How is a CC Cream Different than a BB Cream?

Cosmetics, Personal/Inspirational, Skin Care

I’ll admit, I’m slow to change:  When BB creams first came out, I didn’t like the fact that they only came in 3-5 shades each.  Then, I started to realize that they usually had only silicone bases, meaning that the key ingredients were laying on top of the skin, not embedded in delivery systems absorbed well by the skin.  Boo!

But I made peace with BB creams.  I even recommended a few.  [Read more:  Are BB Creams Worth It?  Which Ones are the Best?]  And then along came CC creams.  *sigh*

So here’s what you need to know about the differences:

1.)  A CC cream is a “color-correcting” cream. A BB cream is a “beauty balm.”

I think freckles are beautiful, but they’re also signs of sun damage. CC creams are designed not only to cover sun damage, but also to help treat and prevent it in the future.

A CC cream is a color correcting cream, meaning that it is a brightening primer, foundation, moisturizer, SPF and anti-aging cream.

On the other hand, a BB cream is a non-brightening primer, foundation, moisturizer, SPF and anti-aging cream.

2.)  A CC cream is typically lighter than a BB cream, and oil-free.

BB creams are typically laden with hydrators to create a dewy finish, which are not so great for acne-prone or oily skin.

CC creams, on the other hand, are typically oil-free.

Still, I prefer more targeted products for acne-prone or oily skin. For instance, FutureDerm writers love Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer ($52.00,, with alumina that completely absorbs oil on the skin.  As for foundation for oily/acne-prone skin, we adore Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup ($34.99, – with 2% salicylic acid, it controls oil production, but has enough hydrators to dry smoothly on the skin.

3.)  Neither is still likely to deliver key ingredients to your skin as well as a serum or targeted moisturizer.

English: BODY BISTRO Apricot + Lavender Soothi...
It’s true: BB and CC creams do not typically have delivery systems that ensure ingredients are absorbed well by the skin. Serums, on the other hand, often (but not always) do.

Delivery systems matter.  Ingredients like propylene glycol, butylene glycol, and other alcohols, as well as advanced delivery systems like liposomes, are commonly used to increase the skin’s absorption of ingredients.

Unfortunately, BB and CC creams typically are designed to be make-up products.  Yes, you will get benefits.  But I’d take 10% vitamin C in a serum over 10% vitamin C in a BB or CC cream any day!

4.)  It’s hard to find CC creams in the U.S. right now.

Right now, Rachel K Cosmetics is premiering a CC Cream in the U.S.  Given their popularity in Asia and the U.K., I’m sure more will hit our shores any day now.  But for now, as of August 6, 2012, if you want to try one, you have to go through Rachel K Cosmetics in the U.S.

Bottom Line

I don’t like BB creams and I don’t care for CC creams either.  But, that said, I don’t want to be a Scrooge about them!  If you have oily or acne-prone skin and hyperpigmentation problems and want an all-in-one moisturizer/sunscreen/primer/foundation, then I would choose a CC cream over a BB cream.  Otherwise, for those with dry or normal skin, stick with a BB cream.

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