CC creams are now sold alongside BB creams—you're likely wondering what's the difference? The answer: It's all about marketing language, nothing more. Generally, a BB cream from a U.S. brand is akin to a tinted moisturizer, while a CC cream is just like a liquid foundation; in reality, however, there is no rhyme or reason for the names as companies launch their versions of these products. BB and CC creams typically provide sun protection and may or may not include beneficial ingredients such as antioxidants or skin-lightening agents (but the best ones do). Neither BB nor CC creams are as revolutionary as they're made out to be—it's just a new twist on tinted moisturizers and foundations.
Peter Thomas Roth's contribution to the crop of CC creams (by the way, the "CC" stands for color and correct) is, surprise, very much like a liquid foundation with sunscreen. Here, the sunscreen actives are the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, so broad-spectrum protection is assured and it's great for sensitive skin.
This has a smooth, creamy texture that blends easily, setting to a satin finish that feels a bit thick yet also matte. The matte feel is due to the high amount of mineral actives, which, in large amounts, can feel thick and heavy. The amount of mineral actives in this product comes close to crossing that "feels heavy" line, so this is definitely a CC cream to sample before buying.
You may also want to sample it to make sure one of the three colors works on your skin. Each has a slight to moderate peachy to golden cast that many will find tricky to work with, but none of the colors are so bad that we wouldn't recommend them to anyone.
The fragrance-free formula is best for normal to slightly dry or oily skin not prone to breakouts. As for beneficial ingredients, this contains arbutin to help lighten dark spots and a plant-based antioxidant, but that's it. Because the inactive ingredients are listed in alphabetical order rather than descending order of amount, it's tricky to determine how much of each ingredient you're really getting. The alphabetical list is permissible because this CC cream's sunscreen makes it an over-the-counter drug, but it doesn't help consumers make a more informed decision.
Ultimately, if you can get past the CC cream hype, you'll find better options on our list of Best Foundations With Sunscreen.
- Provides mineral-based, broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Smooth, creamy texture is easy to blend.
- Expensive for a product that's little more than a foundation with sunscreen.
- Alphabetical list of inactive ingredients makes it tricky to tell how much of the beneficial ingredients you're getting.
- Non-sheer shades tend to be peachy or golden, limiting their appeal.
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 10.26%; Zinc Oxide 5.76%. Inactive Ingredients: Alcohol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Arbutin, Butylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Calcium Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dipropylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Hexyl Laurate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Iron Oxides, Magnesium Sulfate, Mica, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Carbonate, Stearic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Water.
Unique in the world of spa and salon specialty lines, Peter Thomas Roth is a large but straightforward line with mostly uncomplicated formulations that, for the most part, are quite good and state-of-the-art. Unlike many product lines, most of the acne, AHA, BHA, sunscreen, and moisturizing products contain what they should to be effective and helpful for skin.
A novel aspect of this line is that there are few (if any) nonsense ingredients. Roth products conspicuously lack the exotic, potentially irritating, sensitizing, and often unnecessary plant extracts and the irritating, fragrant plant oils that show up in most pricey skin-care lines, especially spa lines. Many of these products don't have fragrance, and they lack the long lists of ingredients that are often unnecessarily complicated. Even more impressive are the well-formulated cleansers, sunscreens, AHA products, and skin lighteners. The moisturizers have improved somewhat, and most are now packaged so that the light- and air-sensitive ingredients remain stable. In fact, Roth's packaging deserves special mention because it is exceptionally utilitarian and gender-friendly. No pretty pink bottles, sexy curved jars, or bejeweled caps—all of which reinforce the clinical nature of Peter Thomas Roth. Overall, this line should be admired for its simplicity and, for the most part, for its well-thought-out formulations.
After all that glowing praise there are a few embarrassing missteps to avoid, such as products that contain hydrogen peroxide, which can cause free-radical damage and hurt skin; irritating acne products that contain sulfur; unimpressive masks (odd for a spa-oriented line); and a bumper crop of products claiming to affect expression lines and wrinkles in a manner similar to cosmetic corrective procedures.
For more information about Peter Thomas Roth, call (800) PTR-SKIN or visit www.peterthomasroth.com.