Decoding BB and CC creams


Decoding BB and CC creams

Why do you need them? Here's a ready reckoner

By Angelique Turner, international makeup artist and beauty educator

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Published: Thu 17 Jan 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 25 Jan 2019, 10:48 AM

We've all seen the double letters. BB and CC creams. Are these moisturisers? Or foundations? What do the letters mean? Will they suit your skin type? Or are they just a gimmick? It's time to decode what they really are.
Let's start with the BB cream. Formulated by a German dermatologist in the 1960s, BB cream, known then as blemish balm and now as beauty balm, gained widespread popularity in the last decade with the explosion of South Korea's 'K-Beauty' market on an international scale. Each company's formulation is different but some of the key elements of a BB Cream is that it tends to be mineral-based coverage and can treat and minimise the appearance of blemishes and sun/age spots. They can also include SPF, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C and will give a natural foundation type coverage. In the Asian market, the formulas tend to have skin whitening properties. Generally, in the Western market, this effect is not included.
Next up are colour correcting or colour control (CC) creams. As the namesake would indicate, CC creams aim to correct skin colour issues like sallowness or redness and they will help to even out the skin tone. The overall consensus with CC creams is that they tend to be an even lighter coverage than BB creams but will contain similar properties to BB creams, such as the skincare and SPF factors. Again, each brand will formulate differently, so be aware of this and try before you buy.
These creams are intended to be a one-stop shop for skincare and correction with the added benefit of light makeup coverage. While that sounds perfect, there may be some things to be aware of. Firstly, the shade ranges can be limited with these creams, so, unlike a normal foundation, you might not be able to get your perfect colour match. Secondly, you need to be careful to check the ingredients and key benefits offered as each brand varies and some may just be a glorified tinted moisturiser with little-to-no active ingredients. Lastly, if you like more flawless or long-lasting makeup coverage, you might find that these creams won't give you that. So if you are looking for a super natural approach, this could be for you but if you need a more made up look, then it might be best to stick with your SPF, personalised skin routine and classic foundation.

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