This post may contain affiliate links. Any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you!
Written by Nicole McCray
Walking down the beauty aisle, you might find yourself lost when it comes to translating the multitude of K-beauty abbreviations. Starting with Korean BB, CC, and DD creams… which alphabet combo is right for your skin?
Whether you’re new to makeup or you’ve been in the beauty game for a while, it’s easy to see why you would be confused. The good news is these creams can all do amazing things for the skin and they’ll become your go-to on days when you’re in a hurry or want natural-looking daytime makeup.
All three can address a number of skin issues and take the place of several products to condense your routine, too. Here’s a complete breakdown of the differences between BB, CC, and DD creams so you can lay your hands on the one that will do you the most good!
The Difference Between BB, CC, & DD Creams
Let’s start with BB creams since they’re the most familiar. BB stands for “Beauty Balm” or “Blemish Balm,” depending on the formulation and brand. BB creams are generally a combination of moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunscreen.
Their job is to make your skin look smoother and add hydration. They also even out the skin tone and reduce redness with light coverage that’s meant to look natural on the skin. Some formulations also control shine and contain blemish-fighting ingredients.
What’s the texture like?
BB creams have a creamy, lightweight texture and feel just like a moisturizer on the skin. They offer more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, but less coverage than a CC or DD cream.
Who are BB creams best suited for?
BB creams come in formulations to suit any skin type. Look for one that addresses your specific needs, such as oil control, blemish fighting, anti-aging, hydrating, and more. If you can’t stand heavy makeup on your face, you’ll love the lightweight formula of a BB cream.
Who might not like a BB cream?
If your skin needs more than light coverage, a CC or DD cream might be a better choice.
What’s the best way to apply a BB cream?
BB creams are best applied with a damp sponge or your fingers. Dot a pea-sized amount onto your face and be sure to blend it in well, especially around the ears, jaw, and hairline. It can be worn as is or set with powder. You can use a concealer over a BB cream, but you might want to consider stepping up to a CC cream with a bit more coverage.
CC creams are “Color Correcting” creams that provide medium to full coverage, meaning they’ll hide hyperpigmentation, redness, and sallowness. They’re a good choice for skin that needs more than just evening out or a quick pick-me-up.
CC creams color correct and provide coverage, which means you can use them alone or under foundation for extra coverage and color correction. Most formulations are brightening, and provide sun protection, as well.
Where BB and DD creams contain skincare ingredients, CC creams are more focused on color correction, much like a foundation.
What’s the texture like?
CC creams are lightweight and absorb quickly into the skin. They provide coverage that’s similar to a medium or full coverage foundation depending on the formula and application method. They tend to be creamier than a BB cream and often provide a dewier finish.
Who are CC creams best suited for?
CC creams are best suited for people with normal, combination, or oily skin that needs color correcting. Some formulations also include antioxidants making them a great choice for anti-aging. If you like the idea of an all-in-one product but need more coverage than a BB cream, you’ll probably love CC creams.
Who might not like a CC cream?
If you have very dry skin, a CC cream might not provide enough hydration to last all day.
What’s the best way to apply a CC cream?
CC creams are applied just like BB creams. Feel free to use more product or add a second layer to build up the coverage.
DD creams are “Daily Defense” creams. They have a lighter formulation than BB and CC creams and their job is to prime, protect, and perfect the skin all at once. They even out the skin tone, much like a BB cream but they also have the color correcting capabilities of a CC cream.
DD creams are hydrating and moisturizing, with sunscreen plus antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients. Strengthening and defending the skin against environmental damage and moisture loss are top priorities.
What’s the texture like?
The texture of a DD cream is very similar to a BB cream. They feel much like a moisturizer when blended into the skin and they look natural, not heavy or cakey.
Who are DD creams best suited for?
DD creams are full of anti-aging ingredients that fight fine lines and dehydration. They’re a great choice for anyone who has mature skin or wants to fight premature aging. As outlined in this guide to getting glass skin, sun protection, antioxidants and sealing in moisture are key, so if you’re into the Korean glass skin look, you’re going to love DD creams.
What’s the best way to apply a DD cream?
DD creams are extremely versatile. You can use them just like a moisturizer, a primer under foundation, or alone as your makeup base. Apply them just like you would a BB cream. A pea-sized amount should be enough to hide imperfections without concealer or extra product.
Hopefully, this article cleared up any confusion about the differences between Korean BB, CC, and DD creams. When choosing the one that’s right for your skin, think about what it needs and what you want the product to do.
Many Korean beauty brands offer several different formulations to address almost any skin concern, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that makes your skin look amazing! But, if you’re still unsure, try a DD cream first since they’re basically a hybrid between a BB and CC cream.
About the author
Nicole has been obsessed with beauty and fashion since she was a young girl, always flipping through Vogue and stealing her mother’s cosmetic bag to experiment. She’s a former wedding makeup artist who loves spending her free time trying new products and staying up to date on the latest beauty and style trends. While Nicole’s days are now spent contributing to fashion, beauty, and lifestyle sites from home while raising her kids, she can still always be found putting looks together, even if it’s just for a trip to the grocery store!