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

Written by Hanna Ibraheem

Both are perfect for a minimal make-up look, but which one is best for you?

When it comes to make-up, all experts agree: the key to a flawless look lies with your base. As well as the importance of following a skincare routine that is suited to your skin type, you should also pick a base formula that works for you.

We’re all well-versed in the benefits of foundation and tinted moisturiser, but what about BB creams and CC creams? Particularly, what is the difference between BB cream and CC cream?

“The biggest difference between BB cream and CC cream is the coverage and functionality,” explains Val Garland, global make-up artist for L’Oreal Paris. “BB creams provide a radiant, healthy finish, with added multi-beneficial skincare ingredients, whilst a CC cream is more of a complexion enhancer.”

Here, we break down everything you need to know, along with the best products for a radiant complexion.

What is a BB cream?

Also known as beauty balm or blemish balm, BB cream hailed from skincare epicenter Korea and is a lightweight alternative to foundation. “A BB cream is a tinted skincare moisturiser infused with skin-loving ingredients,” explains Garland. The tint in a BB cream usually provides light-to-medium coverage and ingredients typically revolve around antioxidants.

When should you use a BB cream?

Thanks to their multitasking abilities, BB creams are the perfect solution for sheer coverage that benefits skin, too. If you don’t want to wear heavy foundation but want more coverage than a tinted moisturiser, this is the product for you.

“BB creams are great if you want perfected and nourished skin in a hurry,” says Garland. “I love to use hybrid products that give high performance skincare and make-up in one, this is a must have in my beauty kit.”

Best BB creams, picked by the Stylist team

  • L’Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water Cream

    This formula is so light on skin. It is a 70% water-based formula, that has been enriched with aloe vera, ginger and witch hazel. Perfect for days when you want minimal make-up.

    L’Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water Cream, £10.99

    buy now

  • Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35

    This clever tinted formula can even out skin tone or sit comfortably as a primer underneath foundation. It also contains SPF35, though you should always apply a separate SPF beforehand.

    Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35, £27

    buy now

  • Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

    This thin formula lets skin breathe while also giving it sheer coverage. It contains diamond powder to smoothen out the appearance of skin, while glycerin adds hydration.

    Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, £20

    buy now

What is a CC cream?

If you like similar coverage to a foundation but the lightweight texture of a BB cream, opt for a CC cream.

“CC cream stands for ‘colour correcting’ or ‘complexion correcting’,” explains Garland. “They provide more coverage and colour correct whilst concealing any imperfections.”

A CC cream’s purpose to give skin colour balance, this could include reducing redness or evening out signs of discolouration or hyperpigmentation. As it provides more coverage, CC formulas are usually thicker than a BB cream (but still lighter than a traditional foundation). It can also be used as a first step to even out your complexion prior to foundation.

When should you use a CC cream?

“You should use a CC cream if you want more coverage than a BB cream and want to colour correct the complexion,” says Garland. “For example, a product that works with your natural skin tone to help neutralise the appearance of redness.”

Best CC creams, picked by the Stylist team

  • IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

    This cult product contains colour correcting pigments that work to conceal while brightening up your skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid, soy extract and collagen for a healthier-looking complexion.

    IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+, £32

    buy now

  • Erborian CC Red Correct Cream

    This green-toned corrector may look scary when it comes out of the tube, but it’s very clever. The subtle green pigments work to counteract redness and discolouration while adjusting to your skin tone.

    Erborian CC Red Correct Cream, £39

    buy now

Main image: Getty

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