What is the Difference Between BB, CC, DD, and EE Creams?

If you have been in the world of cosmetics for some time, you have likely seen an array of new alphabet formulations pop up. No longer is it just tinted moisturizers and foundation, but now you have BB, CC, DD, and even EE creams that have become all the rage. However, what do they do? Are they different from your more traditional foundation products? Are there any benefits of using them?

Let’s break it down.


BB Creams

BB creams are originally an Asian import, but they have become so popular that cosmetics companies around the world are rolling out their own formulas now. The “BB” in BB cream stands for “beauty balm” or sometimes “beauty brightening,” both of which are pretty apt names for their purpose. Unlike tinted moisturizer (many of which are now considered BB creams) a BB cream is choked full of skin-nourishing ingredients like anti-oxidants and skin protection like SPF. You can toss in some SPF and a little green tea and technically you can label any tinted moisturizer as a BB cream.

While BB creams can have the same skin health benefits as dedicated serums, you still shouldn’t count of them for SPF. The problem with any cosmetic with SPF is that we don’t slather it on like sunscreen, so we get more spotty coverage because you don’t want a caked on look.


CC Creams

The difference between CC creams and BB creams is like the difference between granny smith and fuji apples. They are both tinted, skin nourishing creams, but the “CC” in CC creams stands for “color correcting”.

Essentially, CC creams are like a step up from BB creams for those with skin problems. CC creams are like a light foundation with some skin nourishment and protection thrown in, but CC creams are for those who have issues like sallow skin color or redness. CC creams will be lighter on the skin and often have a lighter feel on the skin as it evens out your skin tones.


DD Creams

Unlike BB and CC creams that you see all the time nowadays, DD creams are a rarity, but they are out there. The “DD” in DD creams can stand for different things like “daily defense” or “dynamic do-all”. Regardless, DD creams aren’t always for your face either. Sometimes the term is used for skin nourishment products that are meant to be used on the entire body. There are only a select few brands that actually use this term, so you probably won’t see it often if ever, but it was worth covering.


EE Creams

You maybe heard of DD creams from a while back and forgot, but unless you are well read on cosmetics, you have probably not heard of EE creams. Right now, EE creams are looking like the hot new thing that DD creams were poised to be a few years ago. Whether they stick, who knows? However, what we do know is that EE cream stands for “extra exfoliate” cream. Essentially, it is a facial mixed with an exfoliate that leaves the skin soft like after a facial, but also smooth like after a good bout of exfoliating.

EE creams also use their exfoliating as a delivery device for the skin nourishing ingredients within. While EE creams sound intriguing, those with sensitive skin should probably go light. Everyone needs exfoliating, but I’m not sure we with sensitive skin need extra exfoliating.


BB Creams, CC Creams, or Foundation?

So which should you be using? Well, as always it is completely up to you. If you just want some nice tint and skin nourishing ingredients, BB creams are the way to go. If you want skin nourishment and also require color correction in areas, then CC creams are good, too. Many products actually label themselves as BB and CC creams, but really CC is just a step up from BB anyway.

However, with skin nourishing, skin protecting, and color correcting properties, both types of creams are great for those with sensitive skin. However, as always, you need to read the ingredients to make sure the product is as natural and nourishing as they claim to be.

Finally, what about the foundation? Do you need your old pressed powder or liquid face anymore? Well, kind of yes, and kind of no. If you are using a BB or CC cream, you can likely skip your liquid foundation because, well, your alphabet creams are pretty similar to it. However, traditional powdered foundations still have their place in the cosmetics world.

While BB and CC creams are nourishing, they don’t always give you that nice matte finish that you want. These days many makeup artists use BB or CC creams for those who need it as a primer before getting that nice shine-free finish with foundation.

This can actually be a great strategy if you have sensitive skin and find yourself sensitive to almost every foundation under the sun. This doesn’t mean using a BB or CC cream as a primer will completely prevent irritation, but it can help by sitting like a light shield on your face.