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Beauty or blemish balms (BB) and color correction (CC) creams are skin care products that may provide hydration, reduce dark spots, and protect the skin from sun damage. Many BB and CC creams make claims about benefits that are unproven.

This article discusses BB and CC creams in more detail and compares their similarities and differences. It also lists some of the best products a person can find online.

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BB creams function as both a moisturizer and foundation to reduce the need to purchase multiple skin care and makeup products.

BB creams may contain peptides, brightening agents, antioxidants, and moisturizing components such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. A recent article notes that hyaluronic acid helps with skin regeneration by providing moisture.

Learn about hyaluronic acid moisturizers here.

Some BB creams include an SPF ranging from 10–50 and contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Wearing a product with SPF may protect skin from sun damage.

Learn more about moisturizers with SPF here.

BB creams may replace foundation. They are lighter than most foundations but offer fewer shades when compared to traditional makeup foundations.

CC creams are similar to BB creams, acting as both a moisturizer and foundation. However, they usually contain ingredients to address specific issues, such as age spots and acne.

Manufacturers of CC creams often market them as “anti-aging” or able to reduce fine lines, redness, and blemishes. They may contain ingredients to benefit these skin issues.

Learn about the best anti-aging moisturizers here.

When individuals use CC creams on their own, these provide medium coverage as a base layer makeup product and create a natural, minimal makeup look. Those interested in more coverage can use CC creams as a primer under foundation.

BB creams, CC creams, foundations, and tinted moisturizers share similar characteristics. The following table compare their features and benefits:

BB creamsCC creamsFoundationsTinted moisturizers
Moisturizesyesyesnoyes
Coveragelight coverage and tintsheer yet full coverage similar to foundationprovides full coverageultra-light coverage
SPFyesyesrarelysometimes
Skincare benefits
(contains ingredients to address skin concerns such as acne, etc.)
oftenoftenrarelysometimes
Color optionslimitedlimitedmanymany
Formulascreamcreamcream, liquid, powder, mineral, solid, and spraycream, liquid, solid
Textures and finishesmedium texture, different finishes availablelight, airy texture, limited finisheswide range of textures and finishesmoderate range of textures and finishes

After narrowing down options based on basic skin type, a consumer still has many products to choose from when purchasing BB creams and CC creams.

Some features that a person can consider when looking for BB and CC creams include:

  • Sun protection: Some products offer SPF. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends choosing an item with SPF 30. This is because it blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.
  • Color shades: A person can check the shades available to match their skin tone.
  • Hydration: Products with hydrating properties may be best for people with dry skin. Moisturizing ingredients that individuals can look for include hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
  • Anti-aging properties: People who are considering an anti-aging cream can choose one that provides sun protection and contains vitamin C. In a 2017 article, researchers found that vitamin C may help regenerate skin and promote wound healing.
  • Finish preferences: Individuals can choose their finish preference. For example, BB creams offer a light finish, so these may be suitable for those who prefer a natural makeup look.

Skin types and skin products

Many products are formulated to suit different skin types. Therefore, an individual should consider the nature and condition of their skin when making a purchase.

People with oily skin may want to choose oil-free products that can regulate the skin’s oil production and will not clog pores. Ingredients such as natural clays and charcoal can work to absorb oil and reduce shine. Some BB creams include salicylic acid or sulfur to combat breakouts in acne-prone skin.

Learn about moisturizers for oily skin.

For dry and mature skin, individuals may want to consider hydrating products that include hyaluronic acid or ceramides. Some of these products may contain antioxidants and peptides.

Products that are clear of artificial fragrances and other common irritants may work well for sensitive skin.

Learn about the best moisturizers for sensitive skin here.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Below are four of the best BB creams:

Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 40

Best overall BB cream

This product claims to provide medium coverage without a heavy makeup feel.

It contains niacinamide, which may help prevent and treat acne, signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.

Learn more about niacinamide here.

The cream has SPF 40 and is free of sulfates.

It has a volume of 1.35 fluid ounces (fl oz) and costs $40.

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35

Best BB cream for sensitive skin

Smashbox Camera’s BB cream is formulated for uneven skin tone. The company says it also hydrates the skin and provides sun protection.

It does not contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, talc, oils, or fragrance.

Individuals can use this product on its own or before applying foundation. It is available in eight different shades.

The cream is available in 0.3 and 1 fl oz volume options, and pricing starts from $21.34.

Burt’s Bees BB Cream with SPF 15

Best BB cream for mature skin

The main ingredients of this cream are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It provides sun protection and helps moisturize the skin.

The company recommends a person use this product in the morning after cleansing their skin, 15 minutes before sun exposure.

There are three shades available.

The cream has a net weight of 1.7 fl oz, and pricing starts from $12.76.

Maybelline Dream Fresh Skin Hydrating BB Cream SPF 30

Best budget BB cream

Maybelline offers this oil-free cream in five different shades.

The company recommends applying a thin layer to the skin, with or without a moisturizer.

Net weight is 1 fl oz, and pricing starts from $8.99.

Below are four of the best CC creams:

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

Best overall CC cream

This is a color-correcting, full-coverage foundation that comes with SPF 50.

According to It Cosmetics, the cream contains hyaluronic acid, collagen, and peptides and is free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

The company recommends this product for people with normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types.

The CC cream is available in a 1.08 fl oz tube and costs $42.

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream SPF 30

Best CC cream for sensitive skin

This CC cream provides medium coverage, which the company says is appropriate for a range of skin tones.

It has a lightweight formula and is available in five different shades.

It does not contain parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. It is also allergy tested and gluten-free.

The product has a volume of 1.4 fl oz and is available for $39.50.

Derma Blend Continuous Correction CC Cream SPF 50+

Best CC cream for mature skin

This product is formulated with niacinamide, baicalin, vitamin E, and caffeine and comes with broad-spectrum SPF 50+ protection.

The manufacturer claims this CC cream can help treat redness, hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and age spots.

It is oil-free and has a lightweight formula.

The company recommends applying this CC cream with fingertips, a brush, or a sponge.

The product has a volume of 1 fl oz and is available for $39.

Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting CC Cream SPF 15

Best budget CC cream

Olay’s CC cream provides light foundation coverage and comes with SPF.

The manufacturer claims it hydrates the skin without blocking pores and does not leave a greasy residue on the skin.

It contains vitamins and antioxidants, and people can also use this cream as a moisturizer.

According to the manufacturer, people should apply this cream 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours.

The product has a volume of 1.7 fl oz and is available for $19.45.

BB and CC creams combine the properties of moisturizers and foundation, offering both hydration and coverage. They can be a convenient option for people who want to use fewer skin care and makeup products.

BB creams are hydrating and provide coverage. CC creams are similar but usually advertise other benefits such as anti-aging properties. Both BB and CC creams usually contain SPF.

Many skin care and makeup products make unsubstantiated claims about their benefits. People should consider their skin type, finish preferences, and skin care concerns when choosing a product. They should also investigate ingredient lists and reviews to choose a reliable BB or CC cream.