Tinted moisturizers are often just a moisturizer with a dash of color, providing sheer coverage. Some tinted moisturizers contain SPF, but often in low amounts such as SPF 15 or SPF 20. However, some dermatologists warn that sheer products such as tinted moisturizers are applied too thinly to provide the advertised SPF.
BB creams are more complicated potions that require a more careful balance of ingredients. BB creams start with a base of moisturizing products with some pigments, much like a tinted moisturizer. Coverage usually is heavier than a tinted moisturizer but lighter than a foundation. The BB stands for “blemish balm” or “beauty balm,” so these potions are often upgraded. Most BB creams are designed to improve the skin, so they may contain antioxidants or other ingredients commonly found in skin care products. BB creams usually contain SPF as well, sometimes in higher concentrations from SPF 25 and up.
CC creams are another upgraded version of the typical tinted moisturizer. Much like a BB cream, their coverage is somewhere between a tinted moisturizer and a foundation. Depending on the brand, a CC cream can provide lighter or heavier coverage than a BB cream. CC creams are distinguished by their color balancing properties (“CC” stands for “color correcting”). While BB creams have skin care benefits, CC creams are targeted toward correcting redness or other color imbalances.
When choosing between a foundation and these three alternative options, consider their effects. Tinted moisturizers, BB creams, and CC creams are more moisturizing and have a lighter feel than most foundations. They won’t provide the coverage of a foundation, but they may help provide extra moisture, improve your skin tone, or correct color imbalances. However, these potions often come in a very limited color range and shades might appear too dark on very fair skin tones or ghostly on deeper skin tones. For those who fit into the limited shade range, these potions can further be customized by layering a tinted powder foundation or a tinted finishing powder on top.
Recommended products (all vegan):
Tinted Moisturizers: 100% Pure Tinted Moisturizer or Jane Iredale Dream Tints (flesh-toned shades).
BB Creams: Haut BB Cream, Andalou Naturals Skin Perfecting Beauty Balm, Derma E BB Creme, or DeVita Moisture Tints. Also: Pacifica BB Cream.
CC Creams: Andalou Naturals Color + Correct, Alba Even Advanced CC Cream, or Jane Iredale Dream Tints (brightening shades).
Also see this list of vegan options on Makeupfu.
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