Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that BB creams and CC creams SURGED in popularity in the past 5 years.
Unlike foundation, these creams give plenty of moisture and nutrients to your skin.
But which one should you choose? BB or CC cream?
Hop on this AB (Asian Beauty) trend and see which one fits your skin with our showdown!
What's the Diff?
BB? CC? These aren’t just letter twins. And no, they’re not bra sizes, either.
BB cream and CC cream are multi-tasking skincare balms.
They make your skin look better in photos #selfiemoments and IRL by improving your skin tone and texture.
But more than finish, these also nourish your skin.
Gone are the days when women need to cake on a thick foundation for a flawless look.
With BB and CC cream, you’ll be PHOTO-READY and feed your skin with all the goodness at the same time!
It’s honestly hard to tell the difference between BB and CC creams, since most brands mix and match different product benefits for better results.
However, with a bit of expert digging, we found the best way to tell these two apart!
The Showdown at a Glance: BB Cream vs. CC Cream
BB Creams, which mean “Blemish Balm” Cream, first made a scene in Korean skincare.
BB cream is mainly a moisturizing balm with some color, so it looks and feels like an updated tinted moisturizer.
BB creams are so big in South Korea that they once made up 13% of their entire cosmetics market.
That was in 2012. Now, the BB cream is a household name!
Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect from BB creams!
- Main Benefit: UV protection; moisturizing
- Other Uses: Acne control; primer underneath makeup; sheer coverage
- Application: Apply after moisturizer, before makeup. Use like a moisturizer.
- Texture and Finish: Lightweight; dewy finish
CC Cream is a color-correcting cream, so it can feel heavier than tinted moisturizers and BB Creams.
Obviously, CC stands for Color Correcting.
Some people with better complexion skip the concealer (or tinted moisturizer) and opt for this one instead.
- Main Benefit: Color control; concealer; moisturizing
- Other Uses: UV protection; acne control
- Application: Apply after moisturizer; after BB cream (if any). Use like a primer.
- Texture and Finish: Creamy
If you have uneven texture, then this might be just what you need for flawless skin.
Makeup artists love using this cream as a first step before applying other makeup.
What Does Your Skin Need?
Everyone’s needs are different. And if there’s something that sets BB and CC creams apart, it’s their best features.
So we’ll compare these tools based on what they offer.
Even basic BB and CC creams offer these three things:
- Lighter coverage or heavier coverage
- UV Protection
So we’ll tell you about which one is best for these three needs.
If You Need Coverage...
BB creams have sheer coverage and thinner texture.
When applied with a beauty sponge, BB creams don’t feel cakey at all and sits comfortably on top of your skin.
There aren’t a lot of these that can give you full coverage in the market. After all, that’s not its selling point.
That’s probably why some brands shied away from calling this a “blemish balm” and went with “beauty balm” instead.
So if coverage is what you need, this balm might disappoint.
If you need an alternative to foundation for formal wear or cocktails, this isn’t the balm for you.
But if you’re trying to imitate the Korean Beauty philosophy, then the less product, the better. Grab that tube for sheer, light results!
Color correction is the name of the game with CC creams.
CC creams act like a HYBRID of makeup primer and concealer, and can even replace foundation in your daily makeup routine!
This cream neutralizes imperfections by balancing blemishes and hyperpigmentation with its opposite color, like green, peach, or purple.
That’s how this cream fits a wide variety of skin tones. It’s also why it provides excellent coverage.
In case you need a great base for your foundation, this cream is excellent.
Depending on your skin type, BB and CC creams offers a decent amount of coverage.
- Go for the blemish balm if you want to hide minor blemishes and want a lightweight look. It’s definitely better for everyday wear vs. CC, especially if you have a sensitive skin type.
- But if you truly want cream foundation-like results from just one product, CC creams should be your pick for BETTER COVERAGE.
If You Need Moisture...
The BB cream formula was first intended to address skin issues like blemishes and sun spots.
That’s why it’s packed with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
This cream takes the place of a tinted moisturizer in your skincare routine.
So if you feel like your current tinted moisturizer needs an EXTRA oomph, this cream is a great place to start.
CC creams have plenty of moisturizing ingredients, but the priority is high-quality pigment.
Since the goal of this cream is to even out your skin tone, its moisturizing effects come second.
That doesn’t mean you skimp out on moisture, though.
Some CC creams can moisturize dry skin type too, like It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better, which boosts skin moisture by up to 79 percent!
You’re better off choosing BB creams if you need to repair your hydration layer. That’s not what CC creams are for, after all.
If You Need Sun Protection...
Tinted moisturizers offer protection against sun damage, but BB creams DEFINITELY WIN because of its broad-spectrum SPF protection.
For example, the Missha Perfect Cover Cream has SPF 42 and a PA rating of +++.
We all know SPF, of course: it’s great for protecting against UVB rays which cause discoloration.
But look for PA ratings too, because it tells us about UVA coverage.
That’s our protection against cancer. Luckily, lots of creams have its PA rating listed on the tube!
That’s something that a tinted moisturizer might lack.
CC creams provide great UV protection, too.
The Amorepacific Color Control Cushion Compact, for example, boasts a whopping SPF 50.
With this much protection, you’ll definitely avoid an uneven skin tone.
That’s way better than what your makeup or foundation can give you!
We have to admit: it’s a toss-up in this department.
The product development of most brands prioritizes sun protection, and it’s rare to find any product these days without SPF.
So if UV protection is the most important criteria for you, you can’t go wrong choosing between BB and CC creams.
BB and CC Creams: Which One is Best?
Now that we compared the two creams, the difference should be clear. Should you get BB or CC cream?
These creams have different purposes, so figure out what your skin type needs so you can choose the right product.
Use BB if...
Go for BB creams if you’re after added skin care benefits like moisturization.
This cream takes the place of a tinted moisturizer in your daily routine. That’s why it’s called a beauty balm!
This cream is better because it’s:
Use CC if...
Try CC instead if you want an alternative to oily skin or cakey face makeup.
Just like foundation, this cream gives more coverage for all skin tones. And if you use them right, you can ditch your foundation.
This cream is better at:
- Evening out your skin tone
- Smoothening your skin texture
- Best for more coverage
- Foundation replacement
- Concealer replacement
- Professional studio look and finish
- Color-correcting dark spots
Other Things to Consider
The formula differs for every manufacturer. With the R&D in these products, the differences are becoming less obvious.
Everyone has different needs, and only you know what’s best for your skin.
This is only a general guideline of the differences between these products.
There’s no one-size-fits-all with skincare and cosmetics, but there’s something that can work for you.
One thing’s for sure: whichever you choose, you get more benefits with these than a regular foundation. It’s even safe to use these everyday!
Found which one you like? Do you spot anything different?
If you were confused before, we hope this guide clears it up for you.
Generally though, we recommend BB creams for light coverage.
You can opt for CC creams if you need to cover up any darker redness or imperfections.
August 16, 2021 – Updated article formatting and content
July 15, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links