The Difference between Tinted Moisturizer, Foundation, BB Cream, and CC Cream

The Difference between Tinted Moisturizer, Foundation, BB Cream, and CC Cream

Posted by Brooklyn S. on

No matter what makeup look you aim for or prefer, all makeup looks have one thing in common, achieving an even and smooth look. You have many options to choose from for achieving a radiant and perfected complexion, including BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers, and foundations. Although having a variety of picks is a good thing, it can be confusing, especially if you have a newly found love for makeup. The never-ending list of these products has made the process much more complex than just choosing your correct shade, coverage, and finish.

If you’re curious about the difference between BB cream, CC cream, tinted moisturizer, and foundation and can’t decide what will work the best for you, let’s settle the debate.

What is a BB Cream?

Let’s start by understanding what BB cream is so you can know the facts about BB cream vs. CC cream. BB cream is sometimes referred to as the blemish or beauty balm. Whatever you decide to call it, it is the base product that’s widely popular for its power to even out skin texture and conceal dark spots or blemishes. The formulas of BB creams are usually lightweight and provide enough coverage to make the skin appear smoother and even-toned. BB creams are placed between tinted moisturizer and foundation in terms of thickness and coverage.

Who Should Use BB Creams?

BB cream is ideal for those who prefer slightly even and glowing skin without feeling the thickness and heaviness of foundations. In addition, BB cream is the best for makeup enthusiasts who like to keep it minimal but still have a spotless makeup base. Moreover, you’ll get additional skin benefits when you use BB creams as they usually contain sunscreen, anti-aging, and nourishing components.¹ In addition, these compounds offer antioxidant effects, which protect the skin from free radicals and other toxic elements in the environment and keep it nourished. Therefore, you’ll not only get a beautiful-looking complexion but also protect your skin against cell-damaging oxidative stressors.

Drawbacks of Using BB Creams

While BB creams offer various benefits, they also have some downsides. BB cream formulas manufactured by many beauty brands come in a limited shade range. As a result, you might not be able to find a shade that suits your skin tone and will have to choose a lighter or darker shade and work with it. Foundations, on the contrary, come in a more extensive range of shades. 

When and How to Use BB Creams?

BB creams are perfect for days or events when you aim to keep your makeup look minimal with a lightweight base but want more coverage than a tinted moisturizer. Just take out a small amount of BB cream and dab it onto your cheeks, forehead, nose, chin, and neck just like you would apply your foundation and blend it into the skin using your fingertips, brush, or a wet sponge. You are all set to enjoy glowy and smooth skin.

What is a CC Cream?

CC creams are aimed at making your makeup routine simpler and easier. CC cream is similar to BB cream, but it is more widely known as a color-correcting makeup product, hence the name CC cream which stands for color correcting cream. What differentiates CC creams from BB creams is their texture. CC cream is lighter in texture than a BB cream and provides light coverage when used as a makeup base. CC cream can be used to even out skin tone and achieve light coverage, or it can be used before applying a foundation as a primer with color-correcting pigment. 

Who Should Use CC Creams?

Although the multi-action formulas of CC creams are tailored specifically to color correct the skin, they also offer some other skin benefits like BB creams. So, if you are also scouring for a product with skin advantages and covering skin imperfections, CC creams are an excellent choice.

Beauty manufacturers often add skin-soothing ingredients to CC cream formulations, which can help reduce redness, itching, and blotchiness. They can also conceal dark spots and hyperpigmentation on the skin. Moreover, some CC creams on the market also come with sunscreen to protect the skin from oxidative damage. So, if you want to make your skincare and makeup routine simpler, you can find a formula of CC cream with SPF.

Some formulas of CC creams on the market are also packed with anti-aging, hydrating, and moisturizing ingredients.² CC creams provide a sheer finish to the skin with light coverage. CC cream is an excellent alternative for those who like BB creams but struggle with redness and uneven skin tone. So, if you are looking for a base to calm your skin, promote the skin’s radiance, and balance your skin tone, CC creams have all you need. 

Drawbacks of Using BB Creams

Like BB creams, CC creams usually come in a narrow range of shades, making it hard to find a formula matching your skin tone.

When and How to Use a CC Cream?

CC creams are perfect for you if you use a base that feels light on your skin, makes your skin texture appear smooth, and provides a color-balancing effect. You can apply your CC cream the same way as BB cream, i.e., on its own or underneath your foundation. The difference is that it can work as a color-correcting primer under the foundation, yielding an airbrushed makeup look. 

What is a Tinted Moisturizer?

A tinted moisturizer is a moisturizing cream or lotion with a bit of color added. The name gives you a clear idea of what it is and how it works. Tinted moisturizers have the least coverage compared to BB creams, CC creams, or foundations. One advantage of using tinted moisturizer is that it can give you a natural finish that even the sheerest foundations can’t provide.

Who Should Use Tinted Moisturizer?

As mentioned above, tinted moisturizers provide the least coverage among all the makeup base options available. Therefore, they make a suitable fit for people who want to keep their base very light or strive to keep their makeup steps minimal while heading out to save time. Furthermore, you can choose your tinted moisturizer according to your particular skin type because a range of formulas by various brands are available for each skin type. If you have dry skin, you can buy a thick and heavy formula, while a lightweight, non-greasy formula is ideal for oily skin.

Drawbacks of Using Tinted Moisturizer

Tinted moisturizers don’t offer high coverage, so if you have dark spots or uneven skin texture, they won’t do much for you. Also, unlike BB and CC creams, tinted moisturizers don’t have many benefits other than moisturizing the skin.

When and How to Use Tinted Moisturizer?

A tinted moisturizer can be used when you don’t want to go heavy on your makeup and want to even out your skin tone without applying a BB cream, CC cream, or a foundation. Putting on a tinted moisturizer is pretty simple. You can apply it with your fingertips like your regular moisturizer or use a makeup brush.

What is a Foundation?

Want more coverage than BB creams or CC creams? Foundation can take your makeup game to the next level when it comes to achieving high coverage base that helps to camouflage skin imperfections, especially rough skin texture and dark spots. There was a time when foundations only came in thick and heavy consistencies. Depending on your preference and requirements, you can now opt for foundations with light, medium, or heavy thickness and coverage. Another difference between BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers, and foundations is that foundations are available in plenty of shades for every skin tone.

Who Should Use Foundation?

Foundations are well-suited for makeup lovers who love applying a heavier base to their everyday makeup look or want spotless makeup on special occasions. The higher coverage and thicker foundation texture make them great for covering blemishes, acne scars, dark spots, and age spots.³ Moreover, you can opt for an oil-free or matte foundation if you have oily skin and an oil-based foundation if your skin tends to become dry. Foundations can last a lot longer than other options.

Drawbacks of Using Foundation - Most foundations don’t come with anti-aging, moisturizing, and antioxidant ingredients, so you can’t reap added benefits from your foundation. Also, most do not have SPF added to their formulas.

When and How to Use Foundation? - Using a foundation when coverage is your primary objective would be best. Also, foundations are your best bet if you are after a broader range of shades. You can blend it with fingertips or

Final Thoughts

Perfecting your base can be a making or breaking point in your favorite makeup look. A flawless base sets the foundation of every makeup look, and without it, you won’t be able to achieve your sought-after look. You can opt from a variety of BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers, and foundations. All these products vary in finish and the coverage they offer, ranging from light to heavy. If the idea of finding the right product for your specific skin seems near impossible, knowing the difference between all these products can help you make the correct choice.



  1. Mandell, Janna. (2022). ‘Why your sunscreen isn’t working’, Washington Post. Accessed July 20, 2022. Available at:
  2. Kennedy, Madeline. (2020). ‘These are the best, most effective ingredients you should look for in a moisturizer’, Accessed July 20, 2022. Available at:
  3. Sissons, Beth. (2022). What to know about skin blemishes’, Medical News Today. Accessed July 21, 2022. Available at:

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