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What’s The Difference?

We love a bit of jargon busting at allbeauty, so today’s blog is one we’ve been looking forward to writing for a while. The beauty industry can be a daunting place if you don’t know your CC from your BB and your serums from your tonics – but it needn’t be as confusing as it seems.

If you’ve ever found yourself staring blankly at a row of similar looking products wondering what on earth makes them different, you’re in the right place.


Cleansers

Main types: Cream, Gel, Foam, Water, Milk

A cleanser is a cleanser, right? Wrong. Sort of. While all cleansers do the same basic job, their different consistencies affect how they work on your skin.

  • While the heavier cream and gel cleansers are better suited for removing makeup and SPF from your skin, the lighter cleansers are best used for a second cleanse to remove any final traces.
  • Cleansing water or milk is also better suited for sensitive skin as they tend to be developed to be gentler on the skin. Technically, you could use cleansing milk to take off your makeup and SPF, but it’s going to have to work much harder than a cream cleanser would.
  • You certainly don’t need one of every variety of cleanser, but ideally, you’d have both a heavy and light cleanser in your bathroom cabinet to cover your bases.

Skincare

Main types: Oil, Serum, Tonic, Balm

Skincare is one of those categories which come with a diverse range of language. Along with the usual list of lotions and creams, come tonics, balms, oils and serums. What’s what when it comes to skincare?

  • Oil may seem like an odd thing to use on your skin, particularly if you’re of an oily disposition, but a good quality natural beauty oil can be your skin’s best friend. Hydrating and moisturising, oil not only absorbs easily into dry skin, but can also help to regulate oil production. Use in place of, or underneath, moisturiser for a hydration boost.
  • Serum’s are designed to target specific skin complaints. Rosacea? Dehydration? Fine-lines? There’s a serum for that. Lighter than a cream and easily absorbed into the skin, they’re best applied after cleansing and before moisturising.
  • Tonic is essentially the same as toner. Now, there are sometimes subtle differences between the two, but these are changeable between brands and formulas. A tonic or toner is used post-cleansing and pre-moisturising to minimise pores and get your skin squeaky clean. If you’re using a toner already, you don’t need to rush out and purchase a tonic. 
  • Balm is the heavy-duty alternative to moisturiser for when a light cream just won’t cut it. Often formulated with dominant ingredients of oil and beeswax, balms offer a heavier layer than other skincare products. Best used overnight or as a 30-minute mask, balms nourish your skin deeply but are too heavy for daily wear except on those problematic dry patches.


Face

Main types: BB, CC, Tinted Moisturiser, Foundation

There are so many options for skin coverage that it can be hard to keep up with the terminology. To best understand how the main types of makeup differ, let’s start at full coverage and work our way backwards.

  • Foundation is a pigmented cream used to even out skin tone and provide a flawless base of colour. While foundation itself comes in different levels of coverage, for the sake of our article, we’ll say that foundation is at the top end of the spectrum. 
  • CC Cream is a step down from foundation in terms of coverage. It balances skin tone and reduces redness like a foundation, but will often include other skincare benefits, such as hydration and an SPF. While all CC creams will have different pigments, in general they are less pigmented than foundation.
  • BB Cream combines skincare with light coverage. Essentially, wearing BB cream is like putting on an SPF, a serum, and a moisturiser, while getting the benefits of a more even complexion. They’re a great option for days you can’t be bothered with make-up, or for the woman who feels self-conscious in full foundation.
  • Tinted Moisturiser is considered by many to be a dying breed. Less coverage than a BB cream, and lacking in the additional skincare benefits, tinted moisturiser simply gives you hydration with a sheer cover.


Fragrance

Main types: Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum, Parfum

All fragrances are created by combining concentrated oils with an alcohol and water base. The stronger the ratio of oils, the stronger the scent. 

  • Parfum has the highest concentration, boasting around 30% fragrance – this makes it the most expensive fragrance option, but also the longest lasting. Parfums are fairly rare in most fragrance circles, with the majority of women preferring something easier to wear.
  • Eau de Parfum is what most people think of when they consider women’s perfume. At around 15% oil, the scent of an Eau de Parfum will last upwards of 4 hours, making it ideal for an evening out.
  • Eau de Toilette is a weaker concentration still, which makes it fantastic for day-wear, especially if you don’t mind topping it up as needed. Eau de Toilette sits lighter on the skin, making it easier to wear if you prefer subtlety over statement. 


Masks

Whether homemade or store-bought, a mask is a great way to indulge in a little pampering, making them a staple product for any girls’ night in. But what makes a mask different from any other product? 

  • Sheet masks are everywhere right now. They’ve been a favourite amongst beauty bloggers and product reviewers throughout 2019 and are showing no signs of stopping. A Korean phenomenon, sheet masks come in a face-shaped delivery system, pre-loaded with skin-nourishing ingredients. Self-care doesn’t get much easier than this.
  • Face masks have been kicked from the top position by sheet masks, but offer similar benefits. The product is applied manually to your face and usually either washed or peeled off after a set time. Face masks can be exfoliating, hydrating, or clarifying – there’s something for everyone.
  • Hair masks are a must for anyone with dry, damaged, coarse, curly or frizzy hair. Similar to a heavy-duty conditioner, hair masks are packed with smoothing, nourishing and hydrating properties, with additional ingredients based on specific hair type. Adding a weekly hair mask into your routine can make a huge difference to distressed locks. 
  • Foot masks are a perfect addition to the at-home pedicure. Available as a scrub, lotion or sheet mask, they provide exfoliation and moisturisation to the hardest working part of your body. The sheet-style foot masks are particularly popular at the moment and come in the form of a pair of pre-loaded booties; slip them on for the ultimate in easy pampering.


There we have it, you’re now equipped to browse the latest beauty products with ease. Are there any products we haven’t covered that still have you scratching your head? Let us know in the comments.