As beauty editors, we get bombarded with a ton of new products every day (we know—tough life). Reviewed is a series where we report on some of the best products we’ve tried. Whether it’s a drugstore lipstick that lasted all day or a hand cream that saved us this winter, you’ll find all of our favorites in this column. Enjoy!
I have found the perfect foil to BSD’s (that’s Bad Skin Days, FYI). You know—those mornings when you wake up and your complexion looks dull, sallow, blemished and blotchy. None of us are immune, so it's lucky that I’ve found the cover-up that fakes great skin. Of course, we’d all love good skin every day but that’s not realistic and so a little makeup trickery is A-OK. In fact, the solution I’ve found is so good I actually end up getting skin compliments when I wear it. People ask me things like, “Have you had a facial?” and “Wow, your skin looks so glowy! What have you done?” Intrigued? Here's my secret.
The product in question is It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Illumination ($39). I was already a huge fan of the original CC+ Cream, which was able to even out my skin tone (without looking like I was wearing a makeup mask) when this launched last year. The Illumination version is packed with light-reflective pigments that, if I’m being honest, look like a disco happened on the back of your hand if you swatch it. But on the face, those pigments meld into the skin and no longer look shimmery—they just look incredibly glowy, which is what makes your skin look like it’s been masked and massaged within an inch of its life by an aesthetician.
There is a third iteration in the CC+ lineup: an oil-free version for anyone who has to deal with blemishes, which surprisingly still gives a good glow to the skin. And, if I’m being honest, my skin sits very comfortably in that zit-prone category, but I can wear every one of the CC+ formulations without breaking out.
All three formulas are infused with skincare ingredients like hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, niacin, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and vitamins that nourish and hydrate the skin throughout the day. The original and illumination boast hefty SPF 50 protection, while the oil-free has SPF 40. The oil-free option also has the addition of charcoal and clay to draw out impurities and mop up shine, while tea tree oil tackles those zits.
Recently, the shade line-up was extended to 12 across the board, which means the brand is listening to its customers. While it’s not a huge number of shades (Fenty Beauty can rest easy), it does span from fair to deep. Before the Fair Light shade launched recently, I was using Light and, while it was very slightly darker than I would usually wear, it still worked, which means there is some wiggle room with each of the shades.
You can apply with your fingers or a sponge, but I find that using a flat-top foundation brush (like the Heavenly Luxe Bye Bye Foundation Brush #22, $48) or a small, soft synthetic brush (like Real Techniques Setting Brush $8, which I use for a more targeted application and general blending) makes for the most natural, yet almost-airbrushed finish.
Shop all the other It Cosmetics CC formulations and my go-to brushes below.