The Best Drugstore CC Creams for an Even Skin Tone

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Byrdie / Lecia Landis

We know, we know, CC creams—aka color-correcting creams—aren’t the newest or trendiest beauty product on the block. But the makeup-skincare hybrids have successfully made the transition from buzzy new category to permanent staple, no easy feat in an industry where products often come and go in a hot second, the beauty equivalent of a one-hit-wonder.

And what we may love even more than the laundry list of benefits these mega multi-taskers deliver is the fact that you really don’t have to shell out the big bucks to find a great option that works just as well as the pricey picks out there. Case in point: These A+ CC creams you can snag at the drugstore, offering everything from color correction to sun protection in one fell swipe and without breaking the bank.

Keep scrolling for the best drugstore CC creams on the market.

Best Overall

Olay Total Effects Tone CC Cream

3.5
Olay Total Effects 7 In One CC Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF 15

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Hydrates and perfects skin

  • Layers well with other products

  • SPF 15

What We Don't Like
  • Comes in just one shade

Who else recommends it? StyleCraze, Good Housekeeping, and Women's Wear Daily all picked the Olay Total Effects Tone CC Cream.

What do buyers say? 86% of 5,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Olay’s offerings often pull in high accolades for rivaling the much more expensive products out there, and this CC cream is no exception. It packs a dose of always-essential SPF and plenty of hydration, all while delivering brightening ingredients such as vitamin C and niacinamide to even out your skin tone. With sheer coverage, it’s choice for those who like a more natural finish, though it does layer well under foundation if you want a little more color.

Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 1 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 1.7 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Coverage

Physicians Formula Super CC Color-Correction + Care Cream SPF 30

4.6
Physicians Formula Super CC Color-Correction + Care CC Cream SPF 30

Amazon

What We Like
  • Covers dark circles, redness, and blemishes

  • SPF 30

  • Blends easily

What We Don't Like
  • Shade-matching can be difficult

Okay, so yes, CC stands for color-correcting and to some extent, any CC cream is going to do just that. But this unique standout goes and above and beyond the call of duty. Invisible, color-correcting pigments are blended into the formula, mixed, and matched to do everything from neutralize dark circles to tamp down redness to brighten sallowness. Also nice: It’s hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested.

Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 2 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1.2 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Natural

Pacifica Ultra CC Cream Radiant Foundation SPF 17

Pacifica Beauty Ultra CC Cream Radiant Foundation
What We Like
  • Byrdie Clean

  • Won't irritate acne-prone skin

  • Long-wearing

  • SPF 17

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

You won’t find, phthalates, mineral oil, or petroleum in this vegan (and cruelty-free) pick. What you will find is plenty of natural ingredients, think hydrating coconut water and mineral pigments that adjust to your skin tone. It’s a top choice for those who are fans of full-on foundations, too; it offers much more coverage than most other CC creams.

Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 2 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

Neutrogena Skin-Clearing Complexion Perfector

Neutrogena Skin-Clearing Complexion Perfector

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Wider shade range than other options

  • Helps prevent and treat breakouts

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • No SPF

When zits strike, reach for this guy. Truly straddling the makeup-skincare line, it contains a blemish-busting formula with salicylic acid that helps treat breakouts, while simultaneously covering them and smoothing out uneven texture. It comes in a nice selection of five shades, all with a matte finish that’s also great for oily or acne-prone skin.

Coverage: Sheer | Shade Range: 5 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

What to Look For in a CC Cream

Light-Diffusing Particles

Light-diffusing particles are the ingredients in CC creams that give your skin that smooth and glowing look. Different products contain different types, with some offering more glow or shimmer than others, so you'll want to choose one for the level of radiance you enjoy best.

Anti-Aging Ingredients

Niacinamide and vitamin C are prime examples of skincare ingredients that give your skin a glow-up in the short term while also offering excellent long-term anti-aging benefits. Because CC creams blur the line between makeup and skincare, finding one that contains these ingredients is pretty easy.

Coverage

While you'd be hard-pressed to find a CC cream that offers full coverage—it's best to go with foundation if that's what you seek—some do provide more coverage than others. It's possible to find CC creams that offer up to medium coverage, though most range from a blurring tint to light coverage.

FAQ
  • Is it OK to use CC cream everyday?

    CC creams can do so much, from illuminating your skin to helping to protect it from the sun's rays. It's fine to wear it every day; just make sure you're properly removing it all before you go to bed.

  • Can I use CC cream instead of foundation?

    You definitely can use CC cream in lieu of foundation. However, if you prefer more coverage, you can use CC cream as a primer for your foundation and reap both the skincare and color-correcting benefits.

  • Why does my CC cream look cakey?

    If your CC cream looks cakey rather than giving your skin a light tint or blur, chances are you're using too much of it. Opt for a lighter application instead.

  • Does CC cream clog pores?

    Fortunately, CC creams are not usually a culprit for clogging pores. It goes on more lightly, and there is less of it to get trapped in your pores. If that's a concern, CC cream is a safer bet than a full coverage foundation.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. 15 best drugstore cc creams of 2022 for all skin types. StyleCraze. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/best-drugstore-cc-cream

  2. 8 best drugstore cc creams that will actually improve your skin. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty-products/g19502656/best-drugstore-cc-creams

  3. The 13 best cc creams designed to work wonders on skin. Women's Wear Daily. https://wwd.com/shop/shop-beauty/best-cc-creams-1235127737

  4. Wohlrab J, Kreft D. Niacinamide - mechanisms of action and its topical use in dermatologySkin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(6):311-315. doi:10.1159/000359974

  5. Lu J, Cong T, Wen X, et al. Salicylic acid treats acne vulgaris by suppressing AMPK/SREBP1 pathway in sebocytesExp Dermatol. 2019;28(7):786-794. doi:10.1111/exd.13934

  6. Levin J, Momin SB. How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical IngredientsJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):22-41.

  7. Lintner K, Gerstein F, Solish N. A serum containing vitamins C & E and a matrix-repair tripeptide reduces facial signs of aging as evidenced by Primos® analysis and frequently repeated auto-perceptionJ Cosmet Dermatol. 2020;19(12):3262-3269.

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