Alphabetical Creams: We Explain The Difference Between BB, CC & DD Creams

Alphabetical Creams: We Explain The Difference Between BB, CC & DD Creams

First came BB creams, followed by CCs, and now to make things even more complicated, DDs are the latest to make an appearance. Ultimately, they all work as multi-taskers: a non-brightening primer, light foundation, moisturiser and SPF, all in one. The main contrast though, is their different textures and skin-enhancing ingredients. From when you should use them to finding the right formula for you, here’s what you need to know and the top buys we recommend for each…


Known as: Blemish Balms or Beauty Balms
Created in Asia, BB creams followed hot on the heels of tinted moisturisers. They were originally dubbed as ‘blemish balms’ by Korea (referring to any imperfections, not just spots), then upon hitting the US, were renamed as ‘beauty balms.’ However, they’re far from a balm-like consistency – in fact, they’re often watery in texture and more luminous. Boasting SPF protection with lightweight coverage, they work to heal and soothe with nourishing antioxidants, marrying the benefits of skincare and make-up beautifully. They can be worn as a primer (which is a technique used by many make-up artists) or alone when you just want a healthy glow. But given how sheer they usually are, not everyone will be brave enough to completely forgo their usual foundation day-to-day.


Known as: Colour Correcting
In short, CCs are a clever spinoff of BB creams. They still contain SPF but with slightly heavier coverage. The biggest difference is their skin-brightening benefits (hence the colour correcting), which work to improve redness, dullness, sallowness and more. Think of them as a reliable alternative to foundation, offering flawless coverage without the need for a laborious routine – perfect when you’re in a rush. Another benefit? Their formulas are often slightly lighter ingredient-wise with lots of non-comedogenic options, so they’re great for acne-prone skin too. 


Known as: Dynamic Do-All or Daily Defence

Still a relatively small category, consider these the official hybrid of BB and CC creams. Originally designed as a heavy-duty cream for body and feet, these ‘Dynamic Do-It-All’s’ have a long-term focus. With anti-ageing ingredients, including peptides and plumping vitamins, their primary goal is to blur fine lines and wrinkles over time, but they also protect from pollution and other environmental aggressors. Expect even coverage with a healthier finish to boot, you might want to skip your usual base with this one.

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily