I’m sure we all remember when BB creams first made their way onto the market. It started slowly, as more and more people brought them back from Japanese holidays – and then, BAM. Western companies latched on and BB creams were everywhere! These were quickly followed by CC creams, AA creams, and we are now seeing DD and even EE creams. And no, they have nothing to do with your cup size. So what exactly do each of these creams do?
AA = anti-ageing
There is a big difference between Asian AA creams (marketed as such), and the new range of Western anti-ageing creams (not necessarily marketed as AA creams). They both work to ‘renew’ skin that has suffered from environmental factors – however, the traditional AA cream also whiten the skin, giving you a bright, milky complexion, whereas the Western alternatives are just pumped-up moisturisers, and have no effect on your complexion. If you are already noticing the signs of ageing, look for an AA cream that contains peptides, as these assist with elasticity and collagen production. If your skin is acne-prone, find an AA cream with retinoids to reverse the damage and smooth your skin, whilst controlling sebum production.
BB = beauty balm
The cream that started it all! The BB cream is an all-in-one cream that combines the benefits of a serum, primer, moisturiser, sunscreen and foundation. It hydrates your skin whilst providing light coverage, and works to brighten your complexion. First developed by German dermatologist Christine Schrammek in the 60’s to protect and nurture skin after surgery, it was then adopted by women in Korea and Japan as it covered uneven skin tone and blemishes whilst enhancing their complexion, giving them flawless porcelain skin. This does mean that the traditional BB creams are best suited to people with dry, fair skin; however, they can also be used underneath foundation if you have medium-dark skin.
CC = colour correction
Also known as ‘colour control’ or the super catchy ‘complexion correction’ cream, this was the updated version of BB cream that people were crying out for (particularly in the over 30’s, as BB creams are more suitable to under 30’s). It it more suited to people with sensitive or combination skin, redness or discolouration, as the tint is heavier than a BB cream and so it neutralizes any patchy and uneven skin almost instantly, and it is lightweight and fast-absorbing. Plus, if you look out for one with Vitamin B3/niacinamide, then the results can become permanent with regular use, as it acts an an antioxidant and repairs the skin barrier function.
Special thank you to the CC cream in the image at the top of this post!
DD = daily defense OR dynamic do-all
The daily defense cream was originally designed as a heavy duty cream to use everywhere except the face – it targeted areas with super dry skin, such as feet and elbows. But of course, what a missed opportunity! So then the dynamic do-all version was created, and it is pretty much an AA cream with the coverage of a BB cream and the colour-correcting properties of a CC cream. This is still new to the market, so the common properties of a DD cream are still being established – but I expect it will take on whatever form a particular brand wants it to, so just keep an eye on the ingredients and promises each one makes.
EE = extra exfoliating
Meet the latest member of the family. The EE cream doesn’t incorporate the benefits of makeup at all (no priming, no tinting), focusing instead on enhancing your complexion through skincare alone. It balances and moisturises the skin, cleaning and tightening the pores without harsh scrubbing. These are chock-full of natural ingredients, and are gentle on sensitive skin. Using an EE cream will get your skin in the best condition to take full advantage of the smoothing and correcting effects of BB, CC and DD creams. However, there is also talk of ‘energy enhancing’ and ‘elemental emulsion’ creams that would be abbreviated to EE as well, so this is another one that could definitely evolve over time.
Have you bought into the alphabet cream craze? Which ones do you love, hate, or want to try?