Which CC cream is best?

While makeup can cover most blemishes and spots, it typically doesn’t offer any real benefits for your skin. Enter CC cream — a skin-loving alternative to traditional foundation.

CC — which stands for “color correcting” — cream is a multitasking product. While it provides coverage to even out your skin tone and conceals imperfections, it contains nourishing ingredients. If you’re looking for a high-quality CC cream with plenty of anti-aging ingredients and effective SPF, the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream is the top option.

What to know before you buy a CC cream

Skin concerns

CC cream formulas can address various skin issues or problems, so choosing a cream that targets your specific skin concerns is essential.

As their name implies, many CC creams offer color-correcting properties, so they can help fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation. If you have issues with redness or blotchiness, opt for a CC cream with a green tint, which can cancel out the red tones because red and green are opposite one another on the color wheel.

If you want to address fine lines, wrinkles or sagging skin, look for a CC cream with ingredients like vitamin C and other antioxidants, retinol, peptides and collagen. These formulas provide long-term benefits for the skin but can also instantly fill in fine lines, pores and other textures to improve the look of your skin right away.

If you have blemishes, looking for a CC cream with a noncomedogenic formula is essential. That prevents the cream from clogging your pores and causing further breakouts. You can also find some CC creams with salicylic acid to help treat existing breakouts.

Skin tone

A CC cream should match your skin tone as closely as possible for the most natural, flattering look. Like BB creams, CC creams originated in Asia, where the shade range was mainly limited to light skin tones. However, these days, most brands offer wider shade ranges that work for a greater number of skin tones.

Some CC cream formulas are available in more shades than others, though. You’ll have an easier time matching your skin tone if a brand offers a more extensive shade range. In addition, some CC creams are available in travel- or sample-size tubes, so you can test out a few shade options to find the best match without spending too much money.

Remember that a CC cream doesn’t usually provide as much coverage as a traditional foundation, so CC cream shades are generally more forgiving. As a result, you may find multiple shades that can work for your skin tone.

CC cream formulas and finishes

Most CC creams feature hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and are formulated for dry or mature skin. They have a dewy or radiant finish on the skin that helps a dull complexion look healthier and brighter.

You can still use CC cream if you have oily or acne-prone skin, though. Many formulas are oil-free and noncomedogenic so that they won’t cause breakouts or blemishes. You can also find some CC creams with a matte finish, which leave the skin shine-free, so it doesn’t look greasy.

What to look for in a quality CC cream

Coverage

CC cream generally doesn’t provide as much coverage as a traditional foundation does. However, coverage varies from formula to formula.

Some CC creams are relatively sheer, so they can even out your skin tone but won’t cover blemishes and dark spots effectively. Other formulas provide light to medium coverage that can conceal some spots. If you want the most coverage possible, look for a buildable CC cream that allows you to layer it to get the exact coverage you want.

SPF

Most CC creams feature SPF, so they can protect your skin from UV rays when you’re outdoors. For adequate protection, choose a formula with at least SPF 30. Check that it offers broad-spectrum protection, too, so you know that it guards against UVA and UVB rays.

You’ll need to reapply a CC cream with SPF to provide protection all day, though. If you plan to spend long periods in the sun, it’s best to use a separate sunscreen in addition to your CC cream or other makeup.

Fragrance-free

While a pleasant fragrance can make a CC cream or other makeup product more appealing to apply, synthetic fragrances can irritate sensitive skin. If you have redness, dryness, itchiness or other allergic reactions, opt for a fragrance-free or unscented formula to avoid any problems.

Cruelty-free

If you prefer to use makeup and skin care products from brands that don’t test their products on animals, look for a cruelty-free CC cream. That means the cream and its ingredients haven’t undergone animal testing.

Cruelty-free makeup and skin care products often feature a bunny logo on their packaging to indicate that they don’t use animal testing.

How much you can expect to spend on a CC cream

CC creams usually cost between $7-$100, depending on the brand and where you buy them.

CC cream FAQ

Does CC cream replace my foundation?

A. A CC cream can definitely be used as a foundation alternative. It usually has a lighter feel on the skin and doesn’t provide as much coverage, so it’s an ideal option if you prefer a more natural makeup look. However, some people like to use sheer or light coverage CC creams as a makeup primer under a traditional foundation for additional coverage and skin care benefits.

How should I apply a CC cream? 

A. You can apply a CC cream just as you would a foundation. That means you can use clean fingers, a makeup sponge or a brush to blend it into the skin. You’ll usually get better coverage if you use a sponge or brush.

What’s the best CC cream to buy?

Top CC cream

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+

What you need to know: An outstanding option for dry and mature skin, this CC cream can hydrate and repair the skin while providing natural coverage at the same time.

What you’ll love: It can color-correct blemishes and dark spots and soften the appearance of fine lines. It contains collagen and hyaluronic acid to help hydrate and plump the skin. It provides a radiant glow for the skin. It’s also available in a matte, oil-free formula for acne-prone skin.

What you should consider: Some buyers find that the shades are too light, so you may need to go up a shade.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Sephora and Ulta Beauty

Top CC cream for the money

Best ELF Cosmetics Camo CC Cream

ELF Cosmetics Camo CC Cream

What you need to know: This CC cream addresses a range of skin care issues and boasts an affordable price tag, making it a solid option for many people.

What you’ll love: It comes in a choice of more than 20 shades to suit most skin tones. The formula is vegan and isn’t tested on animals. It offers medium-to-full coverage and it provides SPF 30, too.

What you should consider: Some users find it a little cakey, but it may depend on skin type, as this seems to be an occasional issue.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Worth checking out

Best Hey Honey Trick and Treat CC Active Propolis Color Correcting Cream

Hey Honey Trick and Treat CC² Active Propolis Color Correcting Cream

What you need to know: You’ll get all-day light-to-medium coverage from this CC cream.

What you’ll love: The Triple Pigment Technology adjusts to your skin tone to correct colors for an even finish. It offers broad-spectrum SPF 45 sun protection. It’s noncomedogenic, so it doesn’t exacerbate or cause breakouts.

What you should consider: The choice of shades is limited

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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