BLOG: BB,CC,DD – what ARE these alphabet creams?


Just figured out what BB creams are? Good, because the beauty world has moved on to the rest of the alphabet.

CC creams and DD creams are being marketed as the next new trend for skincare, got it?

Wait, CC ‘s and DD’s? I can’t keep up! I hear you say, but don’t panic if you’re not up on the beauty lingo – you’re not alone.

BB creams have been on the Australian market for over a year now and it is still the single-most product I get asked about, “What are these BB thingys, should I be using one?”

And even after my no doubt thorough and intelligent explanation (bah!) I can see women are still confused – I’m putting that down to how quickly they exploded onto the market here.

Case in point, beauty retailer Priceline alone recorded a 700 per cent increase in sales of BB creams – rising from 27,000 in 2011 to 250,000 units sold in 2012. The early beauty adopters were keen to get their mitts on the latest beauty must-have, while many of us hung back trying to remember what BB stood for (beauty balm) what that meant and if we actually needed one.

The success of the initial launch of BB creams into the Western market (Asia has had them for yonks , since 1985) has many smaller and independent brands scrambling to develop their own and has also led to further alphabetic progression by the more commercial beauty brands, hence the up-and-coming CC’s and DD’s.

Alright, it’s time to get to know your beauty cream alphabet, we’re going to take this from the top.

 BB Creams = Beauty Balm

Think of BB Cream as a tinted moisturiser on steroids. Generally tinted moisturisers are only suitable on near perfect skin – i.e. no one (unless you’re genetically blessed) whereas a BB cream will have you chucking out the majority of the products in your beauty cupboard.

The premise around a BB cream is a multi-tasking one; coming in 5 in 1 and even 9 in 1 formulations they’ll do the job (depending on your beauty routine) of three, four or even seven products (sunscreen, primer, concealer, moisturiser, illuminator, foundation, powder) and also address anti-ageing concerns with brightening and active ingredients.

The Body Shop product manager Val Zuban, says the reason for BB creams popularity is because women want one product that can do it all (you’re damn straight there Val!).

“Consumers are looking for multitasking products to simplify their beauty routine,” Zuban says.

“BB creams which are more sheer tend to be popular with two main markets – time-poor mums who want an easy to use multi-tasking product, and teenage girls who want to even out their complexion but who are not ready to commit to foundation.”

My favourites are L’Oreal Nude Magique BB Cream $26.95, and the latest release from Kiehl’s, Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream SPF 30 $36.

I realise this is going to make me sound a little nuts but I may have stalked the Kiehl’s PR girl incessantly, waiting for the release of this product (it was delayed into Aus and I know her, so it’s totally fine, right guys?) that’s just how keen I was on getting my mitts on it.


The Kiehl’s formulation is a bit thicker than I had anticipated as it contains sunscreen and because I’m so used to the lightweight L’Oreal one but I was definitely not disappointed with it.

CC Creams = Colour Correction

If redness, pigmentation or broken capillaries are a problem for your skin then the colour-correcting (CC) creams are going to be your bag.

Coming soon!

They’re more lightweight than a BB cream so think of it as a friend primer with benefits. The idea here is to correct your skin tone (make up artists do this with green, red or yellow toned make-up) before you go ahead a plop (technical term) on a layer of foundation/tinted moisturiser/mineral powder.

CC’s are fantastic for those who suffer from Rosacea  – although if you have particularly sensitive or reactive skin, you may need to road test a couple of brands first.

These newbies also claim to hide dullness and fatigue (this changes EVERYTHING!) and fade pigmentation with chemicals like N-acetyl glucosamine and niacinamide but we’ll have to see how that goes in the long term.

As for where you can get them, they’re not available here yet, but Clinique and L’Oréal Paris will release their CC creams on to the Australian market in the next few months.

But the beauty word out there is the L’Oreal one is great (it can be used alone if you have clear skin and just redness issues). And Clinique communications manager Alexis Green says of their CC release, “Customers will love the texture and lightweight radiant finish of the CC creams as well as the instant perfecting results”.

I can’t wait and watch this space.

DD Creams= Daily Defense (or kapow as I like to call it)

So the beauty folk are keeping pretty mum about this one but what we know so far is that DD creams are emerging as very heavy duty body and foot moisturisers marketed as “daily defense” products.

And no, I don’t know what that means either. But as soon as I know I’ll fill you in.

EE Creams = Just kidding!

So that’s it for your B,C, D skincare lesson this week and I know what you’re thinking, hahaha those silly beauty folks forgot the starting letter of the alphabet! But ‘fraid not my lovelies. Anti-ageing creams are now being referred to as AA creams (were they always? Did I miss a memo?). As for what’s in them, I’ll save the retinoids and peptides talk for another day, I think we’re all creamed out for today.

Let’s all take a stab at what EE creams could possibly stand for… Erasing E… Oh, and I have a suggestion for the end of the alphabet, Zapifying Zit (ZZ) cream, can someone please make this happen?

Are you baffled or excited by BB, CC and DD creams? And have you tried BB creams? Which ones worked for you?