The 10 Best Drugstore CC Creams of 2023

Our best overall pick is Olay Total Effects Tone CC Cream

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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. 

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. Case in point: These A+ CC creams you can snag at the drugstore, offering everything from color correction to sun protection without breaking the bank. Not all drugstore versions are made equal, so we spoke to makeup artists and dermatologists to find formulas combine the best coverage and ingredients. These finalists hydrate and brighten your skin while feeling lightweight, providing enough coverage, and achieving the finish you want. We also ensured to find formulas with extensive shade ranges and different levels of coverage and types of finishes.

Best Overall

Olay Total Effects Tone CC Cream

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


What We Like
  • Hydrates and perfects skin

  • Layers well with other products

  • SPF 15

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Price at time of publish: $26

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

Best Coverage

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

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


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.

Price at time of publish: $16

Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 2 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1.2 fl. oz | 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.

Price at time of publish: $18

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

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

Neutrogena Skin-Clearing Complexion Perfector

Neutrogena Skin-Clearing Complexion Perfector


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.

Price at time of publish: $9

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

Best for Sensitive Skin

Honest Beauty CCC Clean Corrective with Vitamin C Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

Honest Beauty CCC Clean Corrective with Vitamin C Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30


What We Like
  • Mineral SPF protection

  • Lightweight texture

  • Noticeably smooths skin

What We Don't Like
  • Limited shade range

This lightweight formula is a true multi-tasker that lives up to all its promises. For starters, the tinted formula offers blendable and buildable coverage that noticeably evens out complexion in seconds. And it does so with an impressively clean ingredient list that makes it ideal for sensitive skin types. “It offers a slew of broader benefits than go beyond a typical CC,” says makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci. ”Its mineral sunscreen protects against blue light; it's paraben-phthalate-talc-free; and it ticks practical boxes like smoothing skin texture, color-correcting, and minimizing imperfections.” The texture is refreshingly light, without feeling watery, and works into skin leaving a glowy, natural-looking finish. It only comes in nine shades, so we take off a point for that.

Price at time of publish: $24

Coverage: Light to medium | Shade Range: 9 | Finish: Glowy | Size: 1.7 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Dry Skin

IT Cosmetics CC+ Nude Glow Lightweight Foundation + Glow Serum

IT Cosmetics CC+ Nude Glow Lightweight Foundation + Glow Serum


What We Like
  • Hydrating formula with effective ingredients

  • Substantial SPF 40 sun protection 

  • Lightweight, serum texture

What We Don’t Like
  • More expensive 

The silky, serum-like formula absorbs well into the skin and offers impressive hydrating benefits that make for an exceptionally comfortable wear. “It gives enough coverage to be a great color corrector but also packs substantial SPF protection,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Papri Sarkar. Though it’s a bit expensive for a drugstore product, it does pack powerful skincare ingredients that you would find in higher end brands. “The glycerin, dimethicone, niacinamide, snail secretion, and camelia leaf extract help to moisturize, have antioxidant properties, and slowly even pigmentation,” says Dr. Sarkar. “It gives your skin a glow, so it's especially great for my dry skin but also doesn't tend to break out acne prone skin.”

Price at time of publish: $44

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 22 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 1.08 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Shade Range

e.l.f. Cosmetics Camo CC Cream

e.l.f. Cosmetics Camo CC Cream


What We Like
  • Extensive shade range that you can try on virtually

  • Substantial SPF 30 sun protection

  • Improves skin texture with key ingredients

What We Don’t Like
  • It’s heavier than other formulas

This beloved skin-perfecting product offers full coverage, while still maintaining a natural finish that looks like your-skin-but-better. The creamy formula is boosted with hydrating and plumping skincare ingredients like peptides, niacinamide, collagen, and hyaluronic acid, which help to combat dark spots and dehydration, instead of just covering them up. The extensive 30-shade range ensures a close-match for just about every skin tone, and the brand website hosts a convenient virtual try-on tool that allows you to digitally browse and test out the shades in real-time to find your best match. The formula is creamier than others on this list, but not cakey or suffocating. It provides a smooth, even base, and more substantial coverage that leaves skin looking clear and radiant.  

Price at time of publish: $14 

Coverage: Medium to Full | Shade Range: 30 | Finish: Cream | Size: 1.1 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Oily Skin

Neutrogena Clear Coverage Flawless Matte CC Cream

Neutrogena Clear Coverage Flawless Matte CC Cream


What We Like
  • Oil-free formula

  • Extensive shade options 

  • Matte, natural-looking finish 

What We Don't Like
  • It’s not the cleanest formula

  • Not the best fit if you don’t like a matte finish 

A little dab is all you need to see the impressive full coverage benefits of this color-correcting cream. It blends beautifully over skin, delivering even, comfortable coverage that smooths skin texture and neutralizes any redness or unevenness. It also layers beautifully if you want to build up a second layer for more substantial foundation-like coverage that doesn’t feel heavy. “Not only is Neutrogena's Clear Coverage CC affordable at around $15, it offers full coverage and vitamin B3 which evens skin tone over time,” says Ciucci. “Unlike other mattifying formulas that tend to leave skin looking tight and dry, this tube delivers a breathable matte finish—great for combatting midday greasy T-zones—while still looking natural, all day long. “It's great for oily skin because it doesn't oxidize and stays matte but never looks cakey,” says Ciucci. It’s not Byrdie Clean, so you may want to go with a different formula if avoiding certain ingredients are important to you.

Price at time of publish: $14 

Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 34 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Multitasker

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++


What We Like
  • Substantial SPF 42 sun protection 

  • Hydrating formula 

  • Lightweight, comfortable texture

What We Don't Like
  • May be too heavy for those prone to acne and clogged pores

  • Limited shade range

While technically this tube is dubbed a BB cream, its impressive color-correcting benefits make it worthy of a spot in this overachieving CC cream lineup. “It’s moisturizing, has serious staying power, and boasts an SPF 42,” says Sarkar. “With ingredients like glycerin, dimethicone, mineral oil, ceramides, and nut oils, it helps to retain moisture in the skin, too. Additionally, arbutin and iron oxide slowly even pigmentation and protect against blue light.” .Though  those prone to acne may want to use this formula with caution due to the mineral oil, the full coverage cream disguises most blemishes and pigmentary problems. Plus, it  leaves skin smooth and even, without feeling coated in a layer of foundation. We do wish it came in more shades.

Price at time of publish: $24 

Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 7 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 1.7 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No 

Best Glow

L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer


What We Like
  • Light and breathable texture

  • Luminous finish 

  • Can mix with foundation 

What We Don't Like
  • Only available in 4 shades 

  • The coverage may be too light for some

While the coverage of this glow-inducing lotion may be lighter than the other products on this list, the dewy, radiant finish is in a league of its own. The blend of glycerin, shea butter, and dimethicone help the skin retain moisture, so it gives skin an all-over natural radiance that looks like you’re lit from within. It does have a slight tint that helps to even out minor redness and unevenness. If you want more blemish-hiding properties, you can mix it with your favorite tinted sunscreen or foundation,  adds Sarkar. While the four shades – fair, light, medium, and deep – may seem rather limiting, they do compliment a wide range of skin tones and serve multiple uses. You can use it as a moisturizer, highlight, and/or primer. 

Price at time of publish: $12 

Coverage: Light | Shade Range: 4 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 1.35 fl. oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is Olay Total Effects Tone CC Cream, which is replete with vitamin C and niacinamide to help moisturize skin and provide youth-boosting benefits. We also love the Neutrogena Clear Coverage CC Cream, which is a hydrating formula that provides full coverage.

Meet the Expert

  • Ashleigh Ciucci is a makeup artist who has worked in New York City since 2005.
  • Dr. Papri Sarkar is a board certified dermatologist. She has also written many scientific papers and textbook chapters on various aspects of skin health.

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. If you want a lit-from-within-look, we recommend L’Oreal True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer. If you want to stay matte,  Neutrogena Clear Coverage CC Cream is the ideal match. 

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. We choose Olay Total Effects Tone CC Cream as our best overall because it packs both  niacinamide and vitamin C. 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 full coverage, like e.l.f. Camo CC Cream, though most range from a blurring tint to light coverage.

  • 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.

Why Trust Byrdie

Lindsay Colameo is a beauty editor and writer. Known among friends and family as the "beauty guru," her love of the beauty industry and desire to help consumers navigate the infinite options through vetted, editorial content continues to inspire her work today. For this article she interviewed makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci and board certified dermatologist Dr. Papri Sarkar.

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.
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  2. 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

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

  4. 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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