How to Choose Between BB Cream, CC Cream and Foundation

June 17, 2021
By: Megan McIntyre | by L'Oréal
BB Cream vs. Foundation: Which One Is Best for Your Skin?

If you walk down any makeup aisle, you’ll be met with an abundance of complexion products — and while we appreciate the variety, it can be hard to sift through every liquid and cream to find the one that’s right for your skin type. To help you find your perfect match, we spoke to New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo and celebrity makeup artist Stephanie Flor about the difference between BB cream, CC cream and foundation and tips for applying each. 

What Is BB Cream?

BB cream is an all-in-one makeup product. It traditionally has good-for-your-skin ingredients like SPF and sufficient coverage to even out redness and smooth rough texture. BB creams have finishes that range anywhere from a barely-there tint to medium coverage. BB creams also have the added benefit of helping breakout-prone skin. "If you're acne-prone, using a BB cream that’s oil-free is a good way to go,” says Flor. We recommend the Maybelline New York Dream Pure BB Cream, which is formulated with salicylic acid to address acne.

Maybelline New York Dream Pure BB Cream

What Is Foundation?

Foundation is a classic go-to option for makeup artists and beauty lovers who want to create a flawless canvas and have superior skin coverage. If you want something that's going to last all day and give you airbrushed-looking skin, foundation is the right choice, says Flor. Foundations are also available in a wide range of coverage options. For buildable, light-to-medium coverage, we love the L'Oréal Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation, a lightweight formula that lasts all day. If you prefer medium-to-full coverage, reach for the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, which leaves a naturally luminous finish.

armani luminous silk

What Is CC Cream?

Cut from the same cloth as a BB cream, a CC cream, or color-correcting cream, is an all-in-one product intended to address redness, darkness and sallowness. It blends skincare ingredients with light-diffusing properties to give you a smoother complexion, and offers varying levels of coverage. The Dermablend Continuous Correction CC Cream SPF 50+ is one of our newest full-coverage favorites.

Dermablend CC cream

How to Apply BB and CC Cream

BB creams and CC creams are a true time-saver in the morning and impossible to mess up. “Anything that combines sunscreen, skincare ingredients, antioxidants and light coverage is ideal for the busy person who doesn't have time for a more in-depth regimen,” says Dr. Peredo. Just rub a pea-sized or dime-size amount between your hands to warm it up and apply to bare, freshly cleansed skin. You can use a sponge or brush for application, too. Just note, if you have extra dry skin, you can benefit from applying a moisturizer underneath your BB or CC to give your skin an added boost of hydration.  

How to Apply Foundation

Foundation requires more precise application, especially if you’re trying to spot-conceal redness, blemishes and dark circles. Start by dabbing the product in the center of the face or where you require the most coverage. You can blend in the product with a damp sponge for a full-coverage, airbrushed effect or buff it in with foundation brush for slightly lighter coverage. We’re partial to the It Cosmetics Airbrush Blurring Foundation Brush #101

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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