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Know Your BB, CC & DD Basics

 We caught up with David E. Bank, M.D., director of New York's Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, and learned what they could do for us.

The Breakdown

Tired of using multiple products to create the perfect face? Want to have them all in one tube? A BB, CC or DD cream may be just the solution for you. We caught up with David E. Bank, M.D., director of New York’s Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, and learned what they could do for us.


Also known as a beauty or blemish balm, the BB cream is the starting point for these all-in-ones. At minimum, you can expect to get a moisturizer, an SPF and a primer. Think of it as a tinted moisturizer with a little something extra. “A light layer is all you need,” says Bank. “The BBs are perfect for a younger woman whose skin needs a little pick-me-up.” The ones we tried created a healthy, even and youthful glow. Some side notes:

• BB creams have a lighter finish and offer slightly less coverage than traditional foundations and concealers.

• Look to BBs to even skin tone, prep the skin for a flawless makeup application, brighten a dull epidermis and blur fine lines and wrinkles.


The CC (which stands for color control or color correcting) does all that the BB does and more. Count on the CCs to be formulated with ingredients that even skin tone, control oil and shine, and leave the skin looking radiant. “If you’re acne-prone or have dull skin, dark spots or constant redness, a CC cream is for you,” advises Bank. Using the product over time may actually firm the skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots, redness, acne scarring and sun spots. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but your skin may actually improve under the makeup. We love that this emollient creates a “naked,” silky and long-wearing finish. Some side notes:

• CCs usually have light-diffusing particles that address sallowness.

• Use CCs to help smooth and perfect your complexion.


The DDs, aka the daily defense or dynamic do-all creams, contain all the benefits of the BBs and CCs but have a bonus: antiaging properties. “You’ll really see improvements with continued use, so incorporate a DD into your daily routine,” instructs Bank. These creams will smooth fine lines, mattify, enhance vibrancy and protect the skin against environmental stressors like pollution. “If you’re looking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, this one is for you,” he adds. We found that the DDs offer the most coverage. Some side notes:

• DDs are packed with skin-perfecting antioxidants and vitamins.

• Look for key age-defying ingredients such as sodium hyaluronate, which smooths fine lines and wrinkles, and silk peptides, which curb melanin growth and assists in the healing of scars.


• Also available in powder form, they can come in a compact or a squeeze tube. Make sure you choose the correct shade and a formulation you’re most comfortable using.

• No need to pile it on. Unlike traditional foundations, these do not offer a full-coverage look.

• They are so lightweight you may forget you’re even wearing makeup, so remember to always use a gentle makeup remover before going to bed.

• All brands make their creams differently. Be sure you understand exactly what a BB, CC or DD cream claims to do and whether it addresses your needs.