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Expert Shopper Beauty & Personal Care

BB cream vs. CC cream

What's the difference between BB cream and CC cream?


BB creams and CC creams are lifesavers on days when you don't want to deal with a full face of makeup, but still want enough coverage to conceal blemishes or even out skin tone. While both BB creams and CC creams perfect skin's appearance and deliver a dose of skin care benefits — and companies often use the terms interchangeably — there are a few key differences between these products.

BB cream

The "BB" in BB cream stands for “beauty balm” or “blemish balm.” It's one of the most popular and groundbreaking products offered by Korean beauty brands. BB cream's coverage is one step up from lightweight tinted moisturizers, so it can be on the sheer side but can still conceal blemishes and perfect skin tone. Drugstore BB creams can cost as little as $10, but most cost $20 to $55.

BB cream pros

BB creams help cover blemishes, dark spots and fine lines while also providing hydration, illumination, sun protection and more. Essentially a tinted moisturizer with skin care benefits and better coverage, BB creams deliver medium coverage that's lighter and more comfortable than CC creams. They can even be worn as a primer for additional coverage under your foundation.

BB cream cons

Despite their growing popularity, BB creams tend to come in small shade ranges — usually only two to five shades, with some brands offering as many as 20. Depending on your skin concerns, you may find that BB creams don't provide enough coverage. Since BB creams tend to be more hydrating than CC creams, they often perform better on dry skin than on oily skin.

Best BB creams

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream

Available in five shades, this budget-friendly BB cream blurs blemishes and fine lines. The water-based, oil-free formula gives skin a dewy finish. It provides SPF 30 sun protection.

Sold by Ulta and Amazon

Coola Organic Rosilliance BB Cream

This BB cream from a sunscreen-centric brand features 70% organic ingredients and SPF 30 sun protection. Plus, it's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It comes in three shades.

Sold by Amazon

CC cream

After BB creams proved popular, CC cream entered the picture. “CC” stands for “color control" or "color correcting," and these products are popular for their ability to balance skin tone without the use of color-correcting concealers and other makeup. While BB creams perform a similar function, CC creams tend to offer more coverage, and as evidenced by their name, they're better at color-correcting redness, sallowness and dark spots. Midrange CC creams generally cost $30 to $50, while premium CC creams can cost $55 to $85.

CC cream pros

If you're looking for a product that's as close as possible to classic foundation makeup, CC creams fit the bill thanks to their medium to full coverage and thicker, richer formulations. They can fully conceal blemishes and dark spots, something that more sheer and lightweight BB creams may struggle with. Like BB cream, they usually contain sun protection ingredients. They are also available in cushion compacts — a formulation made popular by Korean brands for its portability and smooth application.

CC cream cons

Like BB creams, it can be hard to find a good shade match in a CC cream. They tend to be more widely available in light to medium shades. CC creams also usually give skin a radiant or dewy finish. If you have oily skin and want to avoid excess shine, look for a CC cream specifically marketed as mattifying.

Best CC creams

It Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50

This CC cream is a popular pick thanks to its 12 shade choices and medium to full coverage. It's formulated with hyaluronic acid, peptides and collagen to help moisturize, smooth and plump skin.

Sold by Sephora, Ulta, Macy's and Amazon

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream

Available in four shades, this hydrating CC cream can be spot-applied like concealer to brighten specific areas or conceal redness. It can also be mixed with moisturizer for even more hydration.

Sold by Macy's, Ulta and Sephora

Dermablend Continuous Correction CC Cream

This lightweight, noncomedogenic formula comes in 16 shades and provides SPF 50 sun protection. Ingredients such as niacinamide, caffeine and vitamin E help address redness, dark spots and discoloration. Sold by Dermstore, Macy's and Ulta

Should you get BB cream or CC cream?

Since both products contain beneficial skin care ingredients, the best choice might come down to your individual skin concerns. When it comes to pigmentation, BB creams tend to offer medium coverage, while CC creams offer more coverage and are better for correcting redness.

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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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