BB Vs CC creams: What’s the difference?



The beauty world can make things really confusing sometimes. Just when you think you know your foundation from your tinted moisturiser, they throw in some BB and CC creams just to keep you on your toes.

BB (Beauty Balm) Creams have been around for  a while now, but the more recent arrival of the CC cream has blurred the lines a little. Now trying to work out the difference between the two similar products, and decide which on best suits your needs can be a challenge- especially when you can’t read the Japanese descriptions on the packaging!

So, I have put together a quick and easy guide to help you decode the world of Japanese BB and CC creams.


BB Cream: Blemish Balm Cream or Beauty Balm Cream

The original BB Cream was created in Germany, by a dermatologist who wanted a multi purpose product for patients to use post laser treatment, when skin needs to be gently cared for but also provide some coverage to even skin tone. The beauty loving South Koreans were the first to see the broad appeal of of a multi-purpose beauty balm, and it became so popular that it quickly spread throughout Asia and then the United States.

A BB Cream is an all in one skincare product for daytime use. Put basically it is a sheer foundation with extra skincare perks.

The added benefits of the BB cream vary a lot from brand to brand but generally they act as an moisturiser, UV protector, primer and light foundation. Some also include skin care ingredients such as antioxidants and vitamins to nourish the skin throughout the day.

The coverage provide by BB creams also differs from brand to brand, but generally the coverage should be lighter than a foundation but heavier than a CC cream.

BB cream is the perfect busy morning product as you can use the one cream and it covers your moisturiser, SPF and light coverage needs. Perfect when you don’t want a heavily made up face, but need to even out the skin for a natural, no makeup look.

When you are shopping for a BB cream in Japan it’s important to know a few differences between Japanese style BB creams and those you may have tried previously from Western brands. Japanese BB creams are higher coverage than many Western brands, with a thicker consistency. Appealing to the Japanese beauty ideal of brightening the skin, many Japanese BB creams have whitening/ brightening skincare ingredients and overall effect on the skin. However, this doesn’t mean that Japanese BB Creams will not suit non-asian skin tones.

Here are 3 great Japanese BB creams that I can use on my skin:


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For acne prone skin: Ettuisais Medicinal BB Mineral Gel (¥1,800)

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For good coverage: Maquillage Perfect Multi Base BB (¥3,240)

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For a dewy, bright complexion: Sekkisei White BB Cream (¥2,330)


CC Cream: Colour Correct Cream or Colour Control Cream

Following the success of the BB Cream, cosmetic companies have developed the CC cream. CC Cream is designed to address colour related skin issues like redness or sallowness with different coloured light reflecting particles. Colour correcting using green, yellow, purple and peach shades is nothing new, professional make-up artists have been using these shades for a long time to diffuse redness, cover purple shadows under the eye and create and even skin tone before applying foundation.

Most CC creams act as colour corrector, primer and sometimes contains an SPF, but this varies from brand to brand.

AS with BB creams, coverage of CC creams can vary greatly from brand to brand. But generally a CC cream should give lighter coverage than a BB cream. Some CC creams provide no coverage at all, as the purpose is to create a more uniform skin colour before applying a foundation on top.

Here are 3 great Japanese CC products:


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For a poreless finish: Shu Uemura Poreraser CC UV Under Mousse (¥3,900)


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For a youthful glow: SKII Aura Activating CC Cream (¥9,180)


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For a pretty, slightly flushed complexion: Jill Stuart Airy Tint CC (¥3,200)


Have you used a BB or CC cream before? What are your favourites?




Where can you buy these products in Tokyo? 


Ettusais– available at all Japanese drugstores and beauty specialty stores like Ainz & Tulpe

Jill Stuart– available at department stores

Maquillage– available at Japanese drugstores and beauty specialty stores

Sekkisai– available at all Japanese drugstores and beauty specialty stores like Ainz & Tulpe

SKII– available at department stores and beauty specialty stores

Shu Uemura– available at their Aoyama flagship store and department stores





7 thoughts

  1. You have no idea how helpful this post is! I’ve been soooo confused and lost when it comes to BB & CC creams; knowing the difference, what they each do, and which one(s) I should try, etc. I bought a CC cream a while ago but have only used it once or twice because I’m not exactly sure what to do with it…

    Am I supposed to use it in conjunction with a moisturizer, or instead of one?

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. So glad you found this post helpful! I think if you have oily skin there is no need to apply when wearing a BB cream as most have moisturising ingredients, but it depends on the brand and your skin type. I have dry skin so just a BB is not enough for me! CC creams you generally would need to apply a moisturiser as well, as most will just help even out your skin colour. Hope this helps! Alisa.

  2. Ettusais BB Mineral Cream is my all-time favorite BB cream! But it break me out if I use it everyday 🙁
    Do you have any recommendations for BB creams suitable for acne-prone skin?

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