The Truth About Those Mysterious Face Creams With the Really Bizarre Names

CC cream MaybellineJust when I thought I finally understood what "BB creams" were, then along came "CC creams." What's next, DD creams?! This all begs the question: What exactly are these double digit creams, and do we really need put them on our faces?

In a nutshell: both BB and CC creams are, essentially, tinted moisturizers (but better). They offer makeup + skincare in one. And, yes, we do!


Ok, I'm kidding. Obviously you don't NEED to use anything on your face. But BB and CC creams are great products if you WANT not only a little coverage (without looking too "makeupy"), but for your skin to be getting some great benefits along with looking a little brighter and smoother. I'm a big fan of BBs and CCs because I love that they're doing double-duty, and taking care of my skin instead of just covering it up like foundation.

So: The "BB" in BB cream stands for "Beauty Balm." The "CC" in CC cream stands for "Color Corrective." Theoretically, BB creams tend to be a little heavier and focused on hydration and protection, while CC creams can be more lightweight, and focused on correcting flaws. However, in my experience and research, there are many brands and products using these terms almost interchangeably. Rather than deciding if you want a "BB" cream or a "CC" cream, your best bet is to investigate a few of each, and see which product not only looks better on YOUR face, but seems best for your particular skin and concerns.

I've written before about The Body Shop BB cream that I use and love, and well as the great new Kiehl's Skin Tone Correcting and Beautifying BB Cream with SPF 50 that I just discovered. Here are a few more BB creams and CC creams worth sampling!

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB cream with SPF 30 is super affordable and an excellent product. It's designed to immediately brighten and even your skin tone, while hydrating and protecting. ($7.44 at

Elizabeth Arden just introduced their first-ever BB Cream; it comes in three formulas that target specific skincare concerns (oily, dry and combination skin). It provides a beautiful but ultra lightweight coverage, and contains antioxidant-rich Vitamin C plus anti-aging ingredients. I love it! ($32 at

Pur Minerals' new CC Cream with broad spectrum SPF 40 is designed to be a moisturizer, brightener, primer, concealer and SPF foundation, all in one. Not only does it balance out your skin tone, but it protects your skin from sun damage and is formulated to erase brown spots, blemishes, redness and fine lines. ($38 at

The recently launched Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector with SPF 30 is meant for all skin types; it's oil-free and non-acnegenic (won't cause breakouts!). It's very lightweight, and really brightens your whole complexion, while hydrating and protecting with antioxidants like Vitamin E. ($35 at

Olay CC Cream Total Effects Tone Correcting Moisturizer with SPF 15 is one of those cult favorites and it's a slightly more affordable option. It's a really nice, smooth coverage packed with ingredients to fight uneven tone, age spots, and wrinkles. (About 19.99 at the drugstore!)

See what I mean? A lot of different -- and similar benefits! These products are great, but choosing one really boils down to what works well for your skin. Get thee to a Sephora or department store cosmetic department, and work the samples!

Do you wear foundation or a BB or CC cream, or do you prefer a bare face?

Image via Maybelline

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