Nowadays, it's natural to expect your coverage product to also have skin-care benefits, what with all the anti-aging, zit-zapping, and
hydrating bases on the market. BB creams (and other double-lettered iterations) served as the driving force behind the recent barrage of multitasking products on the market — and they've quickly become mainstays on our top shelves.
For those unfamiliar with
alphabet creams (or are still confused about what all those letters mean), here's a quick crash course: BB stands for "beauty balm" or "blemish balm" and BB creams are basically pumped-up versions of tinted moisturizers that usually include a nice amount of SPF. CC creams, on the other hand, offer hydration and SPF — like their BB counterparts — but add some color correction into the mix (hence, the CC).
DD creams are where it gets a little tricky, as many brands have different definitions for this category. Generally, DD creams tend to do "double duty" (and then some) — coverage, anti-aging, sun protection, etc. Now, are DD creams really that different from their double-lettered counterparts? It depends on the brand. Ultimately, you'll have to play around with the formulas to figure out which one makes the most sense for you and your needs — and not focus too much on their position in the alphabet.
Not sure which one to try first? Click ahead to learn more and read about our favorites in each category.
BB Not only does this BB cream feature a high SPF, but the lightweight cream offers a surprisingly buildable amount of coverage. IPKN Moist & Firm Beauty Balm SPF 45, $35, available at Birchbox.
Live in a big city? Or just traveling to one for the weekend? Be sure to pack this protective BB cream formulated with toxin-zapping antioxidants and plenty SPF so your skin doesn't have to suffer.
Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35, $46, available at Sephora.
This sheer but buildable cream can be worn alone to even out the complexion, or under foundation for a flawless base. Plus, unlike most BB creams, this product doesn't offer a very dewy finish, so if you have oily skin, it won't make you look like a grease ball.
Tarte BB Tinted Treatment Primer, $36, available at Sephora.
Although this watery BB cream looks white when you first apply it, tiny pigment beads in the formula burst as you buff it onto your skin. Plus, we love the sheer-to-medium coverage and skin-like finish it leaves behind.
L'Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream, $10.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Garnier's BB cream is one of the best drugstore options we've tried. It's easy to apply with fingers and provides a beautiful dewy finish.
Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector, $12.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
CC This CC cream blends into the skin quickly and easily, making it a great one to slap on when you've hit the snooze button one too many times. Origins Smarty Plants CC SPF 20 Skin Complexion Corrector, $35, available at Sephora.
This affordable, full coverage CC is 70% organic and formulated with all natural ingredients. What’s more, the non-comedogenic formula is beloved by those with acne-prone skin.
Physician's Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin CC Cream SPF 20, $14.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
This CC cream provides coverage (and SPF protection) out the wazoo. Because its texture is on the thicker side, you need to spend a little more time and care blending it in. But the result is plump, hydrated skin with zero flaws and one helluva glow.
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+, $38, available at It Cosmetics.
This lightweight CC cream is a serum and lightweight foundation in one. We like slapping on a layer of this for sheer coverage that we can wear alone or underneath a concealer or heavier foundation.
Olay CC Cream Tone Correcting Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $22.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Oily skin types may not like this glowy complexion-perfector, but those of you with dry skin will love the hydration and radiance it gives.
Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream, $38, available at Sephora.
Cushion compacts have become extremely popular in the last few years. So much so that brands have launched primer, blush, and even eye products that feature the bouncy packaging. We love them because they're so easy to apply: simply tap a sponge or makeup brush into the cushion to pick up product and buff or stipple the liquid-y formula onto your face. This CC compact neutralizes redness and provides a radiant, fresh-faced finish. Amorepacific Color Control Cushion Compact, $60, available at Sephora.
You know you've found a winner when your color-correcting treatment has SPF 35, creates an angelic glow,
and lasts all day long. Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer SPF 35, $55, available at Sephora.
Chanel's option comes in three shades and falls on the pricier side of the spectrum — but here's why it's worth it: The formula is incredibly thick, so it can be applied straight to skin with a brush for full coverage, or easily thinned out if applied with a sponge over just-moisturized skin. The finish is radiant and makes skin look bright and healthy.
Chanel CC Cream, $55, available at Chanel.
This hydrating tint may contain over 70% certified organic ingredients, but its natural composition doesn’t get in the way of its efficacy — its skin-perfecting power is second only to its water-resistant sun protection.
Coola Rosilliance Organic BB+ Cream SPF 30, $52, available at Sephora.
This formula is marketed as a BB/CC hybrid — as if alphabet creams weren't confusing enough — but what it lacks in a definitive category it makes up for in a 10-shade range (much larger than most BBs and CCs) and a smooth, glowing finish. This sheer, gel-like formula has a hit of squalane for hydration, but can be layered up to medium coverage, too.
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, $29.50, available at Sephora.
Talk about a heavy-hitter. This itty bottle fights seven signs of aging — from fine lines to uneven skin tone. Plus, it has an SPF of 15, which is never a bad thing.
Olay CC Cream Total Effects Daily Moisturizer + Touch of Foundation, $22.99, available at Olay.
DD From the makers of one of our favorite honey-infused lip balms comes a multitasking DD cream that's perfect for daily wear. It's a great base to slap on if you're looking for a little coverage (in this way, it's similar to many BBs out there), hydration, and SPF before running out the door. Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse DD Crème, $22.32, available at Feel Unique.
This brightly colored tube does it all, alliteratively: defines, delays, defends, delights, and delivers. Additionally, you don't have to go through the steps of finding your best shade. The unique science behind it adjusts to match individual skin tones.
DermaDoctor DD cream, $38, available at DermaDoctor.
We think of this DD cream as more of a hydrating primer than a foundation alternative. It doesn't offer any coverage (it has no tint), but it keeps our skin looking plump and radiant all day while blurring imperfections. This option is ideal for those who want a hyper-natural look, but have some fine lines to soften and smooth.
Pür Rescue Squad DD Crème, $35, available at Ulta Beauty.
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