CC creams are now sold alongside BB creams, and 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 tends to be just like a liquid foundation, but in reality there is no rhyme or reason to the names when 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.
Compared with CC creams from Peter Thomas Roth and Clinique, this option from Smashbox has a thinner, silkier texture that feels much better, while offering the coverage and appearance of a lightweight, slightly creamy liquid foundation. It's best for normal or combination skin.
This sets to a smooth matte finish capable of providing light to medium coverage, just like many foundations (Are you sensing a pattern here?) and it comes in a small but workable range of shades best for light to medium tan skin tones. Note that the lightest shade (Fair) isn't light enough for most fair skin tones.
Sun protection is provided by an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen, meaning this mineral active is accompanied by so-called "synthetic" active ingredients to reach the SPF rating. We're disappointed that the amount of the UVA-protecting sunscreen ingredient titanium dioxide is present only at 1.1%. That's on the low side, and keeps this CC cream from earning our top rating. If you opt to use this, we advise applying it over a moisturizer with sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater.
What about correcting dark spots? Although it contains a blend of ingredients that can help with dark spots, the blend is not present in an amount that will get you the results you're hoping for. And again, the low amount of titanium dioxide comes into play here: You want more than 1% if your goal is fighting discolorations and keeping new ones from showing up.
- Silky, lightweight texture.
- Blends beautifully.
- Attractive range of shades.
- Fragrance-free formula.
- Amount of UVA-screening sunscreen active titanium dioxide is low.
- Mix of skin-lightening ingredients isn't enough to make much of a difference.
Active: Octinoxate 7.50%, Octisalate 4.00%, Oxybenzone 2.50%, Titanium Dioxide 1.10%. Inactive: Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glyceryl Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Behenyl Alcohol, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Ascorbyl Glucoside, PEG-40 Stearate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D'Orge, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Sucrose, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Lecithin, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Caffeine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Cholesterol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Linoleic Acid, Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol, Squalane, Sodium PCA, Urea, Bisabolol, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Glycerin, Oryzanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Trehalose, Polyquaternium-51, Stearic Acid, Silica, Ergothioneine, Xanthan Gum, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Alumina, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Chlorphenesin. May Contain:- Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Zinc Oxide (CI 77497), Titanium Dioxide.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Smashbox is that its name refers to the early, accordion-style cameras and that Smashbox is first and foremost a Hollywood-based photography studio. The company's creators, Dean and Davis Factor, have their heritage in makeup—their great-grandfather was the legendary makeup artist Max Factor. However, this seems to be a case where the proverbial apple didn't fall all that close to the tree. It is apparent that Dean and Davis are better at their respective careers as CEO and photographer, respectively, than at creating a cosmetics line. The makeup, which debuted in 1996, began as a collection of trendy and fashion-forward colors coupled with a pleasingly neutral palette of foundations, concealers, and powders. Nowadays, many of the colors are too sheer to register on medium to dark skin tones, shiny products abound, and several of the complexion-enhancing products just don't look as natural on skin as they should. In fact, the foundations and concealers could use some updating; they haven't kept pace with what other makeup artistry lines are launching, and don't demonstrate much longevity under normal conditions, as in day-to-day casual makeup.
Realizing that celebrities sell products better than the product claims themselves, Smashbox steadily capitalizes on its ties to Hollywood and often mentions several famous faces who wear their products. Their counter brochures follow suit, tempting women to sit down with a Smashbox artist to get the star treatment. It's easy to get caught up in the hype, but as a comprehensive line Smashbox doesn't have what it takes to create A-list glamour, at least not if you're looking for cutting-edge textures and finishes.
For more information about Smashbox, now owned by Estee Lauder, call (888) 763-1361 or visit www.smashbox.com.