I'm sure by now you've at least vaguely heard of the latest makeup trend to sweep the market, BB and CC creams. What are they? BB stands for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm. Originating in Germany in the '80s, it's a cream that is your all-in-one primer, moisturizer, foundation and sunblock. Most BB cream forumlas are designed to oxidize and match your skin tone. CC Creams are Color Control Creams or Color Correcting Creams. CC Creams were designed to give heavier coverage - with the benefits of a BB cream. And now, there are many types of CC and BB creams to try, and each one is marketed as capable of banishing a variety of skin problems like acne, dark spots and aging skin. Confused yet?
Factor makeup artist Nicole Schimel breaks it down easily for us, explaining that the creams are very similar to widely used tinted moisturizers, which would be the coverage you get from a BB Cream, and foundation, which is the coverage you would receive from a CC Cream. The difference is the added serums in the BB and CC creams that promote healthier skin. Nicole's favorite? The Calvin Klein One 3 in 1 Face Makeup. She tells me it feels like skin and you can't tell you're wearing it. It has a matte, natural finish, corrects redness and blends beautifully.
I had to see what these creams were all about, so I set out and tried a few widely suggested BB and CC varieties. I was very critical of trying anything new, as I am a strong believer in Armani's Illuminating Silk Foundation. However, with its hefty $60 price tag, I'm willing to find other options.
L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream
For $8 this BB Cream boasts its four beautifying actions: hydrates, corrects, evens and perfects. And it promises to leave your skin more beautiful over time. Was I critical? Yes. As it sat next to my expensive snooty makeup products at home, it looked like it hardly stood a chance. Also, it came out looking like this on my foundation brush (below).
A white blob with little speckles in it. But I was surprised to find that as I applied it to my face, the white cream instantly turned the color of my skin. I was impressed. Shocked even. It looked really good. Like other BB creams, it had the light coverage of a tinted moisturizer. Throughout the day I gardened, cleaned the house and really gave this BB cream a workout - it didn't budge, crease or smear. You can find the best $8 I've ever spent at Target.
At $9 and also at Target, Almay's CC Cream came out looking like a normal foundation. The color matched my skin surprisingly well, and held up to a day's worth of sweaty work. Its coverage was a bit more heavy, similar to that of a foundation. This cream promises to cover imperfections flawlessly while correcting them over time, and has 35 SPF. While I haven't used it long enough to notice any drastic changes, I can say my skin hasn't looked this good makeup-free in months. Coincidence?
Almay Smart Shade CC Cream Complexion Corrector
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream
Spending $39 on Smashbox's BB Cream was a little punch in the stomach after I had spet half of the cash on creams that really pleased me. But just in case the higher-end products were better, I had to try it. I stopped at Ulta and I expected a few more color options at the store, but they also came in light, medium light and so on - just like the drugstore brands. The result? Pretty much the same as the less expensive versions. Worth four times as much? Not really. If you're one that just can't get a drugstore makeup brand though, I would definitely give this one a try. I have no complaints.
With all of these trials, I tried the BB or CC creams without any moisturizer and found that I still needed to wear one underneath the cream. I felt a little dry without it. What do I wear now? As my Armani foundation sits quietly in my makeup drawer, I find myself day after day reaching for the L'Oreal Magic BB Cream. I really love it. And my skin looks fabulous after I take my makeup off at the end of the day. Makeup snobs: I dare you, give it a try.
And don't forget to comment below on your favorite BB and CC creams.
Main image via Shutterstock.