Just when we finally figured out the ABCs of BB creams, along comes a skincare potion with a new set of initials: the CC cream.The CC stands for “color correction” or “color control,” depending on whom you ask. They’re similar to BB creams in that they provide coverage, sun protection and skincare benefits all in one tube—but they’re supposedly lighter-feeling and boast even more skin-prettifying properties.According to Refinery 29, CC creams are already popular in Asia, where Chanel released a double-C cream that beauty bloggers worldwide have been drooling over (no word yet on a US launch date). But to get your hands on a CC cream (short of going overseas), you’ll have to wait till this October, when Olay introduces its Total Effects CC Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer, which will come in three shades ($22).

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So, the question on every beauty junkie’s mind: Are CC creams really any different from BB creams—or is it all just marketing-speak and another acronym to get you to Commit Cash? We talked to formulation experts to get the scoop and the short answer is: Yes, CC creams are different from their BB sisters.“CC creams are lighter in texture and feel than BB creams,” explains YouBeauty cosmetic chemistry expert Ni’Kita Wilson. “They focus more on actually improving skin tone (thus color correction), but they’re also supposedly more nurturing and suitable for oilier types thanks to the lighter texture.”

Olay’s upcoming CC cream will feature the company’s “essential glucosamine complex,” which contains ingredients known for improving discoloration, including N-acetyl glucosamine and niacinamide.“CC Creams offer added benefits such as treatment for uneven skin tone or anti-aging, in addition to immediate color correction and SPF protection,” says Mary Johnson, the principal scientist for P&G Beauty. ”The instant and long-term benefits leave skin luminous and even-toned, with the reduced appearance of discolorations, fine lines and wrinkles.”

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As far as coverage, makeup artists love BB creams for their everyday wearability, and have high hopes that CC creams will offer the same natural-yet-polished finish.“BB creams aren’t the best foundation for a photo shoot, but I really like the effect they give for everyday wear. There’s less coverage and more of an optical brightening effect, so skin looks even-toned and fresh instead of matte,” says New York City makeup artist Charlie Green. “Hopefully CCs will come in more shades than BB creams.”The bottom line? If CCs go the way of the BB boom, a slew of new contenders will likely hit the shelves in the next 6-12 months. Look for ones with broad spectrum sun protection, and keep in mind that you still may need to add a moisturizer into the mix, according to Wilson, to allow for the possibility that these pigment-heavy formulations may not be the best skin softeners around.

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