What’s the Difference Between a BB, a CC, and a Tinted Moisturizer?

November 12, 2013 | By | Comments (6)

Here’s a question people have been asking me just about daily since the introduction of the now-famous “alphabet” creams (as in, BBs, CCs, and even DDs): How are they different from tinted moisturizer? If you polled a dozen different beauty editors, you’d get a dozen different answers. In my opinion, the answer is (and it’s one that I’ve heard echoed by people at the companies who sell them): Not much.

So, clever marketing or must-have? Well now, that’s a bit more complicated. I’d say a bit of both. You see, I think there are your foundation types, and your non-foundation types. For the latter group, tinted moisturizers are a great option, offering some form of complexion correction, but a much lighter feel. The alphabet creams provide the same—but with some nice anti-aging benefits, perhaps a bit of extra hydration, and often tint as well as luminizing particles (ingredients that boost radiance). So, basically, they’ve just expanded the range of viable options for non-foundation wearers.

olay-cc_300My favorite happens to be Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting CC Cream ($20 at walmart.com), seen here. It has N-acetyl glucosamine and niacinamide to address brown spots and unevenness in tone—but mostly I love it because it is a killer tinted moisturizer.

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  1. Terri

    thanks for the explanation. I have been wearing tinted moisturizers for years and then suddenly came the letters and I wondered if there was a difference.

    November 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm
  2. Peg Kerr

    Olay used to sell a tinted moisturizer but I think they took it off the market when they came out with their CC cream, or at least I haven’t been able to find it. I also can’t find the eye cream with a hint of concealor anymore – just figured we are expected to use the CC cream for everything. But, I am disappointed because I really like the tinted moisturizer.

    November 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm
  3. Christina

    Thanks!! Well I feel better about sticking with my Mary Kay tinted moisturizer now! Love that stuff & it’s cheaper than Olay ;)

    November 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm
  4. Sarah

    Peg, if you really want to stick to the tinted moisturizer (like I do), then I would recommend You Rebel by Benefit. It’s got a bunch of great stuff in it, including SPF. It comes in two different shades – You Rebel and You Rebel Light. In my opinion, those are really the only two shades needed, as they blend into your skin so well. Hope this helps!

    November 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Soo…. what IS the difference??

    November 13, 2013 at 11:48 pm
  6. Ana Maria

    I purchased several BB creams, then when the CC’s came out – I bought those. My favorite had been the Loreal product as the Olay had too much perfume in it and I broke out in whiteheads. What I did notice on ALL of them, was that if I stayed to my cheeks, chin, forhead area – I was not too bad. But as a whole, they clog your pores even with moisturizer applied first, especially the nose area. I prefer the tinted moisturizers as well, as the SPF gives me more protection, the tint, more coverage. Boom!

    November 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

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