But the recent addition of BB, CC and DD creams (with talk of EE creams) to the arena throws up many questions about what exactly these alphabetised beauty bases are.
The front runner, and the one we are most used to seeing, is the BB cream. Although a reliable source for the origin of BB creams is impossible to find, Dr Christine Schrammek is largely credited for formulating the BB, or blemish balm, in South Korea.
Her creation was a post-peel treatment cream containing all the calming, hydration and sun-protection ingredients sensitive post-peel skin needs but with a tint of colour to disguise redness.
BB creams have been a part of beauty life in south-east Asia for many years. This part-treatment, part-coverage formula has been reinvented many times to address differing needs (anti-ageing, blemishes, dry skin) and is now a staple on beauty shelves in Britain.
CC creams are an extended version of BB creams. They usually offer more coverage and more specific targeting of complaints – like a BB+ – with clever marketing merely extending the name to imply next generation.
Because CCs (sometimes known as colour correctors) are next generation BBs, there aren’t really any rules to the formulation, so brands can be as flexible as they like with the formulas under the CC umbrella.
An obvious question is whether BBs and CCs differ from tinted moisturisers. The answer is, in many cases, no. The original intent of a BB cream is to offer high sun protection (to protect freshly peeled skin from damage), moisture (post treatment skin needs plenty of moisture), treatment (in the form of soothing and anti-redness ingredients) and coverage (to conceal post-peel redness).
While pigmentation has long been a cultural issue in parts of Asia, where porcelain skin is prized, it is a more recent beauty trend for Britain. So BB creams became popular for their ability to ward off sun damage within a make-up product, whereas tinted moisturisers rarely offered sun protection and benefits such as anti-redness.
While the BB and CC market has rampaged, tinted moisturiser has also raised its game, offering SPF as standard in many cases. The DD and EE creams currently in early stages are no more than beauty bandwagon jumpers. However, look out for extensions to the CC formula with a spray CC primer from Dior in September.
Dior Diorskin Nude Tan BB Creme (£30, www.houseoffraser.co.uk) offers a warm glow to summer skin. Infused with green, red and white tea extracts, it also contains a natural bronzing agent so your summer glow lasts longer. With a high SPF of 50, Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream (£23.50, www.houseoffraser.co.uk) hydrates and protects the skin from sun damage. It’s a light colour coverage so best for those who like a natural look. For those with very fair skin, Bobbi Brown BB Cream (£29, www.johnlewis.com) is one of the few BBs that offer shades for the palest skin tones.
Clinique CC Cream (£28, www.clinique.co.uk) has set the standard high for British variants of colour correcting. An oil-free formula with SPF30 glides on and gives a tangibly even skin tone. Targeting three specific skin issues, L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique CC Cream (£9.99, www.superdrug.com) comes in three hydrating variants: anti-redness, anti-fatigue and anti-dullness, each with different pigments. With ribbon swirls of coverage, serum and moisturiser, Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Ageing CC Cream (£24.99, www.boots.com) is stronger on the skincare element than the colour correcting but for those who like a light texture and a sheer, natural look, it’s perfect.
Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer (£33, www.houseoffraser.co.uk) is renowned for its non-oily hydration and glow-making coverage with SPF20 incorporated. If your skin is dry, Vichy Lumineuse Sheer Radiance Tinted Moisturizer for Dry Skin (£12.50, www.boots.com) acts as a pick-me-up with light coverage, while Estée Lauder DayWear Sheer Tint Release Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Moisturiser (£37, www.selfridges.com) goes on like moisturiser, releasing the almost universal shade tint as you rub it in.
Source: Metro, UK