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A BB or CC: What's the Difference?

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In 2013, a beauty product that only does one thing is a total slacker.

These days it’s all about the multitasker—foundations that fight acne, powders that also act as portable Photoshop, lipsticks that freshen your breath, concealers that also fight for world peace. Well, your beauty products may not be curing cancer (yet!), but rest assured that they are working very hard.

Nowhere is that multitasking more evident than in the last two years’ proliferation of BB and CC creams, the magical face creams that purport to solve every problem under the sun. What are they? What do they do? Are they secretly the exact same thing? Do you really need one in the first place?

The Same, But Different (Although Really the Same)
BB (Beauty Balm) Creams are from Asia, and they’re formulated to be an all-in-one moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, anti-aging treatment, and foundation.

CC (Color Correcting) Creams, on the other hand, are from Asia, and they’re formulated to be an all-in-one moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, anti-aging treatment, and foundation. Except they’re a wee bit thinner.

Yep, it’s the opinion of this beauty writer that when it comes down to it, there’s no real, legitimate, tangible difference between the two. Both types are nice all-purpose products that can improve skin tone. Both are versatile and can be added to a skincare regimen in several different ways. Both come in dozens of formulas to specifically target dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin, or other concerns. Both can save you some time or some money. Both are probably going to be sticking around the market for a while.

BB creams tend to be more about coverage, with thicker formulas that work well as primers or under other makeup. CC creams tend to have more anti-aging and skin-improving properties. But there’s more variation between two brands' products than betwen the two categories. 

So what are you supposed to do with a BB or CC cream anyway? Shake up your beauty routine with one of these ideas:

Wear It Instead of Foundation
If your skin doesn’t need full coverage, use a BB/CC instead of foundation, at least on casual days. The light hint of color can be just enough to even skin tone and provide a little extra moisture, plus extra SPF. Just remember that the SPF in makeup isn’t enough to protect you fully, so be sure to wear a real sunscreen underneath.

Beef Up Your Foundation
If your favorite foundation has the ideal finish or color match, yet doesn’t quite deliver the coverage you want, mix in a bit of BB or CC cream to beef it up. A pea-sized amount of either can make foundations slightly more opaque without seriously affecting the finish.

Use It as a Primer
If your skin is oily or the weather is steamy, mix a bit of BB/CC cream into your primer to help give it a little extra stickiness. Or just apply a very thin layer of cream to your skin before any foundation at all.

Mix It Into Your Sunscreen or Moisturizer
For the ultimate natural finish, mix just a dab of BB/CC cream into your regular moisturizer or sunscreen to provide just a hint of color. Perfect for days at the beach or any outdoor activity where you want to look picture-perfect but virtually makeup-free.

Get More Anti-Aging Power
CC creams tend to have more anti-aging ingredients and properties than traditional foundations, so even if your skincare regimen is focused on clock-rewinding, get an edge by mixing a small amount of CC cream into your makeup. 


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