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Makeup artists share when to use BB creams vs. CC creams — plus 14 options to shop

Take a break from your heavier foundation with these hydrating formulas.
Neutrogena / One/Size

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A flawless complexion is always the goal when you're applying makeup, but sometimes heavier foundations lack key ingredients that can benefit your skin. That's when BB and CC creams come in handy.

These creams are multitaskers in the way that they provide hydration and a lightweight texture — which is always a plus in our book. Instead of hiding your blemishes under cakey-looking makeup, BB and CC creams can offer an even tone with skin-friendly benefits thanks to their their all-in-one formulas.

We asked makeup artists to break down the building blocks of BB and CC creams, along with what makes them so different from one another, so you can finally ditch your thick formulas.

What's the difference between BB cream and CC cream?

The main difference between both formulas lies in their coverage intensity and texture. BB creams are beauty balms that correct blemishes; while CC creams are color correctors with light coverage. "BB cream is more hydrating and can provide a beautiful radiance to the skin, [which] is ideal for dry skin types. [Meanwhile,] CC cream is lighter in coverage and is great for oily skin as it often comes in a matte formula," shared celebrity makeup artist Nydia Figueroa.

While BB and CC creams offer lighter, sheerer coverage compared to foundation, they can be easily paired with other beauty products to give your skin a smoother, even consistency. "[For example,] concealers are great to pair with a BB cream or CC cream because you can target areas on the face that need more coverage," suggested Figueroa.

What are the benefits of BB cream?

Aside from delivering additional hydration and radiance to your skin, BB creams work as a "multifunctional product that serves as a moisturizer primer and foundation. This is a great option for someone who wants a quick and easy way to even out their complexion with minimal effort," said Figueroa.

In addition to its skinimalism-friendly properties, many BB creams contain antioxidants and offer SPF features that protect your skin from the sun and environmental stressors. However, BB creams should be used along with your favorite sunscreen since BB formulas typically contain lower SPF values ranging from 10 to 45.

What are the benefits of CC cream?

CC creams are most commonly used for its color correcting features thanks to its undertones, which is especially great if you're looking to combat hyperpigmentation and redness. Aside from neutralizing blemishes and under eye circles, CC creams are often formulated with skin-friendly, anti-aging agents that decrease the appearance of spots and wrinkles.

For celebrity makeup artist Jeannia Robinette, CC creams offer a more natural, matte finish to a barely-there makeup look, which is ideal for those who have oily or acne-prone skin. "I love how natural it is and evens out your skin tone plus is a multitasker. The CC creams have a little bit more pigment than the BB. Also, it corrects your skin tone. I'm a fan of wearing as minimal foundation as possible [when wearing a CC cream]."

How to apply BB and CC cream

Like most makeup products, BB and CC creams can be applied with a brush. However, Robinette recommends applying them with your fingers. "I prefer to use my fingers and warm up the CC cream before applying it on my skin. I treat it like a sunscreen and put it all over my neck, chest and face."

She recommends avoiding a beauty sponge for application to avoid the product being absorbed and wasted. For everyday makeup application, BB and CC creams are the way to go without adding a full mask on your face.

You should also make sure to "use a shade up and darker than you're used to," suggested Robinette. "The lighter color will highlight the areas that you want to cover, while the darker will offer coverage."

BB creams to shop

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Perfector

Nail the perfect glowy complexion with Neutrogena's anti-aging formula that will correct your skin insecurities. What makes it a shopper favorite is the added retinol and SPF 20 for a protective, natural-looking finish. "This has just the right coverage for a light, natural look, but all the discoloration is evened out and lasts for several hours in the humidity," added one shopper who gave it five stars.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream 8-In-1 Skin Perfector

With 16,000+ glowing five-star ratings on Amazon, Maybelline's hydrating, gel-like formula will give your skin a smoothing feeling with sheer coverage. Customers noted how much they love the non-cakey textures and how easily it blends without clogging their pores. In other terms, this is a great cream if you're going for a "no makeup" makeup look.

Lique Active Beauty Hydrating BB Cream

This lightweight BB cream offers a blend of antioxidants like white tea and green tea that helps in reducing redness and inflammation while strengthening collagen. The vegan formula not only provides a natural dewy finish while hydrating and smoothing fine lines, but it's also supposed to add full coverage without the greasiness.

One/Size Turn Up The Base Beauty Blur Balm Foundation

Blur your blemishes like a boss with this breathable formula. The Japanese white rose helps to improve the skin tone while controlling oil production and delivering all-day hydration.

Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm SPF 30

Hide your imperfections with this beauty balm offering light to medium coverage with SPF 30. Providing all-day smoothness and coverage, customers particularly love how this BB cream easily blends without leaving a lingering sticky texture.

Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream

Disguise fine lines and wrinkles with this water-resistant BB cream. The full coverage, sensitive skin-friendly formula features antioxidants like apple extract and sunflower seed oil to gently moisturize and exfoliate.

L'Oréal Paris Makeup Magic Skin Beautifier Anti-Redness BB Cream Tinted Moisturizer

L'Oréal Paris's BB cream became a TikTok sensation last year, so it's no surprise it's been selling out left and right. The ultra-light formula neutralizes redness thanks to its green tint, plus it hydrates, primes and perfects your complexion thanks to ingredients like vitamins C and E.

CC creams to shop

e.l.f. Cosmetics Camo CC Cream

With 3,000+ five-star ratings on both Ulta and the brand's website, e.l.f.'s popular CC cream comes in light and full coverage in 20 shades to help cover lingering sun spots and imperfections. It's also made with anti-aging ingredients like niacinamide, peptides and hyaluronic acid to provide a smoother texture and tone.

Neutrogena Clear Coverage Flawless Matte CC Cream

If you're looking for perfectly matte coverage, Neutrogena's CC cream is the solution. It contains vitamin B3 and a creamy texture that blurs out discoloration, redness and the appearance of pores.

Perbelle Skin Tone Adjusting CC Cream SPF 43

If winter ripped your skin of hydration, this CC cream will boost protection with its SPF 43 while providing an even complexion. Its formula has hyaluronic acid that hydrates your skin and niacinamide to brighten your skin tone. Most customers love this base because it works like a foundation while leaving a flawless finish. One reviewer said this cream "layers very well and I find that I don't use concealer when I wear Perbelle, even on my dark blue under-eye circles."

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream SPF 50+

Just like its name, this bestselling, award-winning CC cream offers full coverage without the heaviness. It provides long-term nourishment thanks to hydrating, skin-friendly ingredients like collagen, peptides and hyaluronic acid. This tinted formula is also made to every kind of imperfection on every skin type

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector

Lighter than a foundation but heavier than a tinted moisturizer, Clinique's hydrating, oil-free CC cream is meant to uneven skin tone and correct dullness, redness and sallowness. Noted as "one simple step for glowing skin" by the brand, shoppers adore how this formula stays on all day long.

Dermablend Continuous Correction Tone-Evening CC Cream SPF 50+

For those looking to hide their dark spots, Dermablend's formula is here to deliver full, long-lasting coverage. The combination of niacinamide, vitamin E, baicalin and caffeine will give you that "I woke up like this" look.

Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting CC Cream with Sunscreen SPF 15

Address your skin concerns with this multifunctional cream from Olay. Your skin will feel refreshed and moisturized thanks to a blend of VitaNiacin Complex II and vitamin B3. This lotion minimizes the look of pores, hydrates your skin and evens skin tone. Over 4,000 Amazon reviewers have raved about how this cream buffs out any imperfections — yes, acne scars too!

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