Smashbox CC Cream vs. Smashbox BB Cream

I fell in love with Smashbox BB cream a year ago when I was first introduced to it by a lovely Smashbox sales consultant. And I just bought the CC cream last week, so what better than a Smashbox CC Cream vs. Smash BB Cream review and see what’s the difference?!

Before Smashbox, I had been a loyal user of Stila’s Tinited Moisturizer and Laura Mercier’s Tinted Foundation. I’m always slow to adapt to new craze and after testing a few “Asian” BB creams (at Watsons or friend’s BB creams) that left me flawless, but ghostly white or gray, I became curious as to what Western brands were like. Hence, I checked out Smashbox since I love watching their how-to makeup videos.

With Smashbox BB cream, at the height of Taipei’s hot and humid late summer and early fall last year (~35 something Celcius, ~95 Fahrenheit, Humidity probably in the 90% range), it made me look even-tone and natural (which is why I’ve always stuck to tinted moisturizers in the first place), two most important effects I require. But the surprising, cherry-on-top, benefit was that it made my skin look really good after I take it off, as if I had on some powerful skincare products while I was wearing makeup and sweating up the storm in the hot humidity. My actual skin looked brighter, my blemish scars were lighter, I looked more radiant.

Skin Type: I have combination (normal everywhere, super oily forehead) with blemish-proned skin. I’m slightly drier in winter months, so I produce slightly less oil compared to summer time and my cheeks are slightly drier. I can use thick creams like La Mer Soft Cream at night during winter time and not smell like an oil well when I wake up or breakout. And I use Smashbox Photo Primer with these products.

I was less inclined to try Smashbox CC cream because I read that it’s for more drier skin. But when I got a bit tanned this summer, I needed a new cream.  Of course, things got in the way and I didn’t make my way to the makeup counter until Fall. By this time my tan is starting to fade and the weather this time is much cooler (~29 Celcius, 84 Fahrenheit, Humidity ~40 – 80%).

It turns out Taiwan doesn’t carry any color beyond “Light”…crap, I should have bought the cream when I was in LA a few months ago. I really wanted to try Light/Medium. BUT! BUT! my sales said, the CC cream looks more natural, it can work for your slightly tanned or naturally yellow-toned skin. She squeezed out the two colors just like I’m showing you below.

BB (Left) – CC (Right) – “Light” – On a sunnier day

BB (Left) – CC (Right) – Light – On a sunnier day

CC (Top) – BB (Bottom) – Light – On a cloudy day

CC (Top) – BB (Bottom) – Light – On a cloudy day

You can see that the CC cream is more yellow, warmer, imitates yellow-toned skin better and the BB cream is “grayish”, cooler, even though both are “Light”. Remember, even though BB is relatively cooler, grayer, it doesn’t make me gray or ghostly white like the Asian BB creams.

Just in case I scared you guys off, below is a picture of both creams when spread out. The yellow pigments from BB do saturate.

CC (Left) – BB (Right) – Light – Hope you can see how both have lots of yellow pigmentation, yet the BB is still slightly cooler than the CC.

Color on Skin: CC cream definitely blends with my skin tone better. BB cream has always made my face “just a tad” white, which is okay during winter months when I am lighter. So color-wise, I like the CC, it just suits my skin-tone better.

However, the CC Light won’t be suitable when I am tanned so I’ll have to try their darker shades for summer, which is probably a Light/Medium or Medium.

Cream Texture: CC cream is suppose to be more “hydrating” than BB. Squeezing it out, warming it between fingers, and applying, there’s not a huge difference.

Texture effect on Skin: CC cream looks “a tad” dewier, relative to BB cream. So I can see why they say BBs are great for oily skin because BB looks thin and relatively more matted. But not dry! You can feel the hydration. So it’s not dry matted, it’s like “normal skin matted”.

The CC cream isn’t heavy like I thought it would be. So I feel the CC cream is suitable for my blemish-proned skin. Also, the CC’s dewiness doesn’t even come close to the dewiness of Stila’s Tinted Moisturizer or Laura Mercier’s Tinted Foundation. So for those who don’t like dewiness, don’t be afraid to try the CC out. But you might like the BB better.

I would prefer BB during Summer, Fall, and late Spring in Taipei. I might like the CC during winter or whenever I’m in LA because it’s drier there. That said, the BB never gave me a problem during drier months.

I like to note that some “dewy” products can look cakey on me and my oiliness and large pores magnify that effect and Smashbox CC doesn’t make me look cakey. (I’ve tried Bare Minerals, Motives by Loren Ridinger’s Liquid Powder Mineral Foundation, and Laneige’s Snow BB Soothing Cushion – they make me look cakey – look great on my friends though =.=). 

I also want to add that the reason I don’t want too much dewiness is because I can provide that effect in an hour after application. My oil wells are well stocked. So using Smashbox helps balance that without applying too much press powder in combination with the creams.

Coverage: BB creams does cover better. I think that’s why it looks grayish-white when squeezed out. That “whiteness” effect might be the reason it covers better than the CC cream. I usually apply one layer of BB or CC because I want even-toned skin. I don’t really care to hide my blemish or scars because the flawless look is too much work for me.

Smashbox BB doesn’t cover as well compared to Asian BBs in one application, which is why I like it. It looks more natural to me. So if you find that Asian BB creams doesn’t work well with your skin tone, you can try a couple of layers with the Smashbox BB, it might give you the coverage you desire. However, when I tried two layers, I find the effects still doesn’t compare the Asian BBs in term of coverage, they are translucent products, hence have the natural quality that I like.

The CC cream looks sheerer on me. I think that’s due to it’s more hydrating nature and/or its emphasis on color-correcting, not blemish-covering. I’ve read reviews where people complained that it doesn’t cover anything. So when Smashbox says it’s “color-correcting”, they really mean it!

Hydration: Both hydrate very well. I think this is another reason why I was hooked on Smashbox because it can give me the hydration without too much dewiness. It leaves a very refined veil on my skin (especially the BB). Which is why I’m not going to go back to Stila or Laura Mercier. It doesn’t mean I don’t like them, they are great products, but every skin at different times needs different texture and effect. It’s more about what you want and trying different products to find it.

Conclusion: The differences are subtle but sometimes it’s that subtleness that makes all the difference. I really like the color from the CC cream but I definitely prefer the BB’s texture and effect. The BB is relatively more mattifying, I think it balances out my oiliness better. The less oily I look, the smoother my face looks and the smaller my pores appear – especially when I live in Taiwan where the heat and humidity just make me oilier. However, I think the CC cream might be perfect for winter. I’ll have to get back to you guys on that in a couple of months.

Hope the review is helpful :D.


8 responses to “Smashbox CC Cream vs. Smashbox BB Cream

  1. Thank you so much for the throrough review! Answered all of my questions! More coverage AND less oily! BB cream it is!

  2. Hello so i have both the BB and the CC cream from Smashbox and I love them but i was wondering which one i would do for which season. A little something about my skin, i have both the shades in light/medium and i have a warm golden undertone; in the winter i tend to be more drier and in the summer i tend to have normal to oily combination skin with some dry spots and i’m prone to acne and blemishes. I totally agree with you that the BB cream has a more cool tone and the CC has a warm tone but i am skeptical about which one to use for which seasons. Your reply would be very helpful as your review was so thorough for me and showed me that you have a lot of knowledge.

    Thanks :D

    • Hi Sonam, my suggestion would be to use the CC cream during the drier winter season and save the BB cream for the hot summer season. I find that the CC cream is slightly more moisturizing/hydrating than the BB cream, good for the dry winter.

      However, if you are like me, and find that the “color” of the CC cream more suitable during summer and the “color” of the BB cream more suitable for winter, then use the CC cream in the summer and apply more press powder or blot more during the day, provided that you don’t breakout. For winter, apply more moisturizer or use a heavier moisturizer and then use the BB cream.

      For me, matching the color/tone is more important and I know I can compensate the textures in other ways. So select whichever feature is more important to you.

      I would highly suggest you hydrate well with a hydrating toner/essence. Hydration combats oiliness and dryness. Currently I’m using NARS Multi-Action Hydrating Toner for hot/humid weather and Timeless Prescription Age Defying Essential/MDI Firming Activator ( for dry weather. And look up “Lymphatic Facial Massage” on YouTube. It helps with acne. Hope this is helpful!

      • Thank you so much for your reply it was very helpful and I will look into your suggestions I have a question for skin that is dry in winter what types of products should I be using in reference to cleansers toners and creams and in summer since its normal to oily combo skin with acne what products should I be using?

      • Hi Sonam, Basically “hydration is key” is what I’ve learned. I can only tell you what I’ve been using. For Winter, I use gentle (not necessary creamy) cleansers. I’m not sure where you are, but these are the products I can get my hands on in Taiwan that I’ve tried and liked. Bioderma Solution Micellaire makeup remover ( I use it almost daily b/c even without spf or makeup, my skin is dirty and regular cleanser isn’t enough), Philosophy’s 3-in-1 Purity cleanser (expensive but has both the makeup(dirt) remover and cleanser in one, saves time ), Perfect Whip by Shiseido (drugstore brand). Then I use hydrating toners like the ones I’ve mentioned before.

        But the key is to keep applying the toners until you feel your skin is no longer matted. It leaves a thin residue. My friend who introduced me to the Timeless Prescription toner, said she was told that after each application, if your skin is dry, that means it has absorbed the toner and that your skin is still dehydrated. So you have to keep applying until it’s “quenched”. 2~3 layers is usually good for me, with 30 sec ~ 1 min rest in between. And when I try new toners, if I find that they absorb quickly and 2~3 applications aren’t enough, that’s a sign to me that it doesn’t work for me.

        I also use hydration masks when needed (when all the above isn’t enough)….usually when there’s a change in humidity during Fall. I read somewhere that your skin isn’t used to the sudden change and becomes much drier than normal until it acclimates to the new weather.

        Then I follow up with a thick cream, like La Mer or Josie Maran’s Argan oil. Whatever works for you that doesn’t make you breakout.

        I exfoliate only when I notice a built up or more whiteheads than usual.

        During summer I still use the same things but I will use exfoliating products more frequently but only when I notice I need it. Currently I’m using Philosophy’s Microdelivery Exfoliating Cleanser. I used to use Neutrogena’s Grapefruit scrub but I noticed it dries out my skin and you don’t really want to do that. I follow up with the Nars toner. And use light lotions – La Mer gel cream, Fresh’s Rose Hydrating gel cream, Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar oil-free gel (Asia only), Nar’s Aqua gel moisturizer. I’ve tried Sebamed Visio gel – too light for me, but might be good just for the T-zone in the summertime.

        Currently for in between seasons I use Nar’s Luminous Moisture Cream and Olay’s Regenerist Micro-sculpting super cream…..not too light, not too heavy. Other’s I like that I’ll use during Summer nighttime are Timeless Prescription moisturizer and Philosophy’s Miracle Worker Anti-aging lotion (w/ Retinol).

        So basically my focus is on hydration. I don’t exfoliate on a schedule because I think that’s too harsh on your skin. A beauty aesthetician once told me not to exfoliate so much b/c you need that protective layer to shield it from environmental aggravators and dryness and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

        It’s like your body will function properly when you hydrate and that goes for skin too. Your skin cells should turnover better when hydrated.

        As for acne cream, my favorite and I’ve been using this for more than a decade now is Neutrogena’s On-the-Spot.

        Garnier also came out with a Micellar solution (like Bioderma’s, very gentle) and very affordable!

        Good luck!!!

    • Thank you! I’m glad it was helpful. But if you can get a free sample of the CC cream, it’s definitely worth trying it out. My experiences with both of them have been very good. :)

  3. Pingback: NARS Tinted Moisturizer Review – Alaska | bigislandsmallisland·

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