Latest Stories

Front Row

BB, CC creams: Beauty must-haves or hype?


SELLING like hotcakes: Chanel’s CC Cream

If you go around the beauty counters these days, chances are, you won’t miss seeing BB creams —they’re everywhere, in several brands and various formulations, shades, finishes and price points.

And it seems the beauty industry’s obsession with alphabet-named creams shows no sign of abating. Say hello to the CC cream, the new “color” or “complexion-correcting” essential.

Short for blemish balm or beauty balm, BB creams were originally formulated in Germany by dermatologist Christine Schrammek in the 1950s. Initially used to protect the skin after laser procedures and surgery, these products were introduced in South Korea and Japan in the ’80s.

Because BB creams were endorsed by top Korean actresses, they gained huge exposure in the Asian market. Today, even Western brands have followed suit and introduced their versions of BB creams, and now, CC creams.

BB cream vs CC cream

Not quite a face cream, not quite a foundation, BB creams moisturize, prep your skin for makeup, reduce shine, cover minor imperfections, provide sun protection, and even have skincare benefits.

CC (color or complexion-correcting) creams have similar properties, but have thinner and lighter consistency, and often offer a little more coverage. If you have dark spots or generally dull skin, a CC cream will help brighten and even out your skin tone.

But whatever name they go by, these products claim to do everything, from creating a luminous complexion and shrinking pore size, to anti-aging and whitening—the list goes on.

POND’S Flawless White BB Cream has a pinkish undertone and instantly brightens the skin.

There are just so many options available. The last time I checked, one Korean brand alone sells 15 different BB creams, which makes it confusing for customers when choosing which BB or CC cream to buy.

Do they really work?

In truth, BB and CC creams are like souped-up, tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. They actually remind me of a product I used when I was a teenager—a tinted sunscreen by Clinique called City Block.

A drawback of some BB and CC creams is the shade selection. These creams usually come in only one or two shades, and though these colors are supposed to blend with every skin tone, they’re still too light for some people with morena complexions.

Overall, though, BB creams appeal to women (and I hear they appeal to men as well) because they’re convenient, multipurpose products, not to mention great alternatives for those who want the natural, “no-makeup” look.

I’m a fan of BB creams since I don’t like wearing foundation, but if you need more coverage, you can wear this under foundation just like the Koreans do, or just simply use foundation and concealer.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that if you want good skin, it’s achieved with the help of skincare products, and not just with BB and CC creams.

And as with other makeup and skincare products, there are good BB and CC creams and there are bad ones as well.

Shopping tips

How to choose BB or CC creams?

1. Test the product on the back of your hand or on your face to check the coverage and texture. Test the color if you’re buying a whitening formula, or one with high SPF; these formulas tend to look lighter or pinkish on the skin.

THE FACE Shop’s Face It Power Perfection BB Cream has a semimatte finish best for oily skin.

2. For oily skin: Avoid luminous and shimmery formulas. These formulas will only make your skin look oilier. Choose one with a smooth matte finish (like Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream, The Face Shop Face It Power Perfection BB Cream, Pond’s Flawless White BB Cream) or gel-type consistency (like Chanel’s CC Cream) instead.

A sweat-proof formula is ideal for oily skin, too, like Laneige’s Snow BB Soothing Cushion with SPF 50.

3. If you have normal to dry skin, luminous, creamy formulas will work best for you (like Clinique’s Age Defense BB Cream, Dr. Jart Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm with SPF 25). I have normal to combination skin, and one I’ve been using for a long time is Etude House’s Precious Mineral BB Cream with SPF 30. This has medium coverage, so I use only a small amount.

4. Apply sparingly. A little does go a long way. The good thing about this product is that it will last you a long time. Use a small amount, then add layers if you need more coverage; too much can lend a mask-like appearance. You can also apply BB and CC cream with a brush to control coverage.

E-mail the author at frontrowedit@gmail.com

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Other Stories:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. World bids Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘Adios’
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  8. Garcia Marquez left unpublished manuscript
  9. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  10. Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  5. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  6. This is not just a farm
  7. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  8. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK