BB Creams, CC Creams - you'd be forgiven for thinking that the beauty industry has gone alphabet crazy and that your favourite cosmetics counter has turned into a scene from Sesame Street. So what exactly are these products? Are they functional? Do they work? Do we need them, or is this simply need creation marketing on a grand scale, another strategy to get the humble consumer to flex the plastic and boost those profit margins?
Hugely popular in the Asian market, BB Creams (Beauty Balms) are essentially a souped-up tinted moisturiser. Like that hot guy/girl you always seem to "accidentally" text when tipsy, they are your cosmetic friend with benefits, combining skin care with an SPF and skin-perfecting pigments. Providing a medium level of coverage, my only problem with these is that at present, they are only really available in fair to medium shades at best, meaning that anyone with a deeper skin tone is left in the shade. No-one wants to be the person refused entry to the club. So not cool.
Off the back of these we now have CC Creams (Colour Correcting Creams), as seen above on Hollywood actress (and cult of Tom Cruise escapee) Katie Holmes in the Bobbi Brown campaign.
Bobbi says,"We created CC Cream for any woman who wants more even-toned, healthy-looking skin. Our formula colour corrects, illuminates and protects in one easy step. It's lightweight and blends seamlessly into skin so you instantly look fresher and healthier. Wear it under foundation every day or just when you need it. It's CC perfection."
One of the new breed of high tech cosmeceuticals, she adds "This colour corrector plus treatment hybrid takes a three step approach to evening out skin tone over time and works to prevent future signs of dark spots."
Available in three shades:
Pale Nude, a lavender pink tone ideal for pale skin tones.
Warm Nude, a natural peach tone ideal for medium skin tones.
Golden Nude, a warm golden tone ideal for deep skin tones.
I received a sample of the Warm Nude and have been testing it for the last week. To be honest, I was sceptical as to whether this would be a help or hindrance in my daily makeup regime. I always prep my skin with serum, an oil and moisturiser and follow with a primer before applying my base and concealer.
I used the CC Cream instead of primer and though not exactly earth-moving, I did notice a pleasingly subtle difference. The product has a gorgeous creme-mousse like texture and creates the same slip on my skin that a primer would, extending the wear of my base and ensuring product doesn't settle into any fine lines. Subtly pigmented with peach tones, it perked up my sallow complexion and was especially brilliant when smoothed over eye lids and under the eyes, counteracting discolouration in these areas, meaning I could get away with applying less concealer. I definitely looked perkier which is always a bonus in my book. If Clarins Beauty Flash Balm and Urban Decay Primer Potion had a love child (via a brief dalliance with sunscreen), it would be Bobbi Brown CC Cream, with the stellar qualities of both cult items fused in one product. You can even layer the product over make-up for a subtle highlight on the brow bone, cheek bones and cupid's bow. Win. I recently wore the product when I hooked up with a friend before a meeting in Soho. As we were walking along he said "Do you realise how many guys have checked you out?" To be honest, I was too engrossed in the conversation to notice but I'll say this much - CC is staying.
It is too early to tell whether there have been any tangible changes in the clarity of my skin but I do love the cooling feel of this product on application and the fact that it has an SPF of 35 is a welcome bonus. Forget "pram face", I've attended enough beauty seminars, lunches and launches over the years to know that UVA and UVB damage is the quickest route to a "prune face". It doesn't matter whether the sun is shining, these harmful rays are present even on cloudy days and will break down the collagen and elastin in your skin, resulting in lines, wrinkles, sagging, age spots and pigmentation, not to mention the risk of skin cancer. You know how photographs fade over time when exposed to direct sunlight? Your skin is no different. If you aren't already incorporating an SPF into your daily routine, then this is a supremely easy way to start.
If like me, you like the concept of fusing science and nature, this product (probably) has more natural extracts than your favourite green smoothie.
Not only does it contain the skin-plumping Sodium Hyaluronate, Trehalose and Glycerin, it also packs a punch with these goodies:
Balancing Laminaria Saccharina
Plumping Wheat Germ
It's worth noting that I spent a fair bit of time analysing the listed ingredients on the product packaging. As a rule of thumb, the closer to the top of the list the ingredients are, the higher their concentration in the formula. If they are listed towards the bottom, then their contribution to the formula is negligible. These ingredients all featured in the top-to-middle sections, meaning that they haven't scrimped on this front.
Bobbi Brown CC Cream SPF 35 - £29.00
Exclusively available at John Lewis and Nationwide from all Bobbi Brown Studios from 17th March