Every Beauty Cream Explained

It doesn't matter if you're a makeup beginner or a Michelle Phan-level makeup guru. There are almost too many products out there. It's hard to figure out what products you actually need. In this fascinating world of beauty innovation, we have all sorts of creams: BB creams, CC creams ... hell, we even have EE creams. How are we supposed to keep up?

And what's the difference between all these magical beauty creams, anyway? Why is a CC cream better than a BB cream? Or is it? Aren't beauty creams really just foundations?

Nope. They're not just foundations. Beauty creams are truly a revelation when it comes to what you put on your face, provided you're using the right one. Luckily for you, we've got the breakdown on what all these beauty creams do so you can look like the gorgeous unicorn you are.

BB creams

BB creams, or beauty balms, started the whole trend. We call them beauty balms, but they were originally called blemish balms. They were first created in 1967 by German dermatologist Christine Schrammek. She developed a blemish balm as an all-in-one calming and concealing product for patients to use after chemical peels. Because of their ability to treat and conceal, they took off in Asian markets, specifically in South Korea. From there, BB creams were formulated into what they are today.

While many drugstore brand BB creams are essentially just tinted moisturizers, true BB creams contain moisturizer, primer, sun protection, a skin treatment (acne or anti-aging), concealer, and foundation, all in one complete formula. BB creams are great because you only need to apply one product before going on your merry way.

BB creams are certainly convenient, but you might find that you need more moisture or coverage than you get from a single product. When purchasing a BB cream, know that your lower-end brands such as Garnier or Maybelline will likely act more as a tinted moisturizer and give very light coverage. Higher-end BB creams such as Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier will provide more coverage and treatment.

CC creams

CC creams, or color control creams, evolved from BB creams, but honestly, there is not much of a difference between the two. CC creams are another all-in-one product and tend to offer a little more coverage than BB creams. They also might have more undertones to counteract any redness from blemishes or dark bags.

If you're trying to decide between a BB cream and a CC cream, it's best to test out different ones and see which coverage you like best.

DD creams

As if BB and CC creams weren't enough, along came DD creams. Cue the "What are those?" memes. DD creams stand for everything from "dermatologically defining" to "dynamic do-all." Which means what, exactly?

The beauty world sort of scratched its head at this one, but we've found that DD creams (whatever they stand for) often have lots of anti-aging ingredients. Basically, they're BB/CC creams for those who want a little fountain of youth boost. Some of them have foundation-like coverage, while others don't so you can layer foundation on top.

EE creams

And then came EE creams. Estée Lauder released an "even effect" cream, which moisturizes, primes, corrects skin tone, conceals, and contains SPF. It's fairly sheer and is designed to provide light coverage while reducing dark marks and acne spots. So far, it's one of the only EE creams out there. The jury is still out on if this one takes off.

All of these creams are the same, but different. But mostly the same. Our best advice? Do a little trial and error to see what works best for your skin and coverage needs.