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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 anytime 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. Below, we answer two common beauty questions, “what is BB cream” and “what is CC cream.” You’ll learn how the two products differ, how to use them, and how to choose the best product to add to your skin care 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 are multipurpose products, when you use one you’re able to 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 a skin-first product, meaning it’s meant to hydrate, illuminate, mattify, or achieve whatever other skin care goal you may have. The purpose of foundation, on the other hand, is to cover imperfections.
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, then bounce and blend the product onto your skin. That said, you can totally use your fingers to apply a BB cream—just make sure to wash your hands beforehand! (If you like a hands-on approach, check out our article, How to Apply Makeup with Your Hands.)
Regardless of which method you use for application, be sure to carry your BB cream down to your neck to avoid any harsh lines. Even if the product is sheer, you could end up with a face and neck that are two different colors. Eek!
Since BB creams are very low maintenance, keep the rest of your makeup look subdued as well. After you’re done applying BB cream, fill in your eyebrows with the L'Oréal Paris Unbelieva-Brow Longwear Waterproof Brow Gel, then coat your lashes with the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. Lastly, 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!
Editor’s note: If after applying your BB cream you still feel the need for a little more coverage, you can layer a concealer over any imperfections you’d prefer be out of sight. Needing more coverage may also be a sign that you should consider using a CC cream instead—more on that later.
First things first, there’s no bad time to use BB cream. BB creams are, however, 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 for mornings when you’re rushing to get ready. Because BB cream has multiple uses, you can skip primer and moisturizer and just apply one product. 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 a moisturizer with SPF underneath it.
To review, you really can’t go wrong with applying BB cream on any given day. In fact, BB cream is so awesome and versatile that we’ve already rounded up all the different times and ways you can wear it. You can head over to our article, The 8 Best Times to Wear BB Cream and How to Use It, for all the details.
Ready to add a BB cream to your beauty routine? We’ve got you covered with plenty of options. Below are three of our best BB creams, so pick the one that best suits your skin’s 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 into 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, corrects 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 creams typically serve multiple purposes—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 to help smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
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 or offer sun protection.
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 in order to achieve 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 any imperfections you’re looking to keep undercover, then CC cream is the better option. Use CC cream on days when you’d normally wear 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.
When choosing a CC cream, look for a formula that’s both lightweight and nourishing to skin. Most CC creams are available in multiple shades, so you’ll want to choose the shade that’s closest to your own skin tone. Use your CC cream of choice in conjunction with the L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift 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 low maintenance and so pretty!
At this point, it’s safe to say you’re well versed in the differences between BB cream and CC cream, but you may still be wondering whether it’s a good idea to swap out your go-to foundation for one of these complexion products. The answer really depends on your skin type and skin tone, as well as the look you’re going for. If you have dry skin that’s very uneven in tone or texture, you may want to reach for a foundation over a BB or CC cream because foundation provides more coverage. If you’re having a good skin day and are trying to rock the no-makeup, makeup look, then use a BB or a CC cream.
One definite benefit of foundation is that it often comes in a wider variety of shades in comparison to BB and CC creams, many of which come in just three to four shades that are intended to work for a range of skin tones. So, if you tend to have trouble matching products to your skin tone, foundation will definitely give you more shade options. For example, the L'Oréal Paris True Match™ Super Blendable Makeup comes in more than 40 different shades, meaning you’ll be much more likely to find an option that matches your skin tone. Whatever you do choose—BB, CC, or foundation—all three options should be applied the same way: to clean, moisturized skin before being blended out.
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 up, head on over to our article, Tinted Moisturizer vs. BB Cream vs. Foundation: What’s the Difference?