Because CC creams tend to have more of a matte and medium-coverage finish, they're a great option for people who have oily skin. They're also ideal for mature skin types or anyone who wants to prioritize an anti-aging skin care routine. Again, there are many CC cream formulations available, so choose one that addresses your concerns.
How Are BB and CC Creams Different From Foundation?
Now that you better understand the difference between BB and CC creams, let's explore how both options differ from your standard foundation.
In general, the biggest difference is in the coverage you get. Foundation typically provides a medium to full coverage finish that's going to better conceal larger and darker areas of discoloration. Foundation also tends to come in a wider range of shades, making it easier to match your skin color.
That said, you likely won't get the same skin care "perks" that you do with BB and CC creams. While some foundations do have a built-in SPF, these numbers are often lower than what you'll find in an alphabet cream. Also, you're less likely to find ingredients that help with brightening, wrinkle-smoothing and nourishment.
How Do They Compare to Tinted Moisturizers?
Tinted moisturizers provide very light coverage while hydrating your skin. For that reason, they're a great option for people who want to prioritize moisture while getting a touch of coverage. Similar to foundation, one key drawback of using tinted moisturizers versus a BB or CC cream is that they typically aren't formulated with the same beneficial skin care ingredients.
Can You Combine BB and CC Creams?
Yes, you can use both BB and CC creams together. One method is to apply the BB cream first followed by the CC cream (when in doubt, always apply skin care products from thinnest consistency to thickest). The second option is to combine them first—either on the back of your hand or on a cosmetic palette—before applying with clean fingers or a makeup brush.
Knowing the difference between BB cream vs. CC cream is a rite of passage for any beauty lover who wants to improve their understanding of makeup and skin care. You can now consider yourself an alphabet cream graduate and take comfort in the fact that you're another step closer to a glowing complexion.