Perfect Skin? Aka BB v CC: the face-off


Despite over a decade spent working at glossy magazines, I remain fairly clueless when it comes to the mysterious world of beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good unguent as much as the next girl, and have the bathroom cabinet to prove it (plus the designated egg section in my fridge is dominated by nail varnish).

My latest beauty-related puzzlement can be summed up thus: what the bejesus is a CC cream? I had just about got to grips with BB (blemish balm) cream – I dutifully slap it on every day and love the whole ‘better skin without looking caked in make-up’ thing – and now this. Argh. Confused of W&W.

Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have access to some of the best beauty brains in the business. So, over a high level swing session with our children, I asked the brilliant Vicki Norton – who has worked as a beauty editor at some of the biggest glossies around, including an epic nine-year stint as Beauty and Lifestyle Editor at GLAMOUR – to demystify it for me, for you, for all of us – once and for all. Thank goodness, the girl came up with the goods.

“If CC cream sounds like new improved BB cream to you, you’re right. Kind of. Let’s recap: BB stands for blemish balm. It was invented by a German dermatologist as a healing salve for sensitized, post-procedure skin, but didn’t take off until being talked about by South Korean soap stars. You can think of it as tinted moisturiser with more, more, more – more coverage, a more buttery texture and more skincare ingredients (usually a combination of anti-ageing antioxidants, soothing botanicals, moisture boosters and sun protection).

CC cream is another complexion perfecter that’s gone stellar in south east Asia. But while BB cream promises improvements in skin over time, CC is made for instant gratification. That’s because CC stands for colour correction or colour control. The aim is to optically perk up and perfect sallow, flushed or ashy skin – a bit like those old mint, lemon and lilac concealers. It’s a finer texture than BB and contains fewer skincare ingredients – but gives more sophisticated, skin-tone specific coverage. In that sense it’s closer to foundation.

Still, there’s no rulebook for BB or CC cream: each brand has its own take and that’s where it gets confusing. Olay’s CC cream contains a potent skincare serum. Clinique’s BB cream has medium to full coverage. So if you’re shopping for BB/CC, scan the labels to find options with the skincare benefits you want, then try them on your hand to find the feel/finish you like.  Formulations are so good now they’ll deliver whether you spend or save. However, if you need a total complexion makeover you can’t rely solely on BB or CC – you’ll need a serum for that.

So, now you’re a BB/CC buff, get set for DD. Yup. There’s talk of Daily Defense creams for body, or you can jump in the queue for Julep’s Dynamic Do-All. Ee!

My top 3 CC

  1. Olay Regenerist Anti_Ageing CC Cream SPF15 £24.99 (Exclusive to Boots). You’ve got to love a product with a proven anti dark spot serum, SPF15 antioxidant moisturiser and sheer foundation – all in a visible swirl. Perfection!
  2. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream SPF30 Hydrating Colour Corrector £28. A really great, refreshing formula with vitamin E and aloe that’s oil-free, fragrance-free and available in nine shades, no less.
  3. Chanel Complete Correction Cream SPF30 – due to launch in the UK in August. Everyone misses Pro Lumiere foundation…could this CC fill the gap in our makeup bags?

NEW-Moisture-Surge-CC-Cream-SPF-30-Hydrating-Colour-Corrector 140820_a_LARGE 10153939









Also try… Max Factor Colour Correcting Cream £9.99, L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique CC Cream Anti-Fatigue/Anti-Redness/Anti-Dullness £9.99 each

IMAGE: Michael Thompson for Allure

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