BB, CC and ZZ creams: Exactly how 'alphabet' creams are different to tinted moisturisers.

This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s beauty podcast, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, listen to You Beauty here for free. It’s a blast.

Once upon a time in a land without BB creams and CC creams, one could wander down to their humble neighbourhood chemist and pick up a tinted moisturiser without much trouble.

Now, we’ve got a whole alphabet of options – literally, they’re called ‘alphabet creams’ – that make plain tinted moisturisers look like smearing something as useless as mayo on your face.

There’s BB creams, CC creams, DD creams… even ZZ creams (which stands for Zhongzhou Zinc Oxide cream, in case you were wondering).

But what even is the difference between BB creams, CC creams and tinted moisturisers?

“BB and CC creams started in Korea, they’re huge in Asian culture and Asian skincare. Essentially, BB stands for ‘blemish balm’ and CC stands for ‘colour corrector’, but at the end of the day when you take away all the marketing jargon, they really are just tinted skincare products,” Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty journalist of 15 years Leigh Campbell said on the You Beauty podcast (get it in you ears below, post continues after audio).

“What’s happening now is there’s cross contamination, in a way, between skincare and makeup and even skincare and hair care. We’re thinking, why can’t our makeup be good for our skin? So essentially, BB creams and CC creams are the best of skincare in tinted formulas.”

To break the BB cream vs. CC cream conundrum down even further, here’s exactly what you need to know about BB creams, CC creams and tinted moisturisers, and which is right for you.

What is BB cream?

BB cream stands for ‘blemish balm’ and they contain skincare ingredients that can treat and reduce the appearance of blemishes – the Garnier BB creams were the first of their kind to come to Australia and the world in a mass way.

“BB creams are great for acne or might be antibacterial, but are also tinted and moisturising,” Leigh said.

What is CC cream?

CC cream stands for colour corrector and come in different colours – yellow to correct dullness and sallowness, green for anti-redness and peach for anti-fatigue (whatever that is).

“CC creams are meant to correct any uneven skin tones, pigmentation, and redness or dullness, but really, foundation does that too,” Leigh said.

She also explained some CC creams, like the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream ($61), contain vitamin A which aids the treatment of any pigmentation you have while you’re wearing the tinted product.

Leigh explained why she loves IT Cosmetics CC Cream so much when we took a look inside her beauty bag, post continues after video.

Video by MMC

How is BB cream different to tinted moisturiser?

Tinted moisturisers are simply moisturisers with a tint or pigment that sit somewhere between a moisturiser and a foundation. Often, your favourite day cream might also come in a tinted formula to give a wash of colour for days you don’t feel like wearing foundation, but still want a tiny bit of coverage.

Unlike a BB cream or a CC cream, some tinted moisturisers don’t contain any skincare ingredients.

Many do though – you’ll often see tinted moisturisers with added SPF or other nutrients, making them hybrid tinted moisturisers/BB creams/CC creams.

If you’re still a bit confused, here’s Leigh’s bottom line when it comes to BB cream vs. CC cream vs. tinted moisturiser:

“Get rid of all the marketing jargon and all of those fancy buzz words, and BB and CC creams are tinted skincare products. To take the confusion out of it, you don’t need a BB cream, CC cream and a tinted moisturiser, you only need one. So find one you really like and run with that.”

You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

‘I’ve heard Leigh say she washes her hair everyday – can you wash your hair that often and how do you style it?’

  • Leigh has said in the past that she mostly washes her hair everyday and it’s totally a personal choice – she… hates the smell of dirty hair.
  • Experts are divided on how often you should wash your hair and if you can wash it too much, but most say everyday is fine if A) you can be bothered and B) if you don’t have a dry or flaky scalp.
  • Leigh said she’s got naturally straight hair so it’s easy to manage and air dry each day – she also said hair is drier in pregnancy so she’s been using dry shampoo in the roots on the second day.
  • Side note – washing your hair once a week and using heaps of dry shampoo isn’t great for your hair or scalp, try and keep it to only a few days in a row.
  • If you go the gym and don’t want to wash your hair, Kelly suggested putting dry shampoo on your scalp/sweaty bits and then blasting with a hair dryer for a quick fix to get you through until you can wash your hair properly.

Leigh’s Savey: Elucent Anti Ageing Day Moisturiser SPF 50+, $49.95.

Image: Chemist Warehouse.

Why she loves it:

  • In early pregnancy, body sunscreens were really irritating Leigh's skin.
  • Leigh found this one in the Mamamia beauty cupboard and thought it was a body sunscreen because it's a 95ml bottle, which is big for a face cream.
  • To clarify, Leigh's not recommending you buy sunscreen for your face and rub it all over your body because that's really boujee.
  • This is an awesome general anti-ageing moistursier, a great all-rounder with high SPF.

Kelly's Savey: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer, $19.95.

Image: Chemist Warehouse.

Why she loves it:

  • This is a cult product Kelly forgot about it but rediscovered it.
  • This concealer is one of Maybelline's best-selling products.
  • The concealer comes in a twist tube with a big doe foot sponge, you can swipe it on and tap it in with your finger.
  • It's a medium coverage concealer, but is quite glowy.
  • The only downside - the product comes in a limited colour range.

Leigh's Spendy: Westman Atelier Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer, $114.

Image: MECCA.

Why she loves it:

  • Gucci Westman is one of the biggest makeup artists in the world and her product range is finally here in Australia at Mecca.
  • $114 is ridiculous for a bronzer, but it's one of the nicest Leigh's used.
  • It's a small powder bronzer you apply with a brush but it's almost a cream powder.
  • Almost like a cream powder, apply with a brush
  • It's matte, but because it's buttery, it doesn't look too powdery.

Kelly's Spendy: L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil, $39.

Image: L'Occitane.

Why she loves it:

  • This body wash is $39 for 250mls or $56 for the eco re-fill - it's expensive, but it's a beautiful body product.
  • Kelly has dry skin and finds the cleansing oil works well on her skin because it's nourishing, but it still cleans you.
  • It lathers up a bit with water, you can use it all over and it smells beautiful.
  • Kelly's been using it for eight years - but don't use it if you've tanned because it will lift your tan off.

Until next time, stay lovely.

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