Your Guide: Korean CC Creams 101 (“BB, CC, what’s the difference?”)


CC Cream

(Images believed to be press/promo images. If any of these are your work, please let me know and I’ll remove them)

BB, CC, DD? Feeling confused yet? Don’t worry, I’ve saved you some time and done the research to get us both up to speed with the latest craze in beauty and skin-care: CC cream (just in time for my upcoming review of Etude House’s Correct & Care CC cream)  …

What is CC Cream?

Good question! BB & CC cream formulas vary dramatically between Asia and the West. Today, I’m going to be talking about Korean products.

CC cream is BB (Blemish balm or beauty balm) cream’s trendy younger sister, express from Asia. The ‘CC’ in CC cream generally stands for colour correction or colour control.  A major appeal of both BB and CC cream is the ability to address a number of beauty concerns in one quick application and product. CC cream is a multi-purpose primer that corrects and conceals discolouration, such as redness and uneven skin tone, while offering reasonable SPF, oil control and brightening properties. Some CC creams even claim to treat issues such as aging and discolouration over time.

What’s the difference between BB Cream & CC Cream?

BB cream is, just briefly, the mother of all skin-care time-savers. Moisturiser, foundation, concealer, sun-screen? You name it, BB Cream has it in the form of a single product you can slather on before you race out the door. Not only does BB cream act as foundation or tinted moisturiser, it also contains anti-aging and acne-treating properties. If you want to learn more about BB cream, check out’s excellent “What the heck is a BB cream and why should I care” post. 

So, what’s the difference?

Alexis Wolfer, editor of [via abcnews], suggests that BB creams are often more preventative, with a focus on preventing aging and treating breakouts. Conversely, CC creams address existing issues, such as redness.  CC creams also tend to have a lighter formula with better oil control and higher SPF, making them a good light-weight choice for summer.

Several sources I’ve read suggest that CC cream provides greater coverage than BB cream. In my experience, this is generally not true in the Asian market. My Etude House Correct & Care cream doesn’t provide anywhere near as much coverage as even the sheerest of my BB creams.

Renowned Korean cosmetics brand Etude House supports this view:

BB Cream vs CC Cream

 (Image is copyright Etude House, with English translation I copied verbatim from PR materials)

How do I use CC Cream?

When you’ve completed any pre-make-up skin care, apply a small amount of CC cream to areas you wish to colour correct using your finger (or a make-up brush or sponge, if you must). Cheeks, forehead, nose and chin are generally the most appropriate areas. If you’re happy with a natural look or the coverage of your CC cream, you can go ahead and apply powder. If not, you may consider using your CC cream as a primer and decide to layer your favourite BB cream over the top. Personally, I use it as a correcting primer.

Which brands should I look for?

It’s difficult to recommend a single brand, however several popular brands that have already released CC creams are:

  • Etude House (Correct & Care Skin Polishing CC Cream)
  • Tony Moly (Luminous Pure Aura CC Cream)
  • ElishaCoy (Always Nuddy CC Cream)
  • Mizon (Correct Combo Cream)

If you’re in Asia, you can purchase these in store (you lucky thing!). If not, English Gmarket is an option. If you’re desperate, you can find them on eBay, but beware of fakes.

Why didn’t you talk about American BB & CC Creams?

Honestly, I don’t feel qualified. Western BB creams differ dramatically from their Asian counterparts. To me, they are often more like tinted moisturisers than complete skin-care solutions and I’m not a big fan. I’ve never tried the Western take on CC cream, but from my research, they appear to have more coverage in their formulas than Western BB creams, which is not the case in Korea. Apples and oranges, my friends.


I hope you find this post informative and not too long-winded. I’m sorry I couldn’t offer you more of a perspective on the Western market, but I know there are a lot of great sites out there that can. Stay tuned for my review on Etude House’s Correct & Care CC Cream. 

Beauty Junkie Asks: Have you ever tried a CC cream? What’s your take on the difference between Western & Asian BB/CC creams?



  1. Tiffany Martin on

    I have not tried a CC cream, and I was previously under the impression that CCs had MORE coverage, nice to know the reality in Korean brands.

    PS thanks for linking my article, and I hope it’s helpful for everyone who wants to know more about BBs


    • There’s a wealth of conflicting information out there, that’s for sure. u.u From what I concluded, the people saying that were talking about American CC creams. I’m sure some Korean ones have increased coverage, but the main ones I’ve tried and seen reviewed act more like primers, particularly the new Etude one. I was testing it out the other day and I committed a make-up sin by accidentally going to bed wearing it. I seriously forgot I had anything on. Haha.

      And no problem. It’s a great article. ^_^

  2. Fräulein Schnee on

    This is really a helpful review. Thank you! I didn’t try CC creams yet, because, as you said, I like the coverage of BB creams and this is what I would probably miss with CC creams. And it would not be timesaving anymore if I applied an CC cream first and then a BB cream…

    • I think it depends how much coverage you need. If you’re going for a natural look, a CC cream works, but if you’ve got some serious dark circles and etc like me, it may not be enough. I’m hoping to try out some more CC creams and see if any Korean ones have good coverage. I agree that putting on both doesn’t really save much time. Thanks for commenting. ^_^ I presume you also have a blog? I couldn’t see a url to check it on on Disqus.

  3. Aaargh! Great article but I am getting a bit fed up with the BB/CC it is now moving into DD (not kidding!). ;P Personally I have actually found a foundation which I’m much more happier with than a BB, and I’ve tried quite a few Eastern and Western ones. But each to their own! :)

    • Thanks, Sarah.

      I’ve never really found a foundation that suits me. They feel heavier to me, like I’m wearing something more. That said, I’ve tried plenty of dud BB creams. Even now I’ve found my HG, I still keep looking. Lol.

  4. awesome post! I have never tried a CC cream but definitely want to, I really like light coverage foundations so I think I’m going to jumping on the bandwagon. =p
    The only western BB cream I tried was the one from maybelline, it’s fine, but I found it to be actually very sheer and didn’t feel as nourishing, definitely going to stick with Asian BB creams.

    • I need better coverage most days. xD

      Nyeah, they seem to be just tinted moisturisers with thin consistency. x.x I wish the West would realise why we love BB creams so much and try not to deviate from the formula.

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    • Who is Jessica? o.o Oh, Jessica Jung? Sorry, I follow Kdrama a bit, but not Kpop. She probably uses BB cream on top for more coverage. Then again, maybe she just has amazing skin to begin with.

  6. Hi Bethany! I stumbled onto your blog and I think what you are doing is great. I love how you are spreading your love for Korean cosmetics! I just opened my own korean beauty online shop that does the same thing – spreads the word and accessibility of Korean makeup and skincare products. is the site! Check it out and let me know if you recommend any items to be carried on my site! Thanks :D

    • Hey there. Nice site. ^_^ Unfortunately flat-rate shipping of $25 makes it a bit inaccessible for non US people like me. However, I’m sure you do okay with national sales.

      Recommendations wise, I know the first thing I look for on a site like that is for products to be sorted by brands, so I’d suggest a drop down menu with brands. Product wise, I can tell you that the majority of people who come to my site are searching for reviews on Etude House BB Creams and the Etude House AC Clinic line (the latter is pretty awesome). Hope this helps!

  7. Shannon Lundquist on

    I love Korea’s “the Saem” Black Pearl O2 CC cream. Thankfully, (I am a pale blond), the color is true to my skin tone. It is a thicker cream when first applying (and less oily than my Korean IPKN BB cream), but it massages in nicely and evens out my skin tone. I actually like to wear it as my night cream & it doesn’t rub off on my pillowcase!! But, I might have to try some of your other suggestions as I love Korean skin products. Just can’t get enough!!

  8. I’m from Austalia too and I just found your blog !!’ I really your preview on cc and bb cream!!! anyway I’m guessing you know how to use English gmarket!!! I tired using it but I got confused!!! would be nice if you can answer my questions about gmarket!!! so my question is ” is it free shipping on gmarket if not how is the shipping fees calculated? and also can you use paypal to pay?” thanks a lot, looking forward to hearing your answer.

  9. I, too prefer to use Korean BB & CC cream over western brands. It feels like they’re ingredients are more legit than the western brand.. imo..

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