I’m clueless about what “BB” cream is, and what “CC” cream is… and how you use them, and when you use them. I’m a makeup fanatic- which is why I like your website. I, too, could easily spend hours on makeup everyday, even when I’m just sitting at home on a random Saturday and no one else is around. But, I have 7 kids (my oldest turns 11 on Tuesday) and I work full-time from home, so I usually have to reserve my makeup binging for weekends.
I’d like to know if you’re supposed to use a “BB” or a “CC” everyday? Under or over foundation? Dry or oily skin? Certain time of year only? Is this something you can scrimp on? I’m a cosmetic freak and I could fill my home with products from Sephora, but love the idea of saving where I can (e.g., E.L.F) Or, is this something you should really spend good money on?
Thanks much, awesome site.
I agree with Lindsey, the whole BB/CC/DD Cream thing can get confusing enough, and yes… EE creams are coming too! I explained the difference between all of them a bit in my Multi-Tasking Products post over on Babble, but here’s the nitty gritty.
Everything started with BB Creams (Beauty Balms) when they made their way from Asia to the US a few years ago. Basically, they are souped up tinted moisturizers. They should have some coverage, typically more than a traditional tinted moisturizer, but less than a foundation. There should be some anti-aging ingredients, often brightening ingredients to fight hyperpigmentation and usually they have sunscreen.
Because they came from Asia, initially there was a pretty limited shade selection and you’ll still find that to be the case for products that haven’t been updated recently. Usually those initial shades were a bit… grey? I believe this was meant to be a bit of a color correction for under foundations, but newer formulations are more skin toned.
So, a more pigmented version of a tinted moisturizer, but with added benefits.
CC Creams (Color Correcting) are largely the same as BB Creams, but with ingredients to help treat any causes of discoloration such as redness or sallow skin. The coverage is usually a bit lighter than with a BB Cream.
There are a few ways to translate DD Creams, but really… DD was next. These are meant to pack a bit more of an antiaging punch, though there are any of them on the market currently.
How to Use BB/CC/DD Creams
I think they’re mostly meant to be used in the place of a daily moisturizer. I use mine immediately after washing my face, and depending on the day I may or may not put a little foundation on over it. Honestly, it depends on what I’m doing and how I think my rosacea looks at that time. About 90% of the time my daily BB Cream has enough coverage for me with just a bit of added concealer.
1. Kiehl’s BB Cream $37
I’m such a huge Kiehl’s fan that it should shock no one that I’m a big fan of the Kiehl’s BB Cream (check out my Kiehl’s BB Cream review). What I really like about this BB Cream is the super high level of UV protection, that’s SPF 50+ people! But… yes, alas, it doesn’t cover the full UV spectrum. It is still much more protection that other lotions and BB Creams.
The product offers light to medium coverage, blends easily and does help fight aging with a pretty stable form of Vitamin C (learn more about how Vitamin C works in skin care). The formula also includes Adenosine. (I have a post around here somewhere on how that helps, and it does, it’s just hiding from me. I’ll link to it when I find it!)
Note that due to the presence of ethylhexyl salicylate I think this BB Cream is one to avoid if you’re pregnant.
2. Pond’s Luminous Finish BB+ Cream $10-12 depending upon the store, available at drugstores and big box stores.
This is the BB Cream that I reach for most of the time. It offers a bit more coverage and the light shade is a good match for me. I somehow still haven’t written about it in it’s own post, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ve probably noticed me mentioning it over and over!
The formula does contain some things that are great for your skin: Full UV spectrum coverage with SPF 15, Niacinamide (info on how Niacinamide works in skin care is included in my StriVectin post), Allantoin, and Vitamin E. This one is fine for use during pregnancy.
This one is a bit different, and it took me a while to decide if I like it or not. It has less coverage than other BB Creams, and this is one with that “grey” cast to it (which actually helps my skin quite a bit when my rosacea is acting up). I use it instead of a daily moisturizer, and while it isn’t exactly color correcting for the red in my skin, it seems to smooth things out and then I can add a light foundation over it. This BB Cream is really meant to act as more of a primer than as a combination lotion/light foundation (hence, it does have a lot of silicones in the formulation).
The formula contains vitamins C and E and is pregnancy safe.
6. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB $8.99
This is my other drugstore pick, and it is even more coverage than the Pond’s BB Cream. There aren’t really any active ingredients other than the sunscreen, so I think of it as a more pigmented tinted moisturizer. SPF 30
The Cargo CC Cream isn’t exactly what I expected when it arrived on my doorstep (see my Cargo Picture Perfect HD CC Cream review). This is one of those products that comes out looking like vanilla bean ice cream and changes color to match my skin tone. It works great for me in the summer, but isn’t quite light enough for me in the winter, so I don’t recommend this if you’re super pale.
It contains Vitamins C and E in addition to offering SPF 20. It is pregnancy friendly.
9. Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm $34
This BB cream from Too Faced is the one I reach for when I’m feeling a bit under the weather. It has light-medium coverage, and more light diffusion than the Pond’s Luminous, so it helps make me glow when I’m not looking so great! It is a bit too moisturizing for use as my every day BB cream (I have combination skin), but on days that I feel lack luster and dry, this is perfect.
The formulation does contain silicones to help it spread nicely on the skin, and it works great as a primer if you decide you need a bit more coverage and put foundation over it (though it is enough for me for casual days). You find Vitamins A and C (that Vitamin A makes it not pregnancy safe, FYI), in addition to some minerals like Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc. There’s even Chamomile to help soothe your skin! It is SPF 20.