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BB Cream vs. CC Cream: What's the Difference?

They’re very similar, but the key differences between these products matter.
March 24, 2023

Whether you’re new to the world of makeup or a beauty aficionado who stays up-to-date with the hottest and latest trends, you’ve likely been acquainted with BB cream and CC cream. While both creams are awesome picks for days when you want to wear minimal makeup or simply want an alternative to foundation, thinking that they’re interchangeable is a mistake. 

By understanding the difference between these tinted face creams, you’ll be able to pick the right one for your skin care concerns. Below, we’re covering the differences between BB cream and CC cream and how to use each so you can determine which is best to add to your makeup routine.

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What Is BB Cream?

BB cream, short for beauty balm or blemish balm, is a skin-first product, meaning it’s meant to hydrate, illuminate, protect, or mattify the skin. BB cream is basically a multitasking skin care, makeup hybrid, that offers sheerer coverage than foundation. 

When Should I Use BB Cream?

BB creams are super versatile and there are formulas out there for all different skin types. The L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream is formulated with antioxidant vitamin E to smooth the skin’s texture, correct uneven complexion while hydrating and hiding blemishes.

If your complexion looks red — whether from sun damage or acne — try the L’Oréal Paris Magic BB Anti-Redness (For All Skin Types). This BB cream has a green tint that transforms into a universal shade to help reduce the look of redness. Thanks to its multi-benefits, you can skip primer and moisturizer and just apply this one color-changing product.

If your complexion looks dull, try the L’Oréal Paris Magic BB Anti-Fatigue (For All Skin Types). This BB cream is formulated with color-transforming pigments infused in an ultra-light lotion to help revive the appearance of tired skin. It’ll refresh the look of your skin, correct the look of skin for an even-looking complexion, and hydrate for all-day moisture.

How to Use BB Cream

BB cream is great for everyday use or for anyone who loves that no-makeup makeup look, and it’s easy to apply.

1. Start with a makeup primer like the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Pore Minimizer to create an even base for your BB cream.

2. Using your fingers or a makeup sponge, smooth the BB cream onto your face in circular motions and build coverage as needed.

3. If you're pressed for time or are just looking for light coverage, you can stop your makeup routine here. If you want a bit more coverage or want to further conceal trouble spots like acne or hyperpigmentation, you can also add concealer or face powder.

What Is CC Cream?

The “CC” in CC cream stands for color correcting or complexion corrector. It neutralizes the appearance of imperfections by utilizing colors opposite each other on the color wheel (for example, green cancels out red). Instead of using a different color correcting concealer and foundation, you can take care of all your color-correcting, and coverage needs with this one product.

When Should I Use CC Cream? 

On days you don’t want to wear a ton of makeup or are pressed for time, CC cream also comes in handy. Offering more coverage than BB creams, CC creams tend to have thicker, heavier formulas and can help to further disguise imperfections like dark spots. You can also look for a CC cream that’s also formulated with broad-spectrum sunscreen so that you can cut out another step in your daily skin care routine. 

How to Use CC Cream

Adding CC cream into your makeup routine will give you a flawless base without needing to reach for a color corrector first. Here’s how to use it.

1. Apply a makeup primer, like the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter, to further maximize the wear of your CC cream.

2. Since CC cream is a bit thicker than BB cream, you should use a makeup sponge or brush to apply it, building coverage as you see fit.

3. CC cream is meant to seamlessly even the skin, so you can stop your makeup here or proceed with the rest of your routine as usual.

What’s the Difference Between BB Cream and CC Cream?

While similar, CC cream offers more coverage than BB cream. Use BB cream for days you need more hydration, want lighter coverage and a natural look, and grab CC cream when you want more of a color payoff as well as color correction. 

BB Cream vs. CC Cream for Different Skin Types

When it comes to skin type, both BB cream and CC cream can work for dry, oily, acne-prone and mature skin, and you should look at the specific formula and ingredient list to find the best match for you.

For Dry Skin

Since CC cream is a bit thicker than BB cream, dry skin will benefit from using these formulas.

For Oily Skin

BB cream is lightweight, so it’s a good choice for oily skin types that want coverage without that heavy or uncomfortable feeling that some products can give.

For Combination Skin

Combination skin can reach for either BB cream or CC cream, or you can even use both products on different areas of your face based on their needs. For example, BB cream may be best for your T-zone to avoid excess oil there while CC cream could benefit your dry cheeks.

For Mature Skin

The thick formula of CC cream works well with mature skin, and you can also pick a color corrector that will add brightness to your complexion if you deal with dullness.

Acne-Prone Skin

CC cream is a great choice for those with acne-prone skin, since you can choose a color formula that will cancel out the look of your blemishes or acne scars. Try to look for one that’s non-comedogenic so that you don’t clog your pores and further exacerbate your breakouts.


BB Cream vs. Foundation

Foundation offers more coverage than BB cream and it's also a bit more long-lasting because the formula tends to be thicker. Foundations also offer more of a shade range than BB cream. A foundation’s formula needs to be closer to a perfect shade match for your complexion, while BB cream can come in fewer shades because it's meant to almost melt into the skin. Foundation also comes in different forms, including liquid foundation, cream foundation and powder foundation and BB creams and CC creams don’t have such variety.

BB Cream vs. Tinted Moisturizer

The difference between BB cream and tinted moisturizer is also all about the coverage, as BB cream offers a bit more color payoff than tinted moisturizer. Additionally, with tinted moisturizer you have a moisturizer and color product in one, while you'll still need to use a separate face moisturizer when using BB cream that’s not meant to hydrate.

Next: How to Pick the Best Foundation for Your Skin Type

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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