Just as BB cream has fully proven itself as beauty mainstay and not simply a fad, there's a new skin care essential hitting the market, only a letter away.
CC cream stands for "color corrective" or "complexion corrector," depending on whom you ask. This new, improved cream is lighter in consistency and better at concealing blemishes than its predecessor.
Singaporean makeup and skin care brand Rachel K's new CC cream promises 10 benefits - "protection, hydration, sunblock, conceals flaw, repairs, brightens, anti-wrinkle, non-oily, non-comedogenic, evens skin tone" - though the user can be the judge.
Other brands to already enter the CC market are Olay's Total Effects Tone Correcting CC cream and Chanel's CC cream. Clinique's new moisture surge CC cream is set to debut at the end of March.
A BB history
Though even the most avid makeup connoisseurs might not know what the initials of the BB cream might really stand for (originally, blemish balm), BB cream has nonetheless become a standard beauty product in both Asian and Western beauty markets.
BB cream can be described simply as a tinted moisturizer, but its main appeal is it's an all-in-one package. BB cream sports multi-functionality, working as primer, moisturizer, skin brightener and sometimes even an anti-aging cream.
South Korea has long dominated the BB cream market, with many actresses and actors sporting an all-natural look aided by the lightweight texture of this skin elixir.
Because the market is currently saturated with BBs, it can be difficult to discern between brands.
Some popular, made-in-Korea brands include Etude House, Missha, Skin Food and The Face Shop - all of which are also carried in Beijing. In the West, BB creams have become quite a hit, with high-end brands like MAC, Bobbi Brown, Stila and Dior all carrying their versions of BB cream. Drugstore brands like Maybelline, L'Oreal and Garnier make affordable BB creams.
The right one
Before picking up a bottle of BB or CC cream, do some research. As many BB and CC creams come in fewer tones for skin than conventional foundations, expect to test several formulas before finding one that best suits you. Don't commit to one without using a tester.
The best way to apply both BB and CC cream, according to the makeup gurus at cosmetics chain Sephora, is to use your fingertips to lightly warm up a coin-sized mixture of the cream. In the case of both BB and CC cream, the old adage "less is more" rings true. Apply the cream all over your face, lightly dabbing the eyelids. You use this as the main foundation, or use it as a primer, following up with thicker foundation.
When testing either BB or CC cream, the most important part of the process is to wait for at least 15 minutes before assessing the results to see if it matches your skin tone, as the formula often changes hues and takes time to settle.
And lest you think that BB cream or CC cream is just for women, you stand corrected.
Alvin Guo, a 24-year-old model based in Beijing, hasn't yet tried out CC cream, but he said he uses BB cream almost daily.
"The main reason I use BB cream is because no one can tell that I have it on. I use it almost everyday, because it has a sunscreen built-in. They usually also apply BB cream on me during photo shoots, because it looks natural and makes my skin look dewy," he said.
He recommends that all men incorporate BB cream into their daily hygienic routine, as it is a simple and natural way to have even skin consistency.
But not everyone extols the virtues of BB and CC cream.
"While BB cream offers more skin conditioning properties and feels lighter than most traditional foundations, I still find that it does not suit my skin, because most of the BB creams I tried still left a greasy residue," said Korean-American beauty expert Uijin Chong.
To find a CC or BB cream at a Beijing store near you, head to any Sephora or Sasa, which carries various versions of the product. Sephora carries the fusion French Korean brand, Erborian BB cream. Test out this 3-in-1 BB cream with SPF 25 by purchasing a travel sized bottle (15 milliliters) at 99 yuan. The makeup chain also stocks their own version of BB cream, 169 yuan for 40 milliliters. China's Sasa stocks Dr Jart, one of the first Korean brands to come out with BB cream, 151 yuan for 30 milliliters, and their own rendition, Sasatinnie, 71 yuan for 30 milliliters.
All around the city, bigger malls such as Beijing APM in Wangfujing and Ginza in Dongzhimen have beauty kiosks from popular Korean brands such as Skin Food and The Face Shop, but not all have launched their CC creams in China yet. To get your hands on one, head to Sasa where the brand Suki has a 40 milliliter bottle of CC cream for 46.60 yuan. And of course Taobao can keep you ahead of the curve with CC creams for sale on the site at high prices, such as Chanel's 325 yuan, 30 milliliter product, or more affordable ones, such as Tonymoly's 50 milliliter, 115 yuan version.