• Fri, Jan 24 - 1:45 pm ET

Pros Tell Us: WTF Are BB, CC & DD Creams Anyway?

What are BB CC and DD creams? We asked makeup professionals for a rundown!

I don’t know much about film. I don’t understand sports besides soccer. I can’t cook more than three different meals total. One of the only things I am actually pretty knowledgeable about: makeup. And yet, upon being faced with all these new base products that sound more like slightly enlarged bra sizes rather than pieces of makeup, I was admittedly very lost.

So, I did what any person does (or should do) when confused: asked for help. I contacted several professionals. I asked various makeup artists to help me find out what the deal is with BB, CC and DD creams, because while I thought I at least knew what’s up with BB creams, I was clueless when it came to the latter two. In fact, I just sort of assumed they were approximately all the same. Now, let’s get down to some fourth grade investigative science experiment level, shall we?

What I wanted to know:

  • What do ‘BB,’ ‘CC’ and ‘DD’ each stand for?
  • What are the primary differences between the three?
  • Which is better for what type of skin?
  • Are they different than tinted moisturizers?

To find out, I asked Ramy Gafni (makeup artist and founder of RAMY Beauty Therapy), Blair Berndes (brow architect and makeup artist at Angles and Arches Beauty Bar), Julia Papworth (celebrity hair and makeup artist), and Simone Siegl (celebrity makeup artist). All are highly qualified experts on the art of beauty and had plenty of vital information on these mysterious double-lettered bases.

So, let’s get down to it.

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  • Jessie

    I used a CC cream for a week and it made me break out like a mofo. I don’t feel like spending money shopping around for one that works on my skin, so back to regular, non-alphabet makeup for me.

    • Samantha Escobar

      I’ve still never tried it. I used to use Smashbox’s BB Cream but it is rather expensive and I ran out so quickly. :(

    • mr.mineral

      how does it rate to CC at Clinique? love thiers. use under my minerals.

  • sugarunicorn

    Honestly, none of the Western BB/CC/DD creams have impressed me – most just come off as glorified tinted moisturizers. They all pale in comparison to Asian versions, and seem to share little in common save for the name. Korean brand Skin79′s Super BB line is AMAZING stuff.

    • Samantha Escobar

      Huh! Sounds like I need to try it.

    • sugarunicorn

      Oh man, you won’t regret it. I’m crazy pale and the Skin79 Super BB Gold (for winter, when my skin is more dry) and Super BB Pink when my skin is oiliest = perfection. Its replaced my MUFE HD #110 foundation entirely.

    • elle

      Haha I wanted to write something similar but didn’t want to sound pretentious. But it is SO true. American BB creams suck. Every time my dad has to go to Hong Kong or Beijing I always ask him to stock up for me. It’s just so much better.

  • APlack1960

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  • Lindsey Conklin

    I feel like just learning what each of them stand for is super helpful! I had no idea

  • Crayzcheshire

    I compared a lot of drugstore brands and they all just seemed to be tinted sunscreens, meh. What I love to do at home is just mix up in my palm some face lotion & tinted sunscreen & illumiator, then slappa that all over my face. it feels so good and looks great.

    • mr.mineral

      i did enjoy Cliniques CC and try Philosophy’s A-Z. You will see huge differences.

    • Crayzcheshire

      Meh, my budget will not endorse such a course of action $$

  • mr.mineral

    whats next EE (exotic elementals)?????? Call me when we get to MM (mineral makeup) to which we will still rule the world!

    • mr.mineral

      PS THANKS FOR THIS ARTICLE! WISH MORE KNEW!