It’s a jungle out there. The jungle being cosmetics. I don’t even pretend to totally understand all the ingredients, permutations of said ingredients, claims, and so forth of makeup and other beauty products, but I try.
Today I’ve got some musings on the “alphabet creams” versus tinted moisturizers. You’ve probably seen both in stores — creams that are labeled AA, BB, CC, or DD, with more alphabet soup no doubt on its way.
Here’s a quick ‘n’ dirty list:
AA = anti aging
BB = beauty balm or blemish balm
CC = color correcting
DD = daily defense or dynamic do-all (OK, now it’s just getting silly)
To read in detail about these plus tinted moisturizer — the latter being exactly what it sounds like, moisturizer with a bit of color — let me point you towards several web sites that already explain it better and more thoroughly than I ever could. Fashionista. You Beauty. Women’s Health Magazine. Go ahead; read one or more of those and come back. I’ll be here.
You don’t see creams literally labeled AA much. The anti-aging properties are incorporated into the other descriptions.
BB creams were the biggies not long ago. They were and still are super popular in Asia and when American companies jumped on the bandwagon they labeled many of their products as BB creams but they were not dupes of the Asian imports. One reason being cost, I imagine, and the other being the FDA and its restrictions. At any rate, every drugstore and high end cosmetics company in America seemed to rush out its own BB product. A lot of people, including me, tried them and were not impressed. They didn’t do anything.
I have not bought any CC or DD creams, and didn’t waste much money trying drugstore BB products. I have tried a drugstore tinted moisturizer, a drugstore BB cream, and an Asian import BB cream — Cover Girl Aqua CG Smoothers Tinted Moisture, Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Protector, and Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream. My tube of the Cover Girl moisturizer is old and I believe the company now calls the product a BB cream as well.
Let’s look at the two drugstore tubes first. Click on any of the photos to see larger images for easier reading.
The Cover Girl (left) is 1.35 oz/40 ml, and I don’t remember what it cost but it’s currently $6.29 at Target. The active ingredients are 6% octinoxate and 3% zinc oxide, both of which are sunscreens, and the SPF is 15. So it’s a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. In the next few photos I’ll show a dot of it on the back of my hand, the dot smoothed out just a little, and then the dot blended in well.
Doesn’t look like much, does it? It’s like a very, very sheer foundation. Give a bit of shine but no real coverage, and the sunscreen is nice but certainly nothing special.
[By the way, doing this review made me really look at the tube and it expired ages ago so I'm going to toss it. Plus it doesn't do anything for me anyway. Hey, want to know of a great site to check the age/expiration of cosmetics when all you have is a code on the tube/bottle/jar? CheckCosmetic to your rescue! Might want to bookmark it like I did.]
The Maybelline 8-in-1 BB claims that its eight benefits are “blurs imperfections, enhances, brightens, adjusts to skin tone, smooths, hydrates, SPF 30 protects, and has 0% oils and other heavy ingredients.” Honey, you are reaching! Its active ingredient is 1.15% titanium dioxide, so this is just another tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, but it’s SPF 30 and not 15 like the Cover Girl. This tube contains 1.0 oz/30 ml and costs $7.49 at Target.
The formula is thinner and runnier than the Cover Girl and again, this product is shiny and merely so-so. I think its “benefits” claims are inflated. But for days when I only want to wear a light moisturizer with sunscreen, it’s OK. And of course I’m using it and the other products I’m talking about today on my face, not my hands. While those two body parts are the same age of 55, the skin on my face isn’t nearly as “cross-hatched”-looking as the back of my hands!
OK, moving on, I recently purchased an actual Korean BB cream, Missha Perfect Cover in the color #21 Light Beige. I’ve recently gotten interested in the Korean beauty box service (not subscription) called Memebox and they also sell products separately.
No, I can’t read Korean. At Memebox’s web site, the description is in English and you can also see the limited shade selection. The Missha BB Cream contains 50 ml or about 1.7 oz., it has an SPF of 42, and its claims are that it “… promotes natural-looking coverage while providing sun protection, treating dark spots, and preventing wrinkles.”
The regular price on Memebox is $22.00 [ALERT 10/14/14: on sale temporarily for $13.20!] but I got it on sale for $15.40. The “key ingredients” are camomile extract, rosemary extract, ceramide, hyaluronic acid, and gatuline RC. That last ingredient is an anti-aging compound derived from beech tree buds according to Dr. Google. I like that some of the ingredients are natural.
I’ve only been using this Missha cream for a week or so but really like it so far. It looks a bit grayish right out of the tube but blends in very well and does actually seem to blur the appearance of the pores on my face. It’s too soon to say if it’s doing anything as far as slaying wrinkles or dark spots, but after using this plus a light finish of Mineral Veil from Bare Minerals I’m very pleased with the appearance of my skin. I plan to keep using it and do a followup post at a later date.
Bottom line when buying a BB or CC cream — read ingredients, read reviews, and know what you’re getting. Some of the marketing claims are ridiculous. But you may be perfectly fine with a light tinted moisturizer with sunscreen as opposed to a heavier cream or a foundation.