BB Creams vs. CC Creams: What's the Difference?

If you sometimes feel like you need a translator when you walk into a beauty supply store, know that you're not alone in that feeling! So what the heck is the difference between BB and CC creams (and also DD, EE, PP), and which one should you choose?

December 4, 2021 5 minutes read
Smiling woman touching her face

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Lately, tinted creams, like BB and CC creams, are becoming more and more popular. So, if you often shop for makeup, you've likely stumbled upon some of these creams in the same aisle as liquid foundations and other face makeup.

While these are both multipurpose products, combining skincare and makeup in a single formula, they also differ in some ways. They contain different key ingredients and, therefore, provide different skin care and coverage effect.

So, let's find out the difference between them and which one is best for your skin type.

What Are BB Creams?

BB in BB creams stands for blemish balm or beauty balm, which means they cover minor skin imperfections. In addition, they contain a variety of hydrating ingredients and antioxidants for added skincare benefits.

BB creams are lighter in texture than your regular foundation but a bit heavier than a tinted moisturizer. So, these are great for people who don't like to wear excessively heavy makeup, providing you with sheer coverage and giving you that no-makeup makeup look.

BB Creams Benefits

The ingredients of a BB cream will vary from brand to brand, but they'll usually contain humectants (like glycerin, panthenol, hyaluronic acid), antioxidants (like vitamins A, E, C, and niacinamide), and anti-aging agents (like peptides and hydrolyzed collagen). Additionally, they are usually formulated with a small amount of mineral SPF (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide).

Since their ingredients are predominantly moisturizing, BB creams are excellent for dry skin, giving you that smooth complexion and natural glow. However, they tend to be emollient in texture – not the best solution for people with extremely oily skin prone to acne. But some manufacturers have gone a step further and made formulas specifically for oily skin with ingredients that may help you put that excessive shine under control.

All in all, if you have dry skin with minor imperfections and blemishes, BB creams will give you some coverage combined with an extra hydration boost. They could also be suitable for skin that's mature enough for some initial anti-aging care. On the other hand, if you tend to have oily skin, test the products before buying them to see if they can indeed do what they promise.

It's worth pointing out that SPF in BB or CC creams varies a great deal depending on the brand. So, unless your cream has an SPF of 30 or higher, you can't rely on it to give you enough sun protection. In that case, you should wear sunscreen in addition to your tinted cream.

What Are CC Creams?

CC in CC creams generally stands for complexion corrector or color control, neutralizing redness, evening out your skin tone, and covering dark circles and hyperpigmentation.

Compared to BB creams, CC creams are lighter in texture but provide more coverage. Therefore, it could be your perfect substitute for a foundation, especially during hot and humid summer days.

CC Creams Benefits

When it comes to ingredients, the difference between CC and BB creams is pretty subtle – CC creams focus more on soothing and anti-aging agents rather than moisturizing. They usually contain various vitamins, antioxidants, calming ingredients (like green tea), and skin-firming ingredients (such as niacinamide, peptides, and hydrolyzed collagen).

However, texture-wise, CC creams are an entirely different story. They have a much lighter consistency compared to BB creams and a fluffy, whipped texture. Additionally, CCs will provide you with more coverage with a matte finish, making them ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.

So, Which One Should I Choose?

woman testing different tinted creams on her hand

When deciding which cream to go for, it would be best to base your decision on your skin type. It would also help to read the labels and make sure your BB or CC contains exactly those ingredients that will target your skin concerns.

For Dry Skin

Dry skin would fare best with BB creams as these are usually packed full of hydrating ingredients with emollient properties. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, panthenol, glycerin, and ceramides.

For Oily Skin

BB creams tend to be a bit heavy and greasy. Therefore, if you have oily skin and a constantly shiny complexion, go for a CC cream instead. Choose oil-free formulas that contain mattifying ingredients, such as clays, silicas, polymers, starches, and charcoals.

For Acne-Prone Skin

Oily skin usually goes hand in hand with acne. So, again CC cream would be an ideal choice if you have acne-prone skin. Besides mattifying ingredients, look for CCs with calming and anti-inflammatory agents, such as tea tree oil, salicylic acid, green tea, and colloidal clay.

For Mature Skin

Since both BB and CC contain anti-aging ingredients, you could choose either depending on what you want to achieve with the product. So if you have mature skin with age spots and hyperpigmentation, a CC cream will cover those and give your skin the care it needs. On the other hand, if your skin is sallow and dull and you want your cream to provide you with some glow and liveliness, a hydrating BB cream would be a better option for you.

What About DD, EE, and PP Creams?

makeup brush and tinted cream

Since both BB and CC creams became super popular a few years back, other skincare manufacturers have decided to join the Alphabet family and add DD, EE, and PP brothers and sisters. And so, a new generation of tinted creams started to appear in recent years. These combine the benefits of BB and CC creams with extra ingredients targeting specific skin issues. And so we have:

DD creams, where DD stands for daily defense or dynamic do-all, will nourish your skin and give it proper protection from damaging UV rays. These are great for mature skin, but not the best option for oily skin as their emollient ingredient can clog pores.

EE creams, where EE is short for extra exfoliation, are designed to exfoliate and moisturize the skin at the same time. Unlike BBs and CCs, EEs don't have a tint and aren't meant to replace your foundation. These are purely skincare and not a bit of makeup. You could use these if you have oily and acne-prone skin, but in moderation since over-exfoliation can worsen your skin condition.

PP creams, with PP meaning pink perfect, are intended to be used as makeup primers. These are rosy in color for color correcting and contain silicone particles, lending a soft blur to the skin and creating a perfect base for makeup application. These are suitable for any skin type.

To Wrap Up

Admittedly, having a 2-in-1 product is very appealing, especially if you want to simplify your morning routine and save some time and money. These will nourish your skin while hiding its imperfections at the same time.

However, none of these will provide you with the impeccable coverage you can expect from regular foundations. Nevertheless, if you're a fan of that natural look and just need to even out your skin tone a little bit before heading to work, get a CC or a BB, depending on your skin type. For dry skin and sheer coverage, go for a BB. On the other hand, if you have oily, acne-prone skin and need better coverage with a matte finish, choose a CC instead.


Which is better, BB CC or DD?

It all depends on your skin type and want kind of look you want to achieve with your tinted cream. BB creams are meant for dry skin; they have sheer coverage. CC creams are lighter in texture but will provide you with more coverage with a matte finish, making them ideal for oily and acne-prone skin. And DD creams are best for dry and mature skin.

Can I use CC cream instead of foundation?

Yes, you can use CC creams instead of foundation. However, tinted creams, no matter which one you choose, won't give you the coverage you can expect from a regular foundation.

Can I use CC cream daily?

Yes, you can use CC creams every day. These are especially handy for makeup lovers, as these products are 2-in-1, combining both skincare and makeup. These will provide you some coverage, evening out your skin tone, while, at the same time, they will nourish your skin.

Which is better for acne prone skin BB cream or CC cream?

Usually, CC creams are made for oily and acne-prone skin. These tinted creams have a lighter texture compared to BB creams, but provide better coverage. In addition, they have a matte finish, ideal for oily skin.

Why does BB cream make my skin look oily?

BB creams are usually packed with moisturizing and emollient ingredients, making them suitable for dry skin. Therefore, if you have dry skin, BB creams will give you that healthy glow and radiant complexion. But, if you have oily skin, you may notice that BB creams are a bit too greasy for you.

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