To BB, or not to BB? (and instead CC)

23 May

The BB train came over from Asian a few years ago, but I only got on board late last year after a recommendation from a real person as opposed to an advertisement. Then, right as I was coming near the end of my first tube, I get a sample of CC lotion in my monthly Birchbox. Hold up now.

What is that? What’s the difference? Which is better? Why does my makeup tray look like alphabet soup?

OK, I know about BBs, aka beauty balms. Depending on the brand, they do a whole bunch of stuff: moisturize, prime, cover, provide anti-aging benefits and sun protection. They’re perfect for the lazy days of summer (or if you’re like me, the lazy days of all year). So what’s a CC…Cute Cream?

To find out, I turned to the expert panel: Google. Turns out that CC stands for color correcting (ohhhhhhh), and it’s supposed to address skin tone issues like redness, sallowness, etc.

Alright, well, whatever—which one is better?

I put my two samples to the test. (It’s worth saying here that brands vary wildly in their claims and formulas, so don’t expect the results I got here to extend to any other brands).

Option A: (or should I say, B? heh heh)

Name: Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector, UVA/UVB SPF 15, in Light/Medium

Claim: A combination of Hyaluronic Acid, Lipidure Microspheres, and Glycerin improves softness and suppleness of skin for 8 hours. Vitamin C boosts radiance and luminosity while rich mineral pigments smooth skin, even complexion, and give a healthy glow in one use.

Option B/C:

Name: SuperGoop SPF 35 Daily Correct CC Cream in Light to Medium

Claim: It’s a “multivitamin for your skin.” It promotes youthful skin with anti-aging benefits, protects from UVA, UVB, and infrared rays at the highest level, and softens the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pores. Omega fatty acids reduce inflammation and moisturize.



Check out my earrings. They’re cushion cut. 😉

I’m not really sure why a BB is classified more as a foundation or tinted moisturizer while a CC is a skin corrector. Both blended in absolutely seamlessly on my freckled skin, despite having a slightly different tint coming out of the bottle. In fact, I put one on each half of my face to a side by side comparison for you guys, and you can’t tell the slightest difference from a distance. Both make my skin look nice and smooth with minimal blending and both moisturize at about the same level, which is to say, not quite enough for my dry skin. But happily, neither one is greasy feeling at all—they were both perfectly light feeling for summer but still made me feel “made up.” Neither clogs your pores to excess—take it from the girl who manages to wash her face maybe like, five out of seven nights a week. (Save the lecture).


The BB is definitely thicker (or richer, if you’re a copywriter). It feels a lot more like a lotion. It’s slightly more scented than the CC, but only because the CC has basically zero scent. I infinitely prefer the lotion texture to the fluid texture (like Urban Decay’s BB, which I also sampled); it find it more moisturizing and easier to deal with. The CC cream is slightly dryer, if that makes any sense—kind of like that Neutrogena dry touch sunscreen. It immediately soaks in, so it doesn’t go quite as far as the BB. That’s unfortunate because it costs like 3 times as much. The biggest visible difference is that the CC is matte and the BB is slightly shimmery—light-reflecting particles or whatever.

For realz tho. Which is better?

In the end, I did end up purchasing a full-size bottle of the CC instead of another tube of BB, for two reasons: I prefer the matte look, and the higher SPF.* But in the end, both of these are great choices if you’re looking for a serious facial multi-tasker. There’s really no big difference or preference between BBs and CCs besides advertising. (What’s next, amirite?).

Oh for Pete’s sake.

Oh for Pete’s sake.

*Disclaimer: most dermatologists warn against using a BB or CC as your sunscreen, because you won’t use enough due to the pigment. I say it’s probably adequate for staying indoors all day, and anyway, what the heck is the point of a multi-task product if it doesn’t really multi-task? And if any brand should take the top spot in sun protection, it should be Supergoop, which is first and foremost a sunblock company.


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