BB or CC cream: What are the differences, and which is the best one for you

With the summer season finally here, I’ve been making changes to my makeup bag. My heavy foundation, the darker colours, the deep red lipsticks have all been put away for the year and my lighter shades, shimmery shadows and pearly lipstick are all up front and centre.

I love a light, sun-kissed look in the spring and summer months. My skin routine has to change as heavy concealers and thick foundations don’t last long in the sun, layered over my SPF. By the time I get to the car, my makeup is dripping off my face and an oily shine has started building up on my t-zone.

three makeup brushes on top of compact powders

Which is why the switch needs to happen to BB or CC creams in the warmer months. Part moisturiser, part makeup and even part primer, these little miracle creams can be total lifesavers when our skin wants to breathe and let its natural glow shine through. A lighter coverage than foundation, it can create a stunning ‘bare-faced’ look that looks fresh and summery.

But what is the difference between them and how do you know which one is right for you?

BB stands for ‘beauty balm’. These creams are like tinted moisturisers with added benefits, depending on what has been added to the formula. Some BB creams have primer added, or even SPF to protect and prep your skin. It is important to note however, that in the same way that it doesn’t function like a foundation in terms of coverage, it also doesn’t function as a fully protective SPF – it should be viewed as an addition rather than the entire solution to your coverage and SPF needs.

CC cream on the other hand, stands for ‘colour/complexion correcting’. This cream has more of the functions of a foundation than BB cream does, focusing on evening out skin tone and priming skin to colour correct dark spots. Less oily than a BB cream, it is less about adding in SPF benefits generally and more about lightweight coverage.

The Lining Lab of Beauty box

According to Superdrug, depending on your skin, different types of creams will suit you:

Oily skin: CC. It is less oily and lighter than the BB cream.

Redness: CC. It will correct your tone in no time.

Sensitive skin: Both can work wonders. Shop around and go for a BB or CC cream that complements your skin tone the most.

Anti-Ageing: Both BB or CC can come to the rescue. However, don’t be tempted to use them as an alternative to a great anti-ageing skincare routine.

Healthy Glow: BB. It will enhance your complexion and let your natural skin shine.

Blemish-prone skin: BB. It focuses on prevention of blemishes.

Skin with blemishes: CC. It will help you conceal problem areas.

We’ve picked out the best CC and BB creams on the market to help you make a selection for what best suits your skin’s needs – because everyone’s skin is different.

BB Creams

L’Oréal Paris C’est Magic BB Cream (RRP €14.99)

L’Oréal Paris C’est Magic BB Cream is an ultra-lightweight BB cream for a natural, flawless complexion. The BB cream formula contains mineral pigments which blend seamlessly into the skin, releasing colour upon application to match the skin’s unique tone and texture.

Enriched with Glycerin, it creates a light texture with long lasting hydration benefits of up to 24 hours. Infused with natural ingredients fig extract, Pro-vitamin B5 and Vitamin E, a refreshing antioxidant mix means you are ready to wake up and glow. This BB Cream provides SPF 20 sun protection to protect your skin.

Garnier BB Cream Original Light Tinted Moisturiser 50ml (RRP €14.99)

Want to achieve a natural, even complexion without drying out your skin? Garnier SkinActive BB Cream provides a 5-in-1 solution, with blemish-covering tinted pigments and 24-hour hydration. I used this product for years and really loved the coverage, although the tint was a little dark for me.

When skin needs a little extra TLC, BB cream goes the extra mile to offer more than foundation – giving skin long-lasting hydration as well as coverage. The luxuriously soothing BB foundation cream is bursting with moisturising qualities, making it an ideal BB cream for dry skin. The clever formula leaves skin feeling instantly hydrated and creates the perfect, smooth base for the rest of your makeup application.

Clinique Dramatically Different™ Moisturizing BB-gel 50ml (RRP €24.00)

This is an 8-hour oil-free hydration hit that naturally perfects and unifies skin tone – perfect for oily skin sufferers. This BB-gel with Transforming Tint Release Technology delivers a sheer wash of colour that first appears as a grey hue, then transforms to naturally perfect and unify skin tone.

By checking the camouflage print in the bottle, you can identify if BB-gel is a good fit for you. The swirls represent the lightest to deepest skin tones suitable for this formula. And with over 89% of women agreeing that their skin looked more even-toned, it’s perfect for someone who wants the benefits of a BB cream with the coverage of a CC cream.

Lancôme Hydra Zen Soothing BB Cream SPF 15 Medium 50ml (RRP €40.00)

The efficacy of skincare and the beauty expertise of make-up is united within a single multi-benefit product from Lancôme: their Hydra Zen BB Cream. Illuminating, hydrating and evening out the look of skin, leaves it feeling hydrated and protected from dehydration and protecting it from the appearing signs of stress. Worn alone or as a make-up base, its tinted balm texture melts into skin on application for an immediate fading effect of the appearance of the signs of tiredness.

Clarins BB Skin Detox Fluid SPF25 45ml (RRP €35.00)

Clarins lightweight formula is specifically designed to minimise imperfections, hydrate and provide an even complexion. It provides medium coverage with a natural-looking finish, to moisturise and balance skin with a lightweight, smoothing texture. The SPF25 provides protection and its quick and easy to use formula makes it the perfect product for immediate beauty results. Applied with the fingers, this smooth 3-in-1 complexion cream is naturally absorbed to produce a perfect result without appearing made up. Imperfections disappear and dull, tired skin is revitalised, while also providing sunscreen protection for the face.

CC Creams

La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Anti-Redness CC Cream 50ml (RRP €22.99)

A daily moisturising and complete cover and correction cream for skin prone to all types of redness. With SPF 30, it’s specifically formulated for sensitive skin prone to all types of redness, whether occasional or persistent, dispersed or localised. It provides immediate coverage, long-lasting correction and protection for skin prone to redness. Rosaliac CC is available in one universal shade that is adapted to suit fair to medium skin. This non-oily cream glides over the skin without leaving any streaks for a truly natural-looking finish.

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging CC Creme SPF 10 30ml (RRP €60.00)

Woman Massaging Her Face

This is the perfect product for ageing skin that needs a boost of radiance and summer glow. The sheer, universal shade complements and perfects virtually any complexion in one step. With IntuiGen Technology, it helps significantly reduce the look of key signs of ageing. 97% of women said their skin looked radiant, healthier and beautiful – instantly! A quick and effective summer skin solution.

Eucerin Sun Anti-Ageing Tinted CC Fair Sun Cream for Face with Hyaluronic Acid SPF 30, 50ml (RRP €24.00)

One for the women who have SPF as their top priority in their skincare routine, Eucerin Sun with Advanced Spectral Technology combines UVA/B filters for very high UV protection and Licochalcone A for neutralisation of free radicals induced by UV and high-energy visible light.

In addition, the formula with Hyaluronic Acid & mineral pigments instantly evens complexion and visibly reduces signs of ageing. With hyaluronic acid, you can apply generously before sun exposure and reapply frequently, especially after swimming, perspiring or towelling to maintain the original protection and coverage.

No7 Youthful CC Cream (RRP €9.75)

Crop unrecognizable young ethnic female in terry robe applying moisturizing cream on cheek while reflecting in mirror

The key benefit that all CC Creams deliver is a beautifully even complexion by correcting uneven skin colour and pigmentation. The new No7 Youthful CC Cream is a Complexion Corrector- it's a great multi-tasking product which combines giving you a beautifully even skin tone with anti-ageing benefits.

Just like a BB Cream it's great for those lighter coverage days or as an additional beautifier alongside your normal foundation/ skincare routine.

Available in 2 shades, the light coverage is fresh and natural for an easy-to-achieve flawless finish. The light diffusing soft focus pigments helps to even skin tone and corrects uneven pigmentation. With added Hyaluronic Acid, it functions as a light moisturiser that helps to make the skin look brighter, feel hydrated and give skin an instant, youthful radiance.