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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
Hydrates and perfects skin
Layers well with other products
Comes in just one shade
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
Covers dark circles, redness, and blemishes
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
Won't irritate acne-prone skin
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
Wider shade range than other options
Helps prevent and treat breakouts
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 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.
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.
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.
Is it OK to use CC cream everyday?
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.
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