From BB to FF: What You Need to Know about Improving Your Complexion with Double Letter Skincare Creams

Posted on July 02, 2015 by Rachel Duran

Rachel DuranFirst came BB creams, the multi-tasking "blemish balm" that replaced a serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock in a single product. 

When this cult product from Asia caught on in the U.S.,  nearly every beauty brand came up with their own BB Cream. Then someone upped the ante with a CC cream. DD creams quickly followed and now there's even EE and FF? Oh boy.

Trendy as their doulbe-letter acronyms may be, these marvelous creams are dedicated to simplifying how you care for your skin. 

"Women today don't want to fuss with a ton of different products, and they definitely don't want to spend an hour in front of the mirror perfecting their look," says makeup artist Bobbi Brown.

With dozens of double letter products to choose from at Sephora alone, the choices can seem daunting. Here’s what you need to know.

BB Cream

Beauty balm” was developed in the 1980s as a skin protector for patients post-surgery in Japan and South Korea. This all-in-one, easy-breezy formula is the lovechild of makeup and skincare made to conceal, brighten, and protect. Coverage is lighter than a foundation, but more than a tinted moisturizer. BBs often contain antioxidants, and smoothing ingredients that blur imperfections for a dewy, luminous look.

BB is your go-to if you shy away from makeup. The finish is natural-looking and the tint helps conceal a few trouble spots. BBs contain SPF but it never hurts to double up!

CC Cream

Color correcting” formulas are true to their name, as they address discoloration, redness, and sallowness. CCs usually boast vitamins C and E, as well as some cosmeceuticals to slow age and dark spots. The whipped, mousse-like consistency wears lighter on the skin than BBs, and also contains SPF.

Nab a CC if you’re plagued by dark spots and acne scars. The reparative elements in these creams are ideal for mature complexion and for anyone who wants a no-makeup glow with a few skincare bonuses.

DD Cream

“Dynamic do-all” super creams are all about they hype. Their “double-duty” claims are primarily related to anti-aging benefits: diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, balancing skin tone, and protecting with SPF. Julep swears their DD cream marries the best of BB and CC into one bitty bottle.

Dare to DD if you’re after more coverage. These creams are best suited for mature skin or ritual foundation wearers who want a lighter feel without sacrificing coverage.

EE Cream

Too new to be cohesive, EE creams have a couple personalities on the market. “Extra exfoliating” creams are built to simultaneously buff and smooth. Ingredients include oatmeal, bamboo stem powder, marine algae extract, and jojoba beads for abrasion-free exfoliation.

Omorovicza’s “Elemental Emulsion” is positioned as a moisturizer and mattifier. Their lightweight, oil-free lotion contains hyaluronic acid and anti-oxidants, as well as mattifying marine extracts that absorb excess sebum for shine-free days ahead. Very summer. Very spendy.

FF Cream

Ok, FF creams may not be a “thing”...yet. Kiehl’s does have a line of “Facial Fuel” products that fit the multi-tasking, double-letter bill. They hydrate, invigorate, and refresh facial fatigue. If you’re a man who wants in on the alpha-fun, this is your masculine vitamin-filled dream cream.


  • Rachel Duran is an editor at Arithmetic
  • About Us: Arithmetic is a new skincare company focused on helping adults achieve clear, healthy skin

Posted in bb, cc, dd, double letter, ee, ff, multi-tasking, sephora, skincare



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