AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, FF, GG, PP and ZZ creams. What do all those letters stand for? What do they mean? And what is the difference?
You are probably wondering (well, I was) what the difference is between popular BB, CC, DD and other creams. BB, CC, DD creams are the most commonly used abbreviations for the most popular make up up tinted creams. However, there are many more skin care creams that belong to double letter skin care products.
Stands for: anti-aging
Best for: all types of skin
AA abbreviation was never officially used on a container, but many people use this abbreviation to refer to anti-aging products. Such products promise to reduce wrinkles and delay any signs of aging. Most known anti-aging creams contain retinol, peptides, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, matrixyl, argireline, and other ingredients.
Based on Amazon ratings and reviews, consider the following anti-aging creams
YEZIHU Red Ginseng Extract cream – very strong anti-wrinkle cream. I had this cream before and found it to be extremely moisturizing and firming. It has a bit strong smell of ginseng, but it is rather pleasant.
OXYTOCIN – anti-wrinkle and anti-aging cream. It contains argireline, number of peptides and hyaluronic acid.
Luxe Anti Aging Retinol Skin Cream – this Canadian cream contains retinol that is well known for its anti-aging properties.
Stands for: blemish balm, blemish base, blemish balm, and beauty balm
Best for: normal to dry skin types
A cosmetic company in South Korea introduced this cream, which became very popular. BB cream is a combination of very light weight foundation and moisturizer.
BB cream is more than just a product to cover skin imperfections. It also contains many useful ingredients such as:
- SPF. Some BB creams can contain as much SPF as 30 and you need SPF to protect you from harmful sun rays;
- Hyaluronic acid to moisturize your skin;
- Anti-aging components like Vitamin C and E, peptides and other antioxidants;
- Ingredients like arbutin to brighten up your skin and even out the tone;
- Dimethicone – a silicone that smoothes the skin and acts as a primer.
BB creams do not provide any treatment for acne as FDA does not allow to mix SPF ingredients and anti-acne ingredients in one product.
Best BB creams for Oily skin
Estee Lauder DayWear BB Crème SPF 35 – this crème is considered to be the best bb cream for oily skin by some popular magazines. This cream controls shine and oil production. It is very light weight, has many anti-oxidants and vitamins which keep skin healthy and naturally glowing.
Covergirl Clean Matte BB Cream for oily skin – you can use this creams as a primer, concealer or foundation. It leaves matte finish on the skin which is what you are looking for when you have oily or combination skin. In addition, this cream is water-based, so it will not clog pores, provides your skin with all day hydration and will improve skin’s elasticity over time. It also provides great coverage for all skin imperfections.
Purlisse Perfect Glow BB Cream SPF 30 – people with all types of skin love this cream. It matches skin shades perfectly and has a warm undertone. It also provides flawless coverage for uneven skin tone, redness and other skin imperfections you might want to conceal. This cream also contains beeswax and can provide protection against bacteria, viruses and other inflammatory organisms.
One of my favourite BB creams is MARIA AYORA Face Foundation Concealer BB Cream Moisturizing Oil-Control Makeup. You could read my review about this cream here
Best BB Creams for Sensitive Skin
Marcelle BB Cream Matte, Light to Medium, Hypoallergenic and Fragrance-Free – this lightweight cream is suitable for sensitive skin; it also controls shine and dryness. It contains self-adjusting pigment, that adapts to your skin tone and promotes perfect match.
Stands for: colour correcting, complexion corrector
Best for: oily and acne-prone skin
CC creams contain N’acetyl glucosamine and niacinamide which help to reduce skin discolouration or hyper pigmentation. This cream’s main purpose is to conceal skin imperfections. Most CC creams also contain anti-aging ingredients.
You will notice that CC creams are usually lighter than BB creams and have more of a whipped fluffy finish.
CC creams also include antioxidants and light diffusing particles to correct and even out skin tone.
ETUDE HOUSE CC Cream SPF30++ – lightweight cream that also contains SPF. This multitasking, 8-in-1 formula hydrates, primes, conceals, treats, and protects skin at an easy single step for a healthier complexion, inside and outside. It glides on with a silky smooth finish.
3W CLINIC Crystal Whitening CC Cream – 50ml (SPF50+ PA+++) – This multi-CC cream has all functions of wrinkle improvement and outstanding whitening, sun blocking, and make-up.
Revlon Age Defying CC Cream – a very powerful anti-aging CC cream. This multi-benefit dynamo hydrates, smoothens, evens tone, diminishes the look of fine lines and dark spots, and protects against premature aging caused by sun. For perfected skin that glows.
IT Cosmetics CC+ Oil-Free Matte Cream + Anti-Aging Serum SPF 40 – perfect CC cream for oily skin.
Difference between BB cream and CC cream
Many people are trying to understand what the difference between BB cream and CC cream is. Both creams are made to target different issues and are marketed differently. BB cream is like a light foundation with some skin care benefits. CC cream is like a light moisturizer with skin care benefits and colour correcting properties. CC cream feels much lighter, fluffy than BB cream and has a whipped-like texture.
This is all good in theory, however, in real life sometimes you cannot really tell a difference. For example, I tried one CC cream by a well-known brand, and it was heavy and thick, wherease BB cream by another brand was fluffy and silky. It all comes down to a personal preference. You will need to try different products to find the one you like. You could visit Sephora and ask for product samples.
Stands for: daily defence, double defines, dynamic do-it-all
Best for: all skin types
DD creams are next generation of lightweight foundations after BB and CC creams and includes all the good stuff from both.
DD creams offer higher SPF. They also have ingredients that form a protective barrier on top layer of the skin to prevent moisture loss.
DD cream has many properties and acts as a lightweight foundation, primer, brightener, serum, moisturizer and pore minimizer.
My favourite DD cream, that I have been using for years, is A’QUINOG DD cream. You can read a review about it if you follow my post here.
SUGAO Air Fit DD Cream SPF 50+ PA – good defence against ultraviolet rays, it also reduces oil shine and minimizes pores.
DD Cream DermEden Universal Day Cream Daily Defense SPF50 Matte Finish – this cream enriched with a VITAMIN D-LIKE agent, it is the very first cream to solve the equation of providing UV protection while bestowing the benefits of vitamin D. As an anti-ageing moisturizer featuring UV protection, its universal formula designed specifically to respect the nature of all skin types and to suit every skin tone.
Sans Soucis Daily Vitamins DD Daily Defense SPF 25 – it combines care properties with decorative cosmetics in one product. The dermatologically tested DD cream is free of parabens, mineral oils and animal ingredients. High-quality apricot kernel oil, vitamins and mineral-rich thermal water from Baden-Baden supply the skin and refine the appearance of the skin. Stabilized Vitamin C and Vitamin E act as a protective shield against oxidative stress and free radicals. Encapsulated color pigments merge with the skin when applied and optimize the skin tone, while light-reflecting pigments visually conceal wrinkles and lines and thus perfect the appearance of the skin.
Stands for: even effect, extra exfoliating, essential essence
Best for: all skin types
EE cream focuses on hyper pigmentation problems and appearance of dark spots caused by pollution, exposure to sun and other free radicals. This cream contains SPF and provides protection against UV lights.
Estee Lauder Enlighten EE Even Effect SkinTone Corrector SPF30 (ebay) – this ultra-sheer skin-transformer gives a hint of healthy color and creates an overall even effect. It immediately helps minimize the look of dark spots, sun spots, post acne marks, redness, and pores, while delivering high-level SPF 30 and powerful antioxidants to soften, smooth, and hydrate.
Korea COSMETEA Milk Tea EE Cream Foundation (ebay) – this product creates a moist and radiant look for your skin. It contains Hyaluronic Acid, Collagen, and Glutathione making your skin look supple. Most importantly it’s hydrating with 43% water essence in the product.
Stands for: facial finishing (foundation)
Best for: all skin types
FF cream acts like a lightweight foundation finishing off the look while imparting moisture to the skin. It helps blur the appearance of fine lines and assists in giving skin a more youthful look. Skin looks radiant smooth with a collagen -enhancing ingredient that works continuously to improve skin’s appearance.
Stands for: Genius Glow (by L’Oreal)
Best for: all skin types but best for tanned skin
There are actually 2 types of GG creams on the market.
- L’Oreal Glam Bronze GG cream is a light weight foundation that evens skin tone. It gives skin moisture for up to 24H and protects the skin against the sun’s harmful rays with SPF 25. GG cream contains bronzing micropigmentation, which adjust to the skin tone. It also provides shimmering effect. Perfect for the bronze season.
2. GiGi products (GG for short) – line of products used before, during and after waxing. These products are used for concealing marks after waxing, aid in faster healing and smooth skin.
GiGi GG Cream – addresses all post wax concerns, soothes and smoothes the skin.
Stands for: Post Procedure
Best for: all skin types
PP cream is mostly used as post procedure, post laser cream. It posses the following properties: soothing, redness reduction, cooling, and anti-inflammatory. It promotes collagen synthesis and aids in moisturizing thus helping with fast post procedure skin recovery.
SOV9 PP CREAM post procedure prime protection – used post procedure, post laser. This cream reduces skin redness and inflammation providing soothing and calming effect.
Stands for: zit zapper
Best for: all skin types, acne prone skin
ZZ cream was launched by Happy Skin brand in around 2014. Company claims that ZZ cream smoothes skin surface, minimizes pores and fine lines. It is ultra light weight and non greasy. This cream provides oil control and decreases skin oily shine. ZZ cream contains salicylic acid which fights appearance of zits.
Annemarie BORLIND ZZ Sensitive Fortifying Night Cream – The prebiotic and probiotic complex brings the skin flora back into balance. Golden orchid helps to regulate the skin’s natural pH value and makes the skin feel soothed.
I hope this short article helped your to learn about all abbreviation creams available on the market. As I mentioned before BB, CC and DD creams are the most popular double digit creams; all three are used to cover skin imperfections and impurities. Besides their covering properties, these creams contain SPF, anti-aging, antioxidants, moisturizing, whitening and many other useful ingredients. Share with us your favourite double digit products or if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
5 thoughts on “From AA to ZZ – guide to double letter skincare”
Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve heard of BB and CC cream the most, but I’ve never known what the difference was between the two.
I find this article quite good to know new terms for a beginner however it lacks the scientific temper, references and hyperlinks for further reading. The blog is very good but the writing style needs good amount of improvement.
Also, the blog starts quite good but ends very bad.
Hi, Tanuj. Thank you for your response and points.
is there any one brand of makeup that sells every type of cream
Hi, Yamini. Unfortunately no.