It’s undeniable that the BB cream and its other multi-function doppelgangers, like CC and DD creams, are the beauty decade’s hottest items. Knowing that the beauty buyer is now as demanding as she is curious, beauty brands have taken to creating their own versions of the BB, some even making fancy combinations and promises.

To make the task of finding the right double-letter cream for you, dermatologists and skin experts weigh in and tell you exactly how to make the right choice.

1. Which double-letter cream should I consider buying?

“It’s not exactly the letter you should be mindful of,” says Dr. Yanee Vasquez, medical director at the aesthetic science clinic. Instead of being wowed by letters of the alphabet, you should “look closely at what ingredients brands use before applying their creams on your skin,” Dr. Vasquez adds. A good track record, potent ingredients, and substantiated claims will prove one double-letter cream better than the other.

2. Is this cream made by a reputable skincare company?

Since many brands from personal care leaders to makeup giants have claimed that they are experts of the BB formula, it’s better to just select a multi-way cream backed up by extensive expertise in skincare. “You must only use a BB cream or any double-letter variant produced by a well-trusted brand that has an exemplary track record in caring for skin. Don't compromise; give your skin the care it deserves,” says Agoo Bengzon, a former beauty director of Summit Media.

3. What are the simple requisites of a BB or double-letter cream?

The plus points awarded to any effective BB or double-letter cream are rooted in two efficacies: First, its ability to instantly make skin even-toned and spotless. Second is its ability to maintain and even further improve the quality of skin. “I love that my BB cream works instantly, and better yet, continues to work over time. It’s also important for my BB cream to blend into my skin without being sticky.” says renowned fashion and beauty blogger Tricia Gosingtian.

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4. What specific ingredients should be in my BB cream?

As a basic requirement, seek one with sun protection qualities, like “Zinc Oxide, a physical barrier that protects you from UV rays” says dermatologist Dr. Anna Palabyab-Rufino of the Palabyab Skin Clinic. For a BB cream that addresses your unique skin concerns, find one with “a winning whitening formula or an anti-aging combo of ingredients that will address the skincare part of a BB cream’s promise.”

If the base product of a brand works for you, like its whitening or anti-aging lines, then it may be wise to follow suit and grab their BB cream as well. Brands often infuse their BB or double-letter variants with the same effective ingredients found in their other popular products.

5. Will this cream provide me with ideal coverage

A good BB or double-letter cream provides healthy coverage. What you want in a BB hybrid or double-letter cream “is coverage that instantly conceals spots, while lending skin a natural sheen. You want your BB cream to mimic skin—only better. It’s about natural, healthy coverage on good skin, not about fake, photoshopped perfection” says Albert Kurniawan, celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert.

6. Is this a stand-alone all-in-one cream or can I use it with my other skincare products?

“In order to get the max benefits from skincare, you may use it in conjunction with your other favorite skincare products, as long as they do not contain active ingredients that may cause untoward reactions when used together,” says Dr. Cecile C. Ocampo, a cosmetic and pathologic dermatologist at the Capitol Medical Center. “Products of a certain line or brand are often formulated to complement each other and might lessen the chances of allergies,” adds Ocampo.

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7. How do you choose your shade of cream?

To make sure that your shade of BB cream suits your skin tone, it would be best to do a color test first. “Road test your BB cream by spreading a dot of product on your jaw line. It should blend out evenly and disappear almost unmistakably into skin,” says internationally-trained makeup artist Amanda Padilla. Light shades of BB cream mostly match women with fair complexion, while beige shades blend seamlessly on more morena skin tones.

8. Can I use this BB cream alone or is it intended to be layered with makeup?

Used on its own, it looks great on good skin, providing just enough coverage and making skin look even-toned. “A good BB cream works as a good makeup base because its rich texture primes the skin and allows it to easily absorb the foundation, giving better coverage. Also, it already corrects minor imperfections of the skin, so you don’t have to top it off with heavy foundation,” says internationally-trained and celebrity makeup artist, John Pagaduan.

9. Is there a right BB cream for my age?

For the younger lot and for working women who like having flawlessly fair skin, Dr. Palabyab-Rufino says to be on the lookout for “a BB cream with a whitening system combining ingredients like niacinamide and vitamin B3, which are safe and less toxic.” Those concerned with fine lines, age spots, or wrinkles may seek out a BB hybrid “that has anti-aging combo of ingredients which are also infused with retinol boosters, alphahydroxy acid, exfoliants for skin renewal, and glycerine for moisturization.”

10. How would I know if I’ve hit the jackpot and found the right cream for me?

If you’ve made the right choice of a BB cream, you’ll notice “immediate effects, such as even skin tone. Over time, you’ll also start to notice long-term benefits and better quality skin, showing delayed signs of aging, fewer fine lines and wrinkles, more moisturized complexion, and even less pigmentation,” says Dr. Palabyab-Rufino.

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