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Thursday October 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday October 3, 2013 MYT 7:54:22 AM
by patsy kam
Can you spot the difference between a BB Cream and a CC Cream?
The letter game continues as skincare brands try to up the ante with their own versions of the CC Cream.
IF there was one beauty product that were to be awarded “best newcomer” and “most successful product” in the last couple of decades, it would have to be the BB cream.
Created by the Germans, and taken over by the Koreans, the one-cream-fits-all caught on like wildfire, and it became such a popular product that both mass and luxury brands, Asian and Western, came up with their own take of the BB cream.
Well, it’s about time we move on to the sequel, which is not so quietly making its presence felt in beauty circles now. Enter the new Colour Correcting Cream, or CC Cream, set to be the next big thing in the beauty industry.
At the outset, it seems to be merely a play of letters and not all that different a product from the BB cream. You wonder whether it’s just a marketing ploy, meant to repackage a product and further its lifespan.
BB cream is short for blemish balm and was originally meant to protect the skin after laser surgery. Introduced by dermatologist Christine Schrammek in the 1950s, it took off when Korean actresses began endorsing the product. In its most basic form, it covers minor imperfections, and offers anti-inflammatory and soothing skincare benefits.
On the other hand, CC cream is supposed to have a lighter consistency and give more coverage (then again, it’s confusing as some brands say the exact opposite), and essentially, it’s primary action is to correct and even out skin tone.
Just who exactly started the CC cream ball rolling is lost in translation as well. Apparently, Singapore brand Rachel K put the country on the beauty map by beating even big name players like Chanel and L’Oreal when it introduced its own version of CC Cream in 2011.
A quick search online (isn’t that where everyone goes to find out stuff these days?) revealed that it’s “widely used in Asia” and “formulated with technology originating in Japan and further developed in Korea”, which is not really much information to go on.
One website goes as far as to attribute its origins to Chanel and that the brand named it such because of Coco Chanel. It would make sense, and frankly, when I first saw it, I thought CC was a clever play of the famous Chanel monogram.
Rumour has it that Chanel first tested its Complete Correction cream (note how the letters stand for different things) on a group of women in China last year and it was so successful that when news leaked out, everyone else wanted a slice of the CC pie. When Chanel finally released its CC cream in February this year, a few brands had already beaten the luxury house to it.
Guess it doesn’t matter who started it first as it’s taken off at the speed of light. When I first checked out the product, there were only a couple of brands which offered it. Less than six months down the road, almost every brand has a version. Perhaps, it’s more pertinent to ask now, which brand doesn’t have one.
What’s the difference?
At a glance, BB and CC creams seem no more than tinted moisturisers with sun protection thrown in, a lighter kind of foundation, if you will. But they’ve since evolved into fine science, and they boast skincare and make-up benefits that would put many high-tech expensive products to shame.
These are touted to include treating wrinkles and lines over time; disguising their appearances; minimising and concealing pigmentation and dark patches; brightening the skin; giving a more even tone; hydration; skin nourishment; UV protection; improving radiance and skin luminosity; shrinking pores; and basically, just about whatever it takes to help you achieve a flawless complexion.
Whew! It’s almost mind-boggling as the lines get blurred and both products claim to offer similar advantages. You also wonder whether the two are interchangeable. Finding one that best suits you can be an even more daunting task.
Some say BB Cream is better for dark skin tones while CC Cream is for fairer skin. That BB creams have limited shades and CC Creams usually give a more matte finish. That one gives better coverage over the other.
The key difference between the BB Cream and the CC Cream, it seems, is texture and how they approach skin tone. According to Clinique’s Ida Wong, executive director, Global Product Development, Treatment, people tend to compare CC Cream to BB Cream because they are both trends that started in Asia. They are multi-functional hybrid products that you can just grab and go, and can be layered with other beauty products.
“However, Clinique’s formulas are very different and meant for different consumers. Clinique’s BB Cream is for those who want a creamier texture that provides a full coverage, matte finish. Clinique’s CC cream formula is lighter in texture, provides a moderate finish and luminosity to the skin,” she says.
In fact, most brands say CC Cream has a lighter, more sheer texture in comparison (to BB Cream), with the exception of Peter Thomas Roth, who has his own eponymous skincare line.
“You get the best of both worlds with a CC Cream instant colour coverage for imperfections plus a formula with anti-ageing treatment benefits over time. It also provide medium to full coverage versus most BB Creams which are usually sheer to light coverage,” he opines.
He suggests that you choose one based on your skin concerns.
“My CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is an anti-ageing sunscreen, complexion corrector and tint in one that helps to protect, brighten, and moisturise. It conceals the look of fine lines and wrinkles, making the skin look more even and brighter.
“Currently, CC Creams are all the rage and I think it will be a new category in skincare like BB Creams. Next year, who knows it could be a DD, and we are already seeing EE (erase everything) Creams. We have an entire alphabet to get through! These are all brilliant ways to market super tinted moisturisers, each with its own twist to address a specific skin concern, like CC Cream with camu camu,” he elaborates.
Skincare versus make-up
Editor Alexis Wolfer of TheBeautyBean.com captured it succinctly when she said that BB cream is more preventive while CC cream, more corrective. Given that premise, BB cream usually offers anti-ageing elements and treats breakouts; a CC cream focuses on existing issues. She adds that CC creams tend to be lighter than BB creams, which “might make them a good choice for warmer weather”, auguring well for Malaysian users.
Essentially, BB Cream started out as an alternative to those who don’t like the heaviness of a full foundation. But as it turns out, some women might want to do the bare minimum and opt only for a CC Cream now. Heck, you can even choose to use both together if you think it works for you!
Dr Brandt’s Julie Ander-Vinet, training and PR director, feels BB Cream is more make-up, with a complexion unifying action while a CC (Colour Correction) cream is more skincare.
“The (Dr Brandt) BB flexitone can be applied all over the face, like a face primer, while the (Dr Brandt) CC Mat is for light, natural coverage. If you have a dry complexion, then the BB is all you need. Both are multi-talented creams as they hydrate, have anti-ageing properties, protect and perfect the complexion. You can even use Dr Brandt’s BB Flexitone and CC Mat together.
“If you are looking for a more natural coverage, smooth comfort and a satiny/lustrous finish: you are more BB. If you want a progressive, buildable coverage, long lasting hold, matte finish and colour-correct your complexion, you are more CC Mat,” she explains.
“Regular use of either BB or CC Creams will improve the look, health, and texture of your skin. They are loaded with different ingredients to help decrease the fine lines over time and both guard skin against harmful rays with SPF 30 and PA+++ (UVA protection).”
Which to choose?
Are you totally confused by now? Even men are not excused from the letter frenzy as some brands have come up with BB Creams for men and it’s a matter of time before a masculine CC Cream crops up.
What’s more, there’s even a leave-in product Caviar CC Cream for hair from Alterna hair care, touting 10 different benefits ranging from moisturising, protection to providing light hold.
Ultimately, the jury is out on which to choose as it’s all very personal. Every brand offers products with different properties and users may like a BB Cream from a particular brand but not the CC Cream, and the reverse may be true. You just need to find what works for you.
Let's play with what we can see
Manning up to the task
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