Cupid Stories,  Tips & Tricks

BB vs CC: What Exactly is the Difference?

How does your beauty routine go? If you’re a Korean woman, you may have a routine with a minimum of 5 steps (cleansing->toning->moisturizing->wrinkle/eye/sun-care->base)… and that’s just the skincare routine.  If we bring makeup routine into the conversation, there are probably 10+ steps in an average Korean woman’s beauty routine, and even more if you count the additional exfoliating, revitalizing, rejuvenating skincare sessions that are done once or twice a week.  But enough said, you get the picture: Korean beauty routines can be LONG.

As a result, putting on makeup can become an arduous task.  So it’s not surprising that Korean cosmetics companies came up with products to shorten the time and minimize the effort of this daily chore. The most popular of these time-efficient products is undoubtedly BB Cream.


Since its commercial launch in 2006, BB Cream (“blemish balm” cream) has become a must-have item in everyone’s makeup pouch, thanks to its light consistency and easy-to-apply formula.  It has the properties of a moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup primer, concealer, and foundation all in one, so what’s not to love about it?

A quick-and-easy product like BB Cream is particularly appreciated in the summer months when you really could do without a lot of stuff on your face.

However, when there is something good, something better always shows up.  Thus comes in CC Cream. Yep, there’s a newcomer in the cosmetics world and it’s taking over pretty quickly.


CC Cream is short for many things depending on the brand: Color Correction, Color Control, Complete Correction, Complete Care, Complete Combination, Care & Color, and probably every other possible combination of cosmetics related “C” words you can think of.  Before you get riled up about “color correcting”, just take note that it means evening out your complexion, NOT changing the color of your skin.

But what do they actually mean? And besides the name, what exactly is the difference between BB and CC?

CC Cream is being marketed as the upgraded BB Cream.  But to be precise, the main purposes of the products are slightly different. BB Cream is an all-in-one concealer/foundation offering full coverage while CC Cream puts more emphasis on nourishing the skin while providing optimal coverage. The main complaint about BB Cream was that it had the tendency to go on chalky in the beginning and then go “gloomy” as time went by, leaving a grayish cast by the end of the day. Although products were made for different skin types, those with dry skin would often have to use extra moisturizers with BB Cream, which sort of defeated its main purpose as an all-in-one product.

Therefore, CC Cream was created with stronger moisturizing properties.  And instead of flawless “perfect” coverage, it aims to “correct” uneven skin tone by offering just the right amount of coverage to fix those problem areas. Consequently, CC Cream has a much lighter consistency than BB Cream. It is recommended for those who want to portray a dewy “makeup-free” look, even more natural than that accomplished by using BB Cream. Anti-aging, skin polishing, and nourishing are other factors added to CC Cream.

So far, most of the reviews I’ve read about CC Cream have been favorable. However, it is important to note that many reviews advise using a separate sun-care product to be on the safe side, even though all CC Creams come with SPF features, because the cream overall is more lightweight with thinner coverage.  In fact, the negative remarks about CC Cream were almost all about the coverage. If you’re not a fan of the extremely natural look, you might want to enhance it a bit with a matching BB Cream.

Personally, I find CC Cream to be great for hot and humid days, but not enough when I want to be in a properly dressed formal situation (I’m not 20 years old anymore and my skin needs more help).  It really depends on what you’re going for. There are different occasions for CC Cream, BB Cream, and foundation and sometimes, you really do need all three.

Like BB Cream, CC Cream is offered by most Korean and international cosmetics brands, from low/mid-market to high-end brands. In Korea, the low/mid-market brands are trumping the high end brands in the CC Cream department, but I am assuming this is because CC Cream is vastly popular in the younger market. (As I’ve mentioned before, mature women prefer more coverage.) However, high end CC Cream sales are also hitting stride, and beauty experts predict they will get even more popular as time goes by.

And of course, like most cosmetics in Korea, there is CC Cream for men, too.  Anybody can use a little boost sometimes.

So BB vs CC: what’s your winner?  Go take your Pick HERE!

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