Feel like you need a dictionary in the cosmetics department lately? You're not alone. With BB, CC, DD, and other beauty creams bursting onto the scene we're having trouble keeping up.

To get between the lines, we called in expert makeup artist Lindsey Watkins. The local gal has been working in hair and makeup for fashion and commercial photography for over seven years. Her special talent: finding the perfect shade to match anyone's skin. She breaks down the alphabet below.

Image via Clinique

BB stands for blemish balm or beauty balm.
CC stands for color correcting. 
DD stands for dynamic do-all or daily defense.

At their core, each of the alphabet products is just a new way of packaging foundation, but with added benefits for your skin. Unlike tinted moisturizers and typical foundations, these creams are each packed with some combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-aging ingredients, and light diffusers. But after trying a number of BB, CC and DD creams I found them all very similar once applied. Though the creams vary in consistency and color, they all went on with light-to-medium coverage and had a dewy finish, regardless of brand or acronym.

The problem is that there isn’t much standardization amongst each type of lettered cream. There are some BB creams that tout many anti-aging benefits, and others that don’t. I found CC creams that are just color correctors and others, like Smashbox’s Camera Ready CC Cream and Ole Henriksen’s Perfect Truth, that promise to help fade dark spots and prevent future discoloration.

Local brand Julep makes one of the few DD creams on the market.
Image via Julep

On the whole, one brand's BB and CC creams might be oddly similar to each other (great marketing, anyone?), but completely varied from a different brand's offerings in the same category.

As for the few DD creams on the market, they tend to promise everything the other alphabet creams do, but with a generally higher level of anti-aging properties.

Despite all the positive benefits, these products should not be looked at as a one-step makeup regime or a skin miracle in a bottle. Be especially careful about counting on them for adequate sun protection since they are typically applied sparingly. I’d also recommend using a finishing powder to tone down the dewy finish and minimize transferring.

My best suggestion: If looking to add a cream to your product lineup, make your choice not by letters in the alphabet or brand, but by the list of benefits, color match, texture, and finish that works best for your skin-type.

(That said, my favorite for my own skin is Clinique’s Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector Broad Spectrum SPF 30. What a mouthful, eh?)

Overall, any of the alphabet creams are ideal for those who don't like wearing much makeup but want to even out their complexion and take care of their skin. 

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