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You know your ABCs (of course!)—but do you know the difference between BB cream and CC cream? While both BB creams and CC creams are awesome picks for those days when you want to wear minimal makeup—or you’d just like to cut down on the number of steps in your beauty routine—they’re not quite the same. Why does that matter, though? Well, by understanding the difference between BB cream and CC cream, you’ll be able to pick the right one for your skin care concerns on any given day. If you don’t quite know the difference between BB cream and CC cream, no worries, you’re in luck. Below, we answer the common beauty questions what is BB cream and what is CC cream, how the two products differ, how to use them, and our best BB creams and best CC creams so you can add them to your routine.
Often short for “beauty balm” or “blemish balm,” BB cream first became popular in Korea before gaining buzz across the globe—and for good reason. Essentially, BB cream is makeup formulated with skin care benefits. These benefits can range from sun protection to hydration to shine control, depending on the BB cream formula you use. There are BB creams out there for all different skin types, including oily skin and dry skin.
Since BB creams typically have multiple benefits, they’re multipurpose products—so, when you use one, you can help streamline your beauty routine. What’s more, BB creams generally offer sheerer coverage than foundation. Basically, they’re a great option when you want a little bit of coverage without looking overdone.
Think about BB cream like a souped-up version of a tinted moisturizer. While tinted moisturizers are literally moisturizers that offer a tiny hint of coverage, BB creams go beyond that by offering skin care benefits. BB creams are not meant to provide lots of coverage, as a foundation would. BB cream is skin-first product, meaning it’s meant to hydrate, illuminate, mattify, or whatever else the goal is, whereas the purpose of foundation is to provide full coverage.
When it comes to applying liquid makeup like BB cream, we’re fans of doing so with makeup blenders as opposed to fingers, as this can provide a more seamless finish, and it’s also more hygienic. Squeeze a small amount of BB cream onto a makeup blender, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender, and bounce and blend it onto your skin. That being said, you can totally use your fingers to apply a BB cream—just make sure to wash your hands beforehand!
Since BB creams are very low maintenance, keep the rest of your makeup look subdued as well. After you’re done applying BB cream, brush your eyebrows with the L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Boost & Set Brow Mascara in Clear, coat your lashes with the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, and paint your lips with the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Shine Lipstick in Dazzling Doe. The ultimate no makeup, makeup look with minimal effort required!
The best thing about BB cream is that there really isn’t a bad time to use one. But, they’re especially useful on days when you don’t want a ton of coverage yet still want to look put-together. BB cream is also a great option on days when you’re rushing to get ready. Because they have multiple uses, you can skip primer and moisturizer and just apply BB cream. It doesn’t get much easier than that! That being said, if your BB cream isn’t formulated with broad-spectrum sunscreen, then you should apply a sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF underneath it.
Ready to add a BB cream to your beauty routine? We’ve got you covered with plenty of options. Below are our three best BB creams, so pick the one that best suits your skin needs, then get to applying!
If your complexion looks tired…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 has four actions in one: it revives the look of tired skin, corrects the look of skin for an even-looking complexion, hydrates for all-day moisture, and perfects the look of your complexion.
If your complexion looks red…try the L’Oréal Paris Magic BB Anti-Redness (For All Skin Types). This BB cream has a green tint that transforms to a universal shade to help reduce the look of redness. Like the BB cream above, this one also has four benefits in one: it neutralizes the look of redness, corrects the appearance of skin for an even-looking complexion, hydrates, and perfects.
If you want an everyday BB cream…try the L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream. This BB cream is formulated with encapsulated pigments infused in an ultra-light lotion with antioxidant vitamin E. It primes to smooth skin’s texture, corrections for an even-looking complexion, hydrates for long-lasting moisture, and perfects to hide imperfections.
Generally, CC cream usually stands for color correcting cream or complexion corrector cream. Like BB cream, CC cream can often be multipurpose—however, unlike BB cream, CC cream usually provides a little more coverage to disguise imperfections like dark spots or redness. Because CC creams offer more coverage than BB creams, they tend to have thicker, heavier formulas. CC cream is often formulated for aging skin that may need more coverage.
Think about how color corrector works and you’ll get the gist of CC cream: It neutralizes the appearance of imperfections by utilizing colors opposite each other on the color wheel (i.e. green cancels out red). Instead of having to use a separate color correcting concealer and foundation, you can take care of all your color correcting and coverage needs with one product—CC cream. And depending on which CC cream you decide to use, it may also be able to help brighten the appearance of your skin.
Start by working your way through your skin care routine, cleansing and moisturizing first. Then, you’re ready to move on. CC cream is a liquid product, just like BB cream—so, you can either apply it with your fingers or with a makeup blender. The choice is up to you! Blending is crucial either way for a seamless finish, so whether you decide to apply CC cream with your hands or a makeup blender, smooth it onto your face in circular motions and build coverage as needed.
Similar to BB cream, CC cream is useful on days when you don’t want to wear a ton of makeup or are pressed for time and don’t want to work your way through a complicated skin care and makeup routine. Still, CC cream does offer more coverage than BB cream, so if you do have areas that need more coverage, than CC cream is the better option. Use CC cream on days when you’d normally where foundation and reap the added skin care benefits that CC cream can provide. Look for a CC cream that’s formulated with broad-spectrum sunscreen so that you can cut out another step in your daily beauty routine.
The L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift CC Cream is formulated with color capsules in a weightless nourishing texture to help correct the look of dullness and even out the appearance of skin tone and texture. It’s available in two shades: light/medium and medium/deep, so choose the one that most closely matches your skin tone. This CC cream is a great pick for mature skin types. Use it in conjunction with the L’Oréal Paris Radiance Cheek Duo, which you can apply with a fluffy makeup brush to highlight and add depth and dimension to your cheeks. Finish with a touch of mascara to pull everything together and you’re good to go for the day!
So, there you have it: You officially understand the difference between BB cream and CC cream, and now you know when (and how) to use each one for the best end result. Ready to take your beauty knowledge beyond BB cream and CC cream? Next, head on over to our article, Tinted Moisturizer vs. BB Cream vs. Foundation: What’s the Difference?