BB creams are an Asian import that have become super popular in the last two years here in the US. BB creams provide coverage with added skin care benefits like SPF and anti-oxidants--the list goes on depending on what brand you choose. They're lighter than foundation but heavier than tinted moisturizers. While the additives in BB creams can have the same efficacy as they would in stand-alone serums, be careful about counting on BB creams for adequate sun protection. "My only concern is that since BB cream is generally tinted, women use less on their face," Manhattan dermatologist Dr. Heidi Waldorf said. Meaning you won't slather it on the way you do--or should--with a more traditional sunscreen, resulting in inadequate protection.
The difference between BB and CC creams is subtle--CC generally stands for “color correcting” and the products are meant to address issues like redness or sallowness (usually with light-diffusing particles), whereas BB creams are like lighter foundation with a few skin care benefits thrown in. “CC cream is a color corrector and will be lighter on the skin [than a BB cream],” celeb makeup artist Nico Guilis told us. “They have more of a whipped, light, fluffy feel and finish--kind of the new and improved BB.”
While BB and CC creams are marketed for separate issues, and are theoretically different, I've tried many BBs and a few CC creams--and honestly, they're almost the same. Where it gets most confusing here is that BB/CC benefits and coverage vary greatly among different brands. For example, Clinique's CC cream is definitely more opaque than some BB creams I've tried from other brands. So go figure. You have to be diligent in reading ingredients and most importantly, trying them out (like we did) to figure out what you want and need. (Allure has a great list here detailing which BB/CC brands are best for which type of skin issues).