Once And For All, What’s The Difference Between BB Cream And CC Cream?
Nowadays, it’s rare to find a product that doesn’t promise additional benefits beyond its intended purpose. There’s shampoo that claims to help hair grow, polish that strengthens brittle nails, and moisturizer that doubles as sunscreen. Makeup is no different. But when products—lookin’ at you BB cream and CC cream—both promise to cover up breakouts and uneven skin tone while packing a ton of added benefits, how on earth are you supposed to know which one is right for you?
These two all-in-one creams claim to put one-hit-wonders like foundation, concealer, and tinted moisturizer to shame, but when it comes down it, they all look the same. And like most members of the “alphabet creams,” the acronymic names don’t give away much in terms of what these products actually do.
Enter celebrity makeup artist Mia Jones. Even she admits, “If I were a novice having to decipher between all of these products, I would find it overwhelming.” But, despite their superficial similarities, these products are totally unique. Some zap environmental toxins, another reduces the appearance of fine lines, while one even targets skin conditions. BB and CC creams do what the other products don’t—show skin extra TLC while covering blemishes, and ultimately reducing the number of creams you’ll have to apply.
Ahead, Jones breaks down exactly what a BB cream is, what a CC cream is, and how they differ from the host of lookalike products available on the market. Trust, shopping for makeup is about to get a whole lot simpler.
Okay, so what is BB cream exactly?
A BB cream or “beauty balm” cream, is a lightweight formula that includes, “a skincare aspect, sun factor, and brightener,” says Jones. These perks are what makes it a standout among other makeup products. BB creams act as a barrier to protect your skin from environmental toxins courtesy of pollutant-fighting antioxidants. It also loads the skin up with nourishing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E to plump the skin, brighten it, and reduce the appearance of dark spots and fine lines.
Once applied, Jones adds, you can expect a velvety, dewy finish. So, most BB creams work best for those with dry skin, BUT there are some great oily-skin options out there, too.
With BB cream, you won’t end up with a full-glam look à la foundation, but the light coverage is buildable. Jones recommends BB cream for an everyday or no-makeup makeup look and for those who prefer to let their skin breathe a bit more throughout the day or let their freckles peek through.
Gotcha. Now what about CC creams?
The CC stands for color corrector. The formula targets imperfections in the skin, such as redness caused by rosacea, acne, acne scars, uneven texture, hyperpigmentation, and melasma, says Jones. While matching up to your skin tone, the color correcting aspect in the formula will balance your complexion at the same time.
A CC cream won’t necessarily treat the skin conditions it covers, but it will neutralize them to make them less visible. It also provides SPF coverage, brighteners to help the skin look less dull, and hydrates the skin.
CC cream is a bit heavier than BB cream and just as buildable, says Jones. You can either apply it directly the areas of the face that need color correcting or cover your entire face and let the cream work its magic where it needs to.
How are BB and CC creams different from foundations, concealers, and tinted moisturizers?
The short answer: you get more for less.
Foundation and concealer cover up the skin and rarely do anything more. Their heavier formulas are ideal for photos, long wear, and any event where you want to feel super-glam. And while foundations and concealers are great for covering dark spots and acne too, hybrids like BB and CC cream will provide coverage while catering to the skin at the same time. And like tinted moisturizers, the hydrating formulas in BB and CC cream are lighter than those of foundations and concealers. They won’t completely mask the whole face unless you build up coverage to do so.
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BB and CC creams are great options if you want to scale back bit from a full-coverage look for a casual outing, an at-home look, or you just want to have less on your face. Your blushes, highlighters, and eye shadows will latch on similarly to the way they would on foundation.
And if all of these products sound like they’re up your alley, and you want to wear BB cream, CC cream, foundation, and concealer at once, Jones says go for it. However, given the different formulas and purposes, she recommends being strategic about placement. “If you were going to use them all in tandem I would only apply each product where necessary,” she says. “One product per feature, for example: beauty balm on high points of the face, foundation across the cheeks, and color correction where needed.”
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