Diverse women wearing makeup.

The key to nailing that flawless “no-makeup makeup” look? Finding the perfect base. However, looking through makeup aisles can be downright confusing—tinted moisturizers, liquid foundation, cream foundation, powder…where do you even begin?

For a natural-looking complexion, you want something that lightly covers imperfections while still allowing your skin to breathe and giving it a dewy finish. Enter these multitasking products fit for busy women: BB cream and CC cream—but even after narrowing it down to these two choices, you might still be a little confused. What’s the difference? We break it down below so you can easily ace your base. 

BB Cream

Short for beauty balm or blemish balm, BB cream bridges the gap between skincare and makeup.

What is BB Cream:

If tinted moisturizer and foundation had a baby, it would probably be a BB cream. The first version of a BB Cream was developed in Germany in the 1950s by a dermatologist who made it for her patients after they got facials and skin peels—making BB creams ideal for women who want to cover up their . Its texture is heavier than a moisturizer but it’s lighter than a foundation, providing sheer, buildable coverage that still allows your cute freckles to peek through.

A big plus: BB creams also contain skin-nourishing ingredients such as antioxidants, which fight off skin-damaging free radicals; moisturizing agents like ; and sunscreen, which protects your skin from harmful, skin-aging UV rays. All that plus a dewy, natural-looking finish? We give the BB cream an A!

If there’s any downside, it’s that BB creams don’t typically have a wide range of shades so it might be a bit challenging to find one that matches your skin tone exactly. Your best is to find one that oxidizes to adapt to your skin tone, like POND'S Age Miracle BB Cream.

Use BB Cream when:

You want a barely-there base that’s a step up from tinted moisturizer? A BB cream is also great if you want to ditch heavy foundation and allow your skin to breathe—while still looking dewy and flawless.

How to apply BB Cream:

Dot the BB cream onto five areas of your face: your forehead, nose, both cheeks, and chin. From there, you can blend using your fingertips, a wet sponge, or a brush.

CC Cream

Color correcting, color control, or simply CC cream is like a BB cream with concealer built in.

What is CC Cream:

It’s everything that a BB cream is except its main superpower is color correction. That means it helps even out your skin tone by targeting skin issues like blotchiness, redness caused by rosacea, uneven texture, hyperpigmentation, sunspots, and acne. It can also help make enlarged pores and wrinkles look less noticeable, while still providing lighter, more natural-looking coverage than foundation. A CC cream doesn’t necessarily treat the skin issues it covers up but, like a BB cream, it contains moisturizing, , and skin-protecting ingredients.

Use CC Cream when:

You want the lightweight coverage of a BB cream but have skin issues like discoloration or redness that you want to conceal with a more buildable product.

How to apply CC Cream:

Just like BB cream, dot CC cream onto your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin, then blend. You can also use it as a primer, applying on specific spots where there’s discoloration before you layer on BB cream or foundation.

In short, both BB creams and CC creams nourish your skin while providing lighter coverage than foundation, but CC creams can correct any redness or other discoloration on your skin. It’s great for simple, everyday makeup. You can use each one on its own or use them together for fresh-looking, even-toned skin!