What to Choose: Foundation, BB, or CC Cream

Updated 05/15/19
Product Disclosure
 Badgley Mischka - Backstage - September 2017/Cindy Ord/Getty Images

There's several different foundation options out there with so many varying levels of coverage. From light tints that even out skin tone, to fuller coverage foundations no matter what your makeup preference is, you'll definitely be able to find it. Before you go on your search for the right product, it's important to know the difference between certain types so you know what to expect. Here's a quick, easy guide to foundations, cc and bb creams:


The best product to help even out skin tone and give full coverage, foundation has been perfecting skin for centuries, and makeup companies have come a long way in improving foundation to make it easy to use. Foundation is thicker than creams in consistency, comes in a multitude of shades for all different skin tones, and can be used for everyday wear or when you are getting dressed up for a special occasion. It has several levels of coverage, from sheer to heavy, but the sheerest is more coverage than creams typically provide.

You can also find a foundation that fits your specific needs: If you have dry skin there are moisturizing formulas, if you have mature skin there are anti-aging formulas, and so forth. While most women use sponges or their fingers, the best way to apply foundation is with a brush. A brush blends the makeup the best and gives you an even amount of coverage all over the face.

Start applying foundation in more problem areas such as around the nose first where it can tend to get red and then blend out in all other areas of the face to ensure everything gets covered. This is a great way to cover problem areas first before everything else.

Tinted Moisturizer

Tinted moisturizer is quick and easy to use and provides light coverage for a natural, fresh look. It contains a little color and moisturizer and usually sunscreen. If your skin is pretty great and you don't have much to cover, a tinted moisturizer could work for you. Use your fingers or a foundation brush to apply the tinted moisturizer. A brush will give you a more precise application.

BB Creams

Originating in Asia, this product variously stands for "beauty balm" or "blemish balm." It's used to even out skin tone and correct blemishes. After the launch of this particular product, many companies started phasing out tinted moisturizers because BB cream contains so many more benefits but is still easy to use and provides light coverage. BB cream is lighter than standard foundation coverage but thicker than a tinted moisturizer. BB creams can sometimes contain sunscreen, but their key ingredients are antioxidants to help protect skin against free radicals and damage from pollution.

On the negative side, you'll generally only find a handful of shades in BB creams; you might find two to four shades of BB cream in any particular brand, whereas you might have from six to 40 foundation shades to choose from. To apply BB cream, put a little bit on your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin and blend in with your fingers, a wet sponge, or a foundation brush.

CC Creams

CC creams are the most recent to launch. Also known as "color corrective" or "color control," they are lighter than BB cream or foundation. Most CC creams have a soft, whipped texture that is light and airy. The concept behind a good CC cream is to even out blotchiness, redness, or hyper pigmentation of the skin while adding ingredients like lycopene to calm redness and vitamin C to promote radiance. CC creams give you a treatment-oriented makeup that both protects and restores, along with smoothing out skin tone with sheer coverage.

CC cream works well as a primer underneath foundation. By doing this, you completely even out the skin tone while adding anti-aging and hydrating benefits. Just a small amount of foundation blended on top will give you a flawless, airbrushed finish that will last longer throughout the day.  As with BB cream, you will find only a few shades to choose from in this product. Apply CC cream the same way you do a BB cream.

Related Stories