Seeing double: BB cream, CC cream, DD cream * Ask BEAUTYCALYPSE #6

This is a Q that I keep receiving, now that organic brands have jumped the bandwagon. Let’s have BB, CC and yadda-yadda talk decoded!

ABC: Ask BEAUTYCALYPSE is a series of posts in which I reply to readers’ questions, questions asked via email, via this page, via any other discussion thread here on BC. And this particular question I’ve heard a lot recently, and, update from summer 2014, keep hearing: “What is a BB cream?” and “Would you recommend?” Sometimes people even would think I fool them when I say “there’s also such a thing as a CC and DD cream, you guys”. Now let’s break down those definitions and give it a rest.


BB is for Blemish Balm (although I’ve found other definitions, such as Beauty Balm), which means it’s basically a tinted moisturiser designed to soothe and even out blemished skin, often with added feats such as SPF, primer etc. CC is for Colour Correction / Colour Care – and basically everything a brand’s marketing dept. can whip up: Control, Camouflage, Coverage, Complexion, Calcium, Cauliflower… as long as it matches the product line! In fact, most CC products provide (slightly or significantly) more coverage and possibly more skin care features, such as stronger UV filters – but this varies as well. Sometimes it’s just better Copy. D-words to define DD creams range from Daily, Defense, Double, Duty, Dynamic, Do-All, Diguise to Deminish. The first products are positioned as sort of a super-BB or extended-CC: all of the above PLUS more anti-ageing feats, and claim to be more efficient moisturisers, improving the skin over the course of the use. Suuuuuuuuure…

NOW IF YOU’RE WONDERING: “Aren’t they all just tinted moisturisers with a fancy marketing wording and often a higher price”, YOU’VE NAILED IT.


The first BB cream is said to have been developed by a German dermatologist Dr Christine Schrammek. She developed the cream in the 50ies as a post-treatment cure for laser-treated skin. The formula, enriched in whiteners (yuk, says Beautycalyptique) had great success in Asia ever since. More deets knows Miss Wiki P. Dia. CC creams are BB creams, reloaded. Again, the crowdbrainy Miss Wiki P. Dia says they’ve been developed in Japan and Korea. She’s probably right. About DD history, Miss Wiki knows nothing. I hope for the sake of the industry’s credibility we’re not facing PP (Private Parts – Stay Young Forever, Everywhere*) or TT (One girl, but two more cups!*) in the future, and that the beauty industry can find another cool trend to put their effort into! 😀 * I’m very sorry for these bad, partly meme-exploiting puns. But that’s how I roll. 


That’s been the definition and a brief history. I still can’t offer reviews of those products though. First, I don’t see a point in purchasing a higher priced tinted moisturiser just because it had a branding facelift. I appreciate the effort, but I’m not paying for it. Second, I haven’t found ONE BB, CC (or DD, for that matter) being right up my alley aka clean/organic/toxins-free/palm-oil-free or vegan so far, I am not using any of those. It’s really that simple here.

P.S. (sort of)

On a rather loosely related note: I really recommend reading this excellent rant about toiletry marketing, gender, and bullshit at Incurably Curious, new in my “This is how I Blog-Roll”.

[Note: this post was first published on July 2013. The original version has been replaced by this edited post. Old comments are saved]


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

6 Responses

  1. Heather in Arles

    I like my BB (no, not my bébé) but yep, I am just smothering my face with chemicals. Ah, the things you make me realize…sigh.
    I have a question for you, one that has stumped my French pharmacist! Every year at this time, I get tiny heat blisters on my fingers. Not so pretty. Any ideas of something soothing/healing I could put on my skin to help?

      1. Heather in Arles

        Thanks for that! I usually just suffer through it but now, that is just plain silly, isn’t it? Thanks for the gentle push…xoxo
        And thanks for the point about our water too…

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