What are BB creams and CC creams?

BB Creams and CC Creams have become a cosmetics industry staple. But what are they, and how do you know which one is right for you?

Over the past few years, BB creams and CC creams have become cosmetic industry staples. You can find one or the other (or both!) in nearly every makeup & skincare line on the market. Why? Because consumers are starting to focus on products that are good for their skin — and that's just what these products are.

So what's the difference, and how do you know if one is right for you?

BB Creams

BB Creams vs. CC Creams
BB Creams vs. CC Creams

1. Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream, $7.49

2. Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream, $11.99

3. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream, $39

4. Too Faced Beauty Balm, $34

BB stands for beauty balm. Though it appears to be a tinted moisturizer (and, it turns out, usually has about the same coverage), it's got lots of perks for your skin: moisture, sunscreen, primer, shine reduction, and lots of nutrients. It's intended to be all the skincare you need in one tube, though most skincare specialists would scoff at that idea — it's a pretty standard belief across the board that the more one product does, the less successfully it does each thing (for example, sunscreen in your moisturizer is not as effective as using a sunscreen in addition to your moisturizer).

I've never come across a BB cream that I feel transforms my skin — it usually ends up being about how much coverage it provides for me — but that's because, apparently, American BB creams are nothing compared to Korean BB creams. I can't say I've ever tried one, but what I hear is that they are the real deal, and the BB creams we've got over here are just a pale image of what we could have.

CC Creams

BB Creams vs. CC Creams
BB Creams vs. CC Creams

1. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream, $35

2. Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream, $42

3. Doctor T's Supergoop! CC Cream, $32

4. Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream, $39

CC stands for color correction or corrective coverage, and does exactly what it says on the box: it color-corrects your complexion. CC creams have all the same nutrients and benefits of a BB cream, but they also color-correct your skin for a more even texture. Some of them also have more coverage than their BB counterparts. And who doesn't need a little color correction? I know I'd love to mask the redness around my nose!

If you come across a brand that has one CC cream, you can assume it will probably reduce redness and brighten your skin or give you a very good amount of coverage; sometimes cosmetics lines carry multiple CC creams to address individual color correction issues.

Have you used either of these products before? What are your thoughts and favorites? Tell me in the comments below!

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