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What is CC Cream?: Birchbox Investigates

Buh-bye BB—CC cream is the new skincare savior that offers even more benefits.

Last season, the must-have product on every beauty editor’s desk was BB cream—a high-octane tinted moisturizer with primer and antiaging serum as part of its formula. Now, we’ve gotten word that CC Cream (aka color or complexion correction cream), is the latest beauty wonderkid, with brands like Chanel and Olay releasing their own versions of the product. Like its predecessor, CC cream was popularized in Asia and is an all-in-one makeup and skincare formula packed with SPF, moisturizer, and anti-aging properties.

We sent two of our most intrepid reporters—err, my mom and a friend on vacation—to Hong Kong and Seoul to get the lowdown. But after visiting Chanel counters and beauty boutiques, both were told that CC creams are still an elusive find. That’s why we went straight to the source. We asked two skincare pros with insider access in Asia to tell us what makes CC cream so special.

Even More Coverage

Unlike semi-sheer BB cream formulations, “CC creams give more full, foundation- like coverage but feel like you’re wearing something very light,” says Wei Beauty founder Wei Brian, who is releasing her own CC cream this month. “You can cover discoloration, pimples, age spots or sallow skin but it feels like you’re not wearing makeup, even though you’re correcting unevenness of the complexion.” Since the creams are buildable, you can layer on as much or as little pigment as you want.

Antiaging Benefits with a Focus on Skin Brightening

While BB creams include anti-aging ingredients for prevention and maintenance, CC creams focus on repairing existing issues—whether that means tending to crow’s feet or evening out skin tone. “Instead of general anti-aging, it’s a more targeted treatment,” says Brian. CC Creams might include natural brighteners like licorice or vitamin C, or antioxidants to soften fine lines.

Picking a BB vs. CC Cream

“A tinted moisturizer or BB cream is great for everyday across all age groups,” says Karen Behnke, founder of Juice Beauty. But if you have acne, dark spots or dull skin, a CC cream may be more up your alley. Plus, “if you’re looking for more age-defying or anti-wrinkle properties I’d go with a CC cream,” says Behnke.

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