First of all, it wasn’t a random decision to name these creams by the alphabet and no, they didn’t skip the letter “a”. There’s an AA cream which stands for “anti-aging” and as you guessed, this cream is for reducing wrinkles and sagginess as well as discoloration.
The cosmetics industry likes to stick with their alphabets so when the BB cream was invented in Germany they named it BB for “blemish balm”. The BB cream can be thought of as the foundation for the 21st century. It got popular because people weren’t all that satisfied with their foundation – it can be very heavy on the skin, too noticeable, and cause acne breakouts. Besides the BB cream is a multi-tasker – great for this busy generation. It has SPF sun protection, anti-aging benefits, moisturizing benefits, and reduces blemishes. Hence the name “blemish balm”.
There’s a joke in Korea that BB creams got really popular (even among men) because of HD television. Celebrities were afraid of showing their blemishes on TV because of its clarity, and as more celebrities began to embrace the BB cream, so did many young people. As you now know, one of the biggest markets and manufacturers of BB cream is Korea. And as they attempt to make new products, the CC cream was invented in Korea.
CC cream is known as “color control” or “color correcting”. Much like BB cream retains anti-aging features as AA cream, CC cream retains the benefits of BB cream with extra nourishing ingredients. So people would generally describe CC cream as an extra-moisturizing BB cream. However, BB creams remain more popular because even though CC creams are more nourishing, they have a lighter texture and therefore less coverage than BB creams.
So if you’re looking for a product to replace a foundation it would be BB creams. But if you’re looking for a primer than CC creams may be a better choice. Perhaps another way to look at it is that CC cream is more of a skincare product and BB cream is more of a makeup product. Compared to BB creams, CC creams are meant to address redness or sallowness. They help with anti-aging, uneven skin tone, age spots, wrinkles, and other simple skin issues. You’ll also notice that CC creams have a fluffier feel.
Now, if you are looking for a Korean CC cream, then I would recommend the Tony Moly Luminous Pure Aura CC Cream. It has SPF 30 and PA++ sun protection. The cream pumps out white from the bottle, but blends well when applied.
One thing about CC creams is that they’re perfect for those who don’t normally use makeup given how light they are. Another great choice is the Etude House Correct & Care CC Cream. This one also has SPF 30 and PA++ sun protection.
So by now you understand what the general difference is between a BB cream and CC cream, and you may also realize some misconceptions you may have heard. For example, some people think that CC creams are an improvement of BB creams but in reality it’s false. Rather, they should be thought of as two different products. Also, some people think that CC creams give a full coverage, but in reality it’s really light.
Are you still wondering whether a BB cream or CC cream is right for you? Quite frankly, the only way to tell if you’ve never used the products before is to try it. As with anything, finding the right product for you will require trial and error because something that may work for someone may not work for you. You have to look at your skin type (oily or dry), whether you have acne issues, your age, skin tone, and your personal habits, like whether you wear a lot of makeup or only occasionally. Many BB cream and CC cream manufacturers offer samples so try finding the company in your country. Or go to your local store and see if they have some Korean brands. Ask them to help you find a cream that suits you.
Personally I use both BB creams and CC creams because I find that they are suitable for different purposes. If I’m going to a look with makeup then I tend to go for the BB cream. If I’m feeling lazy and want to slap something on to nourish my skin then I would use my CC cream.
To wrap up, I just want to say that there’s also a DD cream, which stands for “daily defense”. Julep calls their DD cream the “Dynamic Do-All” cream. I’m not sure about that one, it sounds forced doesn’t it? Especially the “do-all” part. Feel free to comment below. 😉