What’s the Difference Between BB, CC, and DD Creams?


The makeup aisle is all about the abbrevs these days. Here’s how you can tell them apart…

With BB, CC, and now DD creams lining store counters, makeup shopping is looking a lot like bra shopping. So how’s a girl to keep them all straight? Truth be told, there’s not a ton of differences between the various skin cream acronyms—but we do have favorites in each category. Here’s a cheat sheet for every multitasking product:

BB Creams

What it stands for: Beauty balm
Texture: Creamy and moisturizing
What it does: Offers daily sun protection, extra hydration, and a touch more coverage than a tinted moisturizer. Because they don’t have a high concentration of anti-aging ingredients, “use them as a supplement—not in place of—your other anti-aging creams or serums,” says cosmetic chemist Ni’kita Wilson.
Try: Lancome Teinte BB Cream SPF 30 ($45, lancome-usa.com), which contains antioxidant chestnut seed extract and vitamin E to nourish skin.

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CC Creams

What it stands for: Color correcting
Texture: Lightweight and fast-absorbing
What it does: Imparts an airy veil of coverage and a boost of both instant and protective coverage. “They typically have light-diffusing particles, which visually even skin tone, plus a super-dose of antioxidants,” says Francesca Fusco, M.D, a New York City-based dermatologist.
Try: Origins Smarty Plants CC SPF 20 Skin Complexion Corrector ($35, origins.com), which contains mineral pigments to blur imperfections. It also packs free radical fighters like green tea and vitamins C and E to keep your skin sunspot- and wrinkle-free.

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DD Creams

What it stands for: Daily defense
Texture: See BB Creams
What it does: Not much more than its predecessors. “These have SPF, protect the skin barrier to prevent moisture loss, and balance uneven tone,” says Fusco. Overseas, though, DDs were created for dry areas like feet, knees, and elbows.
Try: Julep DD Cream Dynamic Do-It-All Makeup ($36, Julep.com). It comes with sun protection (SPF 35), light diffusers, and olive extract to keep skin hydrated.

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