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While you’ve probably heard of tinted moisturizers, and even BB creams, you might be wondering what exactly a CC cream is. Let us explain: While BB stands for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm and offers lighter coverage, CC stands for Color Correcting and generally comes in richer formulas that pack additional skincare ingredients as well as sun protection. You could think of it as your morning skincare routine rolled into one product. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?
CC creams are ideal for anyone who loves a multitasker (who doesn’t?) or who wants to get out the door a little faster (again, who doesn’t?). Not only does it help you look pulled together in a flash, but it may even get your skin looking better over time.
Here are our top picks of the best CC creams.
Best Overall: Erborian CC Cream
Get your glow back with this lightweight cream. The hydrating formula starts out white then transforms to match your skin tone once it’s blended in. You’ll also find centella asiatica on the ingredient list, which is used to help boost skin’s elasticity, increase circulation and help heal any scars or wounds faster. While you can use it as a primer, many reviewers found that they liked the finish of it all on its own.
What Our Testers Say
"This CC cream was so lightweight, I forgot I was wearing makeup several times throughout the day." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best Overall, Runner-Up: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
Byrdie Senior Email Editor Karli Bendlin raves about this pick, but she’s not the only one. It’s one of the brand’s best-sellers, a true cult classic with legions of devoted fans. Credit the natural, full-coverage finish, a litany of extra good-for-your-skin ingredients, and an impressive dose of SPF 50 to boot.
Best Budget: Physicians Formula Super CC+ Cream SPF 30
A foundation, primer, and moisturizer in one for this price is hard to come by. Not only that but the formula also includes tiny color-correcting pigments (yellow helps to warm, green cancels out redness and pink brightens and illuminates) that work undercover to perfect your complexion. It’s also paraben-free and doesn’t use any added fragrances—making it an ideal buy for people with more sensitive skin. While it’s only available in two shades, reviewers noted that it’s very blendable and works on most skin tones.
Best Drugstore: Olay Total Effects 7 In One CC Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF 15
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body, including the skin, but we cannot produce it on our own. For the skin, it helps to boost collagen, lighten discoloration, and fight free radicals.
Everything you love about an Olay moisturizer, with a hint of tint to cover imperfections and smooth out skin—it’s a win-win. This formula is a true blend of skincare and foundation (as you can see from the clear bottle), made with vitamin C and E to hydrate skin while also claiming to provide all-day shine protection. Choose between two shades: light to medium or medium to deep for a fresh-faced finish. Your skin will also thank you for the broad-spectrum SPF 15 protection.
Best for Dry Skin: Pacifica Ultra CC Cream Radiant Foundation SPF 17
Give skin a drink with this coconut water-infused formula. You’ll also find kelp and ginseng on the ingredient list, which helps to soften and hydrate skin with vitamins and minerals and boost collagen, respectively. While there are only two shades, the color-correcting reflective minerals help the formula blend in for seamless coverage and a glowing finish. Plus, it’s vegan and certified cruelty-free. Another perk: You’ll also be protected from the sun thanks to SPF 17.
Best for Oily Skin: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte SPF 40
Activated charcoal is created from carbon-rich materials burned at high temperatures, like coal, coconut shells, and wood. In skincare, there are claims that it binds to and removes impurities from the skin, but more research is needed.
When you’re dealing with oily skin, words like dewy and glowing are probably not what you want to see when looking for a CC cream but ‘oil-free’ and ‘matte’—that’s more like it. This is why your shiny skin will be thrilled with this find. Not only does it use charcoal and colloidal clay to help absorb excess oil (for up to 12 hours, we might add), it also has tea tree extract to aid in keeping blemishes at bay. On top of that, it also provides sun protection.
Best Full Coverage: Thrive Causemetics Buildable Blur CC Cream SPF 35
Dark spots? Acne scars? Uneven skin tone? This cream has you covered—literally. The formula uses a blurring technology to smooth out skin imperfections and leave your skin looking like an Instagram filter IRL. While you wear it, it’s also working to help improve your skin with ingredients like vitamin C to help brighten and even tone, flaxseed extract to help control shine, and broad-spectrum SPF to not only protect from sun damage but also blue light damage from computers and phones. We also love that you can choose from 18 shades for the most seamless match to your complexion.
Best Korean Beauty: CLE Cosmetics CCC Cream SPF 45
A combination of a BB and a CC cream, this Korean creation combines skincare, primer, foundation, and sun protection into one tube. Available in 10 shades, the formula starts white then blends into your best hue as you smooth it on. Tiny microcapsules hold onto the skincare essence, pigment, and sun protection and don’t release until it’s applied onto the skin so they don’t lose their quality or effectiveness. The dewy finish will leave your skin glowing—in a good way.
Best Organic: Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream SPF 30
If you’re looking for a cleaner ingredient list, give this CC cream a try. Known for its organic formulas, this cream uses a base of botanical juices rather than water, so your skin gets added benefits. You’ll also love that it’s made with a whopping 20% of non-nano zinc oxide so you’re fully protected from the sun’s rays. The ingredient list is also packed with other plant-based ingredients like aloe, coconut oil, apple juice, lemon leaf extract, and more to nourish skin from the outside, in. The lighter coverage is ideal for those days when you have a lot to do and want to make sure your skin is protected on-the-go.
Best Cushion: Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact SPF 50+
When you’re trying to get ready in a hurry, multi-tasking products are key, which is why this CC cream is ideal for those on the go: Coverage, sun protection, and skincare benefits all in a convenient compact. Don’t be fooled—this is still a liquid formula so you’ll get that fresh, dewy finish; it’s just housed in a cushion compact. The weightless texture glides over the skin for an almost airbrushed finish. Your skin will also reap the benefits of the bamboo sap formula that works to deeply moisturize without feeling heavy.
Best Shade Range: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30
The shade options for CC creams tend to fall short, but not this one. This formula boasts 20(!) shade options ranging from opal (a very fair cool tone) all the way to mahogany (a very deep tone with a hint of peach). Your skin will also get a hefty dose of hydration—without feeling weighed down—thanks to the plant-derived squalene. But not to worry, acne sufferers, the moisturizing formula is oil-free. The coverage is sheer but buildable so you can apply it all over then follow up with a little extra on trouble spots like under your eyes or around your nose.
Best Sport: Lancôme UV Expert Mineral CC Cream
Headed for the beach or a hike and going to be outside for hours? Swipe on this CC cream beforehand to keep your skin protected and perfected. It comes in five blendable shades and won’t transfer once it’s applied. The medium coverage formula will not only keep skin protected from the sun—thanks to SPF 50—it also protects from environmental damage like pollution and free radicals. Getting sweaty? Not to worry, it will still have you covered then too.
Best Powder: IT Cosmetics CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder
If you're looking to experiment beyond the standard CC cream, this powder version is a must-try. This pressed powder is talc-free and buildable, so you'll get your desired coverage and color correction. The powder won't collect in your wrinkles and looks natural no matter how many times you re-apply. IT Cosmetics is a leader in effective color-correcting formulas and this no different.
Best with Sunscreen: Supergoop! CC Screen 100% Mineral CC Cream SPF 50
Sodium hyaluronate is a water-soluble salt that's derived from hyaluronic acid, which can be found naturally in the body. Like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate binds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, but this form can penetrate deeper into the skin due to its lower molecular weight and is more stable.
You would never know that this is a mineral sunscreen. Thanks to its natural tint (now available in 15 shades), this formula blends right in without any trace of white residue that’s usually left behind with mineral sunscreens. Not only does it combine foundation and SPF in one, but it also has skincare benefits: Apple extract helps skin look smoother and brighter, Irish moss and red seaweed extract deliver a dose of vitamins and minerals along with free radical protection, and sodium hyaluronate keeps skin hydrated.
Best with Vitamin C: Honest Beauty Clean Corrective with Vitamin C, SPF 30
This hydrating CC cream is a serious multitasker, handling a myriad of skin concerns. Chemical-free SPF protects skin from UV rays and blue light while antioxidant-rich vitamin C brightens skin tone. It also blends beautifully to fill in fine lines and cover imperfections for up to 12 hours.
Love a multi-tasking product? Get thee a CC cream, stat. We’re torn between the Erborian CC Cream Radiance Color Corrector SPF 25 and the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ when it comes to our all-around fave. At the drugstore, the Olay Total Effects 7 In One CC Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF 15 can’t be beaten, a true makeup-skincare hybrid. And, spoiler alert, a CC cream doesn’t have to be, well, a cream. The IT Cosmetics CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder is an awesome powder variant that offers buildable coverage and always looks natural, never flat or chalky.
What to Look For in a CC Cream
A Creamy Texture
Professional makeup artist and Vault Beauty member Nydia Figueroa says that, since CCs are intended to offer more coverage than other similar products, it’s best to choose one that has a slightly richer, creamier consistency.
A CC with SPF is not an absolute must (so long as you’re getting your sunscreen elsewhere), but it’s always an added benefit when you can combine the essential sun protection step of your skincare routine is with your makeup routine.
While you do have a bit more wiggle room with a CC cream than a foundation when it comes to finding the right match, more and more formulas now come in a wider range of shades to make it easier to find the right hue for you.
What does CC cream do?
In short, CC creams do a lot. “A CC cream is a multi-tasking product that color corrects, covers, and can offer skincare and sun protection benefits all in one step,” explains Figueroa.
How do you apply CC cream?
Figueroa suggests applying a pea-size amount onto the center of your face and blending outward towards the perimeter. You can use your fingers, then add a bit more product and build-up the coverage on any problem areas by applying that second bit with a brush or makeup sponge, she says.
What’s the difference between BB and CC cream?
A CC cream provides more coverage and also color corrects, a better option for helping to cover any areas that need camouflaging explains Figueroa. BB creams, on the other hand, provide much sheer coverage and an overall more radiant look to the skin, she says.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any CC creams from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to recommend. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.