ALPHABET (BB/CC) CREAMS

We hereby declare Erborian – the Korean-inspired French beauty brand – to be the official Superstars of Alphabet Creams. They won for both their BB and their CC creams (and trust us: we trialled plenty).

If you’re still confused about ‘alphabet creams (BB creams, CC creams etc. – we’ve even seen a DD cream), these are inspired by the (somewhat complicated) beauty routines of Korean women. The differences between these creams are pretty subtle – but BB, or ‘Beauty Balms’ are more akin to a tinted moisturiser or light foundation (often with some skincare benefits in there, too). CC is generally accepted to stand for ‘Colour Correcting’, addressing issues like sallow skin or redness, via the use of light-diffusing particles – essentially, creating an optical illusion of more flawless skin. Bottom line is: they can both be great for evening out skintone and making skin appear more even and smooth.

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GOLD AWARD Erborian BB Crème au Ginseng

Second BB win in a row for Erborian – a brand founded by Katalyn Berenyi after a distinguished career in the beauty industry, taking inspiration from the rituals of Korean beauties. Using a ‘baby skin’-type primer is a key element there – and this moisturising, velvety cream works brilliantly when applied after your usual cream to even out skintone – sometimes to the point that make-up really isn’t needed afterwards. Alongside the clever blend of light-reflecting pigments, it features stimulating ginger and ginseng, along with licorice to target pigmentation.

OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:

‘This lightweight cream was good on my very dry skin over a moisturiser. It works well as a primer for foundation, or you can leave it bare. It does enhance radiance and leaves my skin looking soft but matte. It’s a very good concealer: I have some brown patches and freckles and they look much fainter under this, also thread veins. Someone asked if I’d been on holiday as my skin looked well’ • ‘I absolutely loved this. I have never used a BB cream before and am new to Korean beauty, but this was really super and so versatile allowing me to use it alone or with foundation. Left me with beautifully soft and smooth skin. My skin felt absolutely lovely and it's the first product that has ever allowed me to go out without foundation! Never slipped or settled into fine lines through a 16-hour day’ • ‘This claims to be a 5 in 1 baby skin effect make-up care face cream. I think it is very good at evening out my complexion and reducing the appearance of blemishes such as brown age spots and freckles. It leaves skin looking “baby soft”. It doesn’t completely hide imperfections but helps to reduce their appearance. I need moisturiser underneath but it works well as a primer, concealer and sun block’ • ‘10/10! A very easy product to use. It went on easily, blended well and lasted all day, giving good coverage. I found it moisturised well enough for my dry sensitive skin. I normally find BB creams and foundations drying on my skin but this one didn't. My skin felt good and looked smooth all day’ • ‘This is a real find! I don't have enough time for make-up most days, but this is quickly applied and really makes a huge difference to my complexion’ • ‘I found that using this BB cream I didn’t need additional foundation.  The coverage was good and meant it wasn’t needed.  Pores looked smoother and less visible, small blemishes were covered well and also pigmentation. Any areas that needed a little heavier coverage were easily resolved with a little extra BB being layered onto that area.  I found that eye make-up sat well, and lasted longer than normally. I felt that this improved and brightened skin tone and smoothness, and brightened the skin generally’ • ‘I plan to buy this again – so pleased with it that I will look into other products made by this company.  I never check the prices of products before I test them, and am hopeful that this is a budget rather than luxury brand’ • ‘A really nice product. I was looking for something lighter than a foundation but with some coverage and this does the trick. The fact it has an SPF is a bonus. Very practical tube with pointed nozzle that makes it easy to control the flow’ • ‘A revelation for me.  I have never used such a nice and effective cream and am converted to continue using it now.’

£36 for 45ml – click to buy

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SILVER AWARD Erborian CC Crème

There are lots of reasons to love this Korean-inspired French brand (which is now under the L’Occitane empire’s umbrella) – but their complexion-evening products are a great place to start. This ‘Complexion Corrector’ (hence the CC) helps skin to appear smoother and more even-toned through illuminating pigments, adapting to your natural skintone (it’s kinda magic) while boosting radiance. Although not a ‘natural’ brand, per se, Erborian harness botanicals here including tiger grass (promotes healing and is anti-inflammatory), honey extract (softening) and vitamin E, to fight free radical damage. The smallish 15ml size is a good intro, we think.

OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:

‘10/10. The best product I have found for evening out tone. I don’t even need under eye concealer. This replaces moisturiser, primer and foundation for me. It does seem to make my skin more radiant and my skin looks so much better with this that it gives me confidence. My skin looks and feels smoother in general and seems to have less fine lines. Several people at worked have commented on how good my skin looks. I have already bought more!’ • ‘This CC – Colour Correcting – cream claims to improve the appearance of your skin and give it a luminous and soft finish while reducing the appearance of blemishes. It was an effective moisturiser for me, giving a soft radiance without make-up and evening out the skin tone; it also worked equally well as a primer, providing a smooth base for foundation. It helped make open pores smaller and less noticeable. A couple of friends said my skin looked good’ • ‘I would definitely buy this, as it’s a great multi tasking cream. Usually I put on a moisturiser and sunscreen, with a primer occasionally, but feel like I am overloading my skin. It did what it said, making my skin smoother and more luminous. I would buy iT’ • ‘Worked best with a bit of a tan, as there is a slight orange tint. It really did blend the fine lines away! I was amazed at how smooth my skin looked the first time I used it’ • ‘I loved the feel of it on my skin, it's really light and the skin felt smooth and not 'mask' like. My skin is quite dry so I personally would use a moisturiser as well underneath. I used it instead of my normal primer and I haven't need as much foundation, As its the summer now I've got a tan I'm just using this product with face powder and I really pleased with the way my skin looks. It gave a radiant glow to my skin and definitely evened out my skin tone and helped with the look for fine thread veins. I have a small area of light sun damage and it helped even out this area. A friend said my skin looked good’ • ‘I really like this product and would buy again as I think it is good value for money. A little goes a long way. It’s white but on the skin acts like a tinted moisturiser’ • ‘This sits perfectly underneath foundation but I preferred to use it on its own. It's a wonderful product that made my skin look healthy and radiant, soft and dewy - but not shiny -and gave a good smoothing out over wrinkles, also camouflaged a couple of dark spots. My daughter kept disappearing with it into her room – so it suited her too.’

£38 for 45ml – click to buy