What is the difference between a BB cream and CC cream?

November 21, 2013
Yes, the beauty world has gone alphabet-mad.  First it was BB cream, then CC cream. It’ll soon be DD and EE.  So what the hell is this all about? Is it a beauty evolution or a fad?  And what do all these letters mean anyway?
Well, here is my lowdown on BB cream and CC cream, plus my review of a couple that I’ve tried…

BB Cream explained…      

BB Cream is an oriental import that has gone global.  According to marketers, BB Creams are like tinted moisturisers with added skincare benefits such as anti-ageing and blemish fighting properties.  It promises lighter coverage than a foundation, but heavier coverage than a tinted cream.
BB actually stands for Blemish Balm, so it makes a big skincare claim through its name.
Bloggers and journalists have raved about BB cream, claiming it’s a great alternative to foundation.  And as a foundation-shy bloggers, this is music to my ears.
The creams are tinted in various shades, but they are fairly universal, so there’s less chance of a colour faux pas a la foundation.

CC Cream explained…

CC generally stands for “color correcting” and therefore the cream is meant to address problems such as redness or sallowness.  CC cream is marketed as being lighter on the skin, giving a whipped and dewy feel.
Also, the CC creams is said to be an improved version of the BB cream.  So I thought I’d see
for myself.

BB Cream and CC Cream tried and tested

BB ceam and CC cream are put to the test!
Left-Right: CC cream and BB cream

BB Cream

The BB Cream I’ve been trialling is Decleor Hydra Floral BB 24-hour tinted moisturiser.  Unlike
other BB Creams on the market, it comes in one universal shade.
Consistency – As is promises, Decleor’s tinted moisturiser is thicker than a tinted moisturiser, and smoothes onto the skin like a foundation. However, this does not mean that the BB cream is heavy on the skin.  It feels a lot lighter than your foundation, and your skin can actually breathe through it.
Finish – it leaves you with a matte look.  However, I wouldn’t necessarily say it brightens your skin. But its a great canvass for highlighters, blushers and the like.
Coverage – the BB cream gives you a nice, even canvas.  It’s great if you’ve got very little imperfections such as blemishes or pigmentation.  However, if you’ve got problem skin, you may need something more heavy duty like good-old fashioned foundation.
Can be worn alone? – I’ve tried the BB cream alone, however I felt that it needed a light moisturiser underneath, to keep the skin dewy and prevent dryness.
Endurance – lasts all day.  Unlike foundation, which can sweat, clog and seep into your skin, BB cream stays put from day to evening, without leaving you feeling greasy.
Great for – oily skinned ladies, foundation-haters and holiday-goers.  Decleor’s BB Cream is a
non-pore-clogging cream which feels much better on the skin than foundation.  If you’ve got oily skin, you can skip the layer of moisturiser underneath, and you may be glad for its matte
properties.  It’s also a good cover-up for holidays, when you don’t want to go barefaced, but can’t tolerate sticky-icky foundation.

CC Cream   

The CC Cream I’ve been trialling is Manuka Doctor’s Api Nourish Bee Venom CC Cream.  Like the BB cream, this has one universal colour.
Consistency – lighter than the BB Cream, more like a primer or serum.  The CC Cream I trialled also looks a lot lighter (or less tinted) than the BB cream, too.  When applied, it feels lighter than the BB Cream.
Finish – more dewy than matte.  Gives off a little bit of healthy shine. It does brighten the skin, perhaps due to its lighter colour.
Coverage – again, like the BB Cream, CC creates a nice canvass with a light finish, which is great if you don’t have any major imperfections.  If you’ve got problem skin, you might not find this is enough.
Can be worn alone? – yes, the CC cream is a little more hydrating than the BB Cream, so you don’t need a moisturiser underneath.
Endurance – Like the BB Cream, CC Cream lasts all day.  I apply it in the morning, and not
only does it stay intact, it also helps keep my blusher in place too.  The perfect primer-like product.
Great for – combo-skinned ladies, foundation haters, dull skin-types and holiday goers.  Again, very similar to the BB Cream.  Manuka Doctors CC Cream is a nice cover up, without fully covering up.  The one difference I found between the two was that the CC cream felt a little lighter, and didn’t require moisturiser underneath.  So in some respects, it acted like a tinted primer.  I also loved its brightening effect.  This is a great improvement on many foundations, which actually darken the skin.

And one other thing

Both BB Cream and CC Cream work as great mixers and diffusers, so they can be used with a liquid highlighter for an all-over glow, or mixed with foundation for a more natural look.
So, as you may have gathered, both BB and CC Creams are very similar.  In terms of which one is best, this is very much down to personal preference. To further illustrate their similarity, see the pic below.  I’m using BB cream on one half of my face, and CC cream on the other.  Can you tell the difference?  I rocked this two-tone look all day, and nobody batted an eyelid.


BB cream on one side, CC cream on the other - spot the difference?

Beauty fad or beautiful innovation?

BB, CC or DD, I don’t care what the letter is, I think they’re brilliant.  For years I’ve fallen victim to the greasy face or bad photo just because I couldn’t find a foundation that worked for me.  But now I feel like this new breed of super-tinted moisturiser has got an answer for me.

Another huge plus for me is their staying power.  I don’t know whether it’s because BB and CC Creams are much lighter products, or that they contain special lasting ingredients, but I can wear them all day without feeling heavy or clogged.  After a day’s wear, I might have a little shine, but nothing like the epic smudge-ball proportions of foundation.

As I’ve said before, if you’ve got problematic skin, such as acne or scarring, this might not provide enough coverage for you.  But if you don’t suffer from the former, I would definitely recommend one of these creams.

About the Author


I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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