I have a confession to make: Despite being a beauty editor with an embarrassingly large amount of products stashed in my house, I actually use a surprisingly small amount of them on a daily basis. Sure, I test and try a lot of things to see what’s good, but when it comes to my skincare, haircare and makeup routines I like to keep things as pared-back and simple as possible. Why? Well, for one thing, I no longer have the same amount of time for lengthy beauty rituals that I used to have. But, mainly I’ve realised that what’s the point of overcomplicating things with 10-step routines if you can use one multitasking product that will do the job just as well? And that’s where CC creams come in.
On days that wearing a full-coverage foundation feels too overdone, but I'm not feeling skin-confident enough to skip makeup entirely I reach for a CC cream. Short for colour correcting, CC creams are formulated to reduce any colour in your complexion that’s giving it an uneven appearance. For me, that tends to be redness caused by breakouts, purple tones under my eyes from tiredness and sometimes sallow undertones. For others, it might be rosacea, inflammation, or pigmentation in the skin. Packed with clever colour-correcting pigments, CC creams effectively counterbalance the unwanted tones in our skin to get everything looking more even, smooth and healthy. And while they aren’t as full coverage as a classic foundation, they definitely provide more coverage than something like a skin tint or a BB cream. Plus, the glow that they impart on tired-looking complexions is something else.
I'm not alone in my love of CC creams either. Beauty editors and makeup artists are obsessed with them too.
"While I don't use a huge amount of CC creams, I do like brands like Erborian specifically for combatting redness on my clients," says makeup artist Lisa Caldognetto. "Whether it's rosacea or eczema, there can be a bit of skin texture going on alongside redness and a lot of CC creams have quite nourishing formulas to combat this alongside colour correcting."
And if you're concerned that a CC cream won't offer enough coverage for you, Caldognetto has a great tip for application. "The best way of applying a CC cream for extra coverage is to use a dense brush and pat the product on with it," Caldognetto advises. "Avoid circular or blending motions as that will sheer out the product and lessen the coverage—you want to press the product onto the areas that you want it."
Feeling tempted? Keep scrolling for 10 best CC creams on the market right now.
1. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream With SPF50+
When I asked on Instagram which CC cream makeup artists, industry experts and my fellow beauty editors rated most, it was this cult product from It Cosmetics that came out on top—by a long way. And once you've tried it, it's easy to see why. It has a creamy, hydrating texture that glides onto skin to diffuse the appearance of pores, even skin tone and create a plump, juicy texture, and it's packed with hyaluronic acid and other skin-friendly ingredients to moisturise and refresh your complexion. Plus, it's available in 14 versatile shades which is a pretty impressive offering when it comes to CC creams.
2. Erborian CC Crème SPF25
This is probably my favourite CC cream of all time and I've been through countless bottles of the stuff. The coverage is definitely on the sheer side—and despite the limited shade range I would therefore say that the shades available are quite stretchable—but it has a unique ability to make skin look incredibly healthy without disguising any of your natural texture. It contains vitamin E to protect skin and tiger grass to combat redness and inflammation, and I always get compliments on how glowy my skin looks when I wear this.
3. By Terry Cellularose Moisturising CC Cream
This contains all of the antioxidant skincare benefits of a hard-working moisturiser with the skin-evening benefits of a good makeup base product. Deeply moisturising, I think that this would make a perfect choice for dry or mature complexions who are looking for a dose of hydration with their CC cream. It instantly boosts radiance and blurs over fine lines and uneven texture to leave skin looking softly luminous.
4. L'Oréal Paris C'est Magic CC Cream Anti-Redness
If your skin is prone to redness then I can't recommend this high-street CC cream enough. The formula itself is tinted green, which naturally neutralises red tones in your complexion to leave skin looking more calm and even in tone. And, worry not, it won't leave you looking like the hulk—once you've rubbed it in it is totally undetectable as it adapts to your skin tone.
5. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Nude Glow With SPF40
The latest CC cream launch from It Cosmetics comes in the form of this brightening formulation of their cult classic, and replaces the late illuminating version of the product. It's not as full-coverage as the original, but if glowy skin is up your street then the name says it all here. Part-skincare, part-makeup, it boasts an extremely luminous finish that does away with any need for highlighter. I love it on days that my skin looks really dull, but if you're oily like me then you might not love the sheen that if leaves by the end of the day.
6. Chanel CC Cream Super Active Complete Correction SPF 50
The chicest CC cream in existence, Chanel's offering imparts instantly luminosity to skin while delivering ingredients that will actually help your complexion to look glowier in the long-term. Packed with super fruit extracts, it aims to protect skin with SPF 50+, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve radiance over time.
7. By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum
This is a serum rather than a cream, but I'm including it in my round-up of the best CC creams anyway because it is incredible. Yes, it's pricey but it's more than worth it in my opinion as you only need to apply the smallest amount to see the biggest skin transformation. After having both of my children, this CC serum was genuinely the only thing that I wore for months. It takes seconds to apply, but leaves skin looking so bright, fresh and glowy that nobody will believe you've only had three hours of broken sleep. Plus, I love that it gently exfoliates skin as well as concealing unevenness—so you're getting some long-term skin benefits as well as the instant results.
8. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream SPF 30
If you prefer your skin to look natural and don't like the way that classic foundations or base products can feel on your skin, then this CC cream from Clinique is brilliant. It feels exactly like applying a moisturiser, but has just the right amount of coverage to diminish the appearance of things like redness, sallowness and dark circles. Plus, it contains sunscreen so it really is a one-and-done product.
9. BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer SPF30
I always recommend this tinted moisturiser to friends and family who are seeking a bit of a does-it-all product. The reason it's made my list of the best CC creams? Well BareMinerals themselves describe this as a hybrid product that acts as moisturiser, SPF, and foundation—and it does this by providing all of the skin-correcting benefits of the best BB and CC creams. Whenever I apply this I'm genuinely amazed at how good my skin looks—even, fresh and dewy.
10. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40
The third and final offering from It Cosmetics's CC cream offering comes in the form of this oil-free version and it's seriously good. Infused with charcoal, tea tree extract and clays, it soaks up excess oil (perfect if you hate a super-shiny finish) yet still leaves skin looking bright and smooth. Plus, it's also available in 14 shades so it's really versatile.