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Decoding BB + CC Creams

Understanding These Swiss Army Knives of Skincare

BB and CC creams are everywhere. You can’t hit the makeup aisle without a barrage of alliterative tubes jumping off the shelf at you. But what exactly do these widely touted skin products offer? There are meant to be multi-purpose coverage options: hybrids between skincare and makeup. However, finding the right one requires an understanding of the options.

What’s the Difference?

BB Creams

BB stands for “beauty balm” or “blemish balm.” These potent powerhouses offer a tinted formula that works as both a foundation and part of your skincare regimen. The best varieties are said to serve effectively as a primer, foundation, sunscreen, moisturizer, and concealer.

CC Creams

CC stands for “color correction.” CC creams are essentially modified BB creams with one additional benefit – they are formulated to even out skin discoloration.

What Do They Do?

Sun protection

Most BB and CC creams offer sun protection in a range of SPF coverage options. The best have SPFs as high as 45 or 50, while the majority are in the SPF 20 to 30 range (which meets the recommended daily protection).


Many of these creams also harness the benefits of moisturizing ingredients. You can readily find varieties that contain hyaluronic acid or glycerin, both powerful moisturizers.


Meant to disguise blemishes and work as coverage from concealer to primer to foundation, most BB and CC creams are heavier than a tinted moisturizer, but lighter than liquid foundation. Often, to achieve your desired coverage, layering is recommended. For those who prefer a more natural look and are just trying to add sunscreen to their daily routine, a small dab is enough. For those looking to cover imperfections, applying two to three layers works best.

What Don’t They Do?

While BB and CC creams are a versatile option for coverage and skin protection, they usually come in just a few shades – often lighter than other foundation options. Finding the correct shade for deeper skin tones could be challenging.

These creams do not offer any treatment for acne-prone skin either. So, while a BB or CC cream may replace many products in your beauty regimen, specific skin conditions will still need to be treated separately.

BB and CC creams both make great options for a low-maintenance, more natural makeup appearance. And even if you prefer to apply a regular foundation over top of them, their numerous benefits, including sun protection, make them a wonderful addition to any routine!

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