What Are DD Creams? How Are They Different from BB and CC Creams?

Cosmetics, Skin Care

DD creams

In the latest spin off of BBs and CCs, beauty companies continue the trek down the alphabet to bring you another multitasking product: DD creams. Call me a cynic, but I’m a getting a little tired of the trend of do-it-all products with double-lettered names.

I like having multipurpose products on hand for lazy days, and I definitely think there’s a place for them. And I’m glad to see that companies are trying to make better and better versions of these products. But DD creams seem so ambiguous that I’m hesitant to think they’re anything different or special, and I’m inclined to think that this is bandwagon hopping.

These creams, at their cores, are a little like a much needed update on tinted moisturizers: they moisturize, they prime, they conceal, and they treat. But I’d rather see companies impress with novel ingredients and formulations than trying to get a buzz by continuing this skip down alphabet lane.

[Read More: Winners of the BB & CC Creams War]

BB is for Beauty Balm

If moisturizer and foundation had a love child, it’d definitely be tinted moisturizer; but if they had a love child and let a serum be its nanny, it’d be BB cream. They’re a little heavier than tinted moisturizers but lighter than foundations, they have SPF protection, they work as primers, and they come full of fun serum-like additions, like antioxidants.

[Read More: Are BB Creams Worth It? Which is the Best?]

CC is for Color Correcting

CC creams have all the trappings of a BB cream, but they’re more targeted for brightening to address myriad coloring issues and, often, also include anti-aging ingredients. They also tend to be lighter and are often oil-free, making them more favorable for oily and acne-prone skin.

[Read More: How is a CC Cream Different from a BB Cream?]

DD is for … Daily Defense? Dynamic Do All?

DD Cream
Are DD creams different enough from BB and CC creams to warrant their own letter?

In 2012, when Cosmetic Design asked Vivienne Rudd, senior analyst at marketing firm Mintel, she said DD creams for “daily defense” were “very heavy duty body and foot creams,” some of which included sunless tanners.

But that prediction proved only half correct. OFRA Cosmetic Laboratories released a DD cream ($29.95) that it claims as both “daily defense” and “dynamic do all” that, like a CC cream, is lighter and has brightening and anti-aging ingredients. And Julep released its own take on DD Crème ($36) that stands for “dynamic do all,” that focuses mostly on anti-aging.

Both companies make a point of claiming improvement on BB creams with lighter formulations and more treatment ingredients, but neither addresses what differentiates them from CC creams, if anything does. That said, I want to give OFRA credit for offering a more varied color selection, particularly in darker shades.

The Trouble with BB, CC, and DD Creams

What is DD Cream?
Are all these alphabetical names helpful or more confusing when picking out creams?

When it comes to beauty products, definitions are crucial. If you really boil it down to the basics, cosmetics are usually named for their purpose; cleansers cleanse, moisturizers moisturize, conditioners condition, etc. These creams, most specifically DD creams, tend to fall in the same no man’s land as toners — we sort of know what they are, but we don’t really know what they do because they can do all kinds of different things.

[Read More: Do You Really Need a Skin Toner?]

BB, CC, and DD creams are all essentially more-targeted and more functional improvements on tinted moisturizers with a few extra bits and doodads, and it’s great that they’re raising the bar for cosmetics. They treat everything from blemishes to pigmentation issues to aging; they tend to have good but light coverage; and they’re formulated to have a silky primer feel.

But they have the same issues as any 2-in-1 or all-in-one product, namely that while they cut down on the number of products you use, they often sacrifice efficacy. Personally, I think that instead of thinking of them as one product to rule them all, it’s best to look at these creams as something that supplements, not substitutes, the specific products you’re already using.


Are DD creams really different enough to warrant their own letter? In my opinion, the answer is “no.” It seems to me that what appears to be a trend of creating the next cream in the alphabet is more confusing than helpful to consumers. All these relatively meaningless acronyms seem to bog down buyers and make it harder to figure out the purpose of these creams and which is best. I think you know that our general opinion is that you should look at the ingredients instead of the name, but I’ll say it again: Don’t be fooled by trendy names, turn the product over and see what it’s really made of (literally).

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