Deciphering BB Creams, CC Creams, and Tinted Moisturisers

BB and CC creams have taken the beauty world by storm and it’s safe to say they’re here to stay. Add tinted moisturisers to the mix and the complexion category gets even more complicated. But, in fact, all three have their own unique qualities and benefits that make them more than just make-up. If you don’t want to take us at face value, read on. We’re spelling out what you need to know about each type of base and which one will work best for you.

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Tinted Moisturiser

What it is:

True to its name, a tinted moisturiser is ideal if you want sheer coverage with hydrating benefits. Reaching for one will help cut the need for separate skincare and make-up steps. Those with less problematic pores (lucky!) will benefit from the minimal make-up look of this lightweight formula.

Our Favourite Formulas:

Best For Oily T-Zones: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Tinted Moisturiser come in an array of shades and boast an adjustable-coverage – meaning you can wear them as sheer or as opaque as you fancy. Bonus: the vegan formula is made from purified water, coconut, and wild berry extracts so it nourishes skin without weighing it down.

Best For Skin Fatigue: Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Tinted Moisturiser is just what a parched or tired complexion needs. The oil-free formula skews more skincare than make-up, providing sheer coverage while also moisturising, boosting radiance, and fading dark spots.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 20 hydrates without clogging pores and also adds colour and illumination to skin so it maintains a healthy glow the whole day through.

BB Cream

What it is:

When BB creams, aka Beauty Balms, made their debut, we kept hearing about their incredible multi-tasking benefits. Now, we have fully embraced them as our morning saviour for their ability to prime, moisturise, and provide coverage all in one step. They feel lighter than a foundation but offer more coverage than tinted moisturisers. Many also contain nourishing ingredients to fight signs of ageing. As an added bonus, some even have SPF protection.

Our Favourite Formulas:

Best For Anti-Ageing: Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35 is an all-in-one formula that minimises blemishes, brightens, moisturises, defends against UV rays, and diminishes the appearance of fine lines. The formula uses Argireline® – a wrinkle-busting peptide – to even skin tone, boost radiance, and soothe parched skin.

Best For Minimising Pores: stila stay all day 10-in-1 HD beauty balm makes wrinkles and pores do a disappearing act. It contains mattifiers to zap excess oil and shrink the look of pores, while the velvety texture sweeps over wrinkles and pores for a smooth, even complexion.

CC Cream

What it is:

If you’re concerned about hyperpigmentation or redness, CC creams—short for “colour correcting” – will provide many of the same benefits as BB creams (like priming and moisturising with skin-loving ingredients) but with a focus on evening out tone. Similar to your favourite colour-correcting concealers and primers, they’re designed to cancel out any discolouration, like dark spots or red patches, without needing to layer multiple products.

Our Favourite Formulas:

Best For Brightening: FaceD 3-LURONICS CC CREAM is a non-comedogenic formula that provides proper coverage for concealing blemishes without clogging your pores. It’s also infused with hyaluronic acid to provide a healthy dose of hydration that won’t leave your skin dried out.

Best For Acne: Dr Brandt CC Mat With Shinerase corrects uneven skin tone and controls shine by regulating oil production. Bonus: marine extracts help to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles so it’s great for ageing skin too!