If they aren't already, CC creams (AKA colour correcting creams) are definitely worth adding to your makeup arsenal. Especially now, with summer well underway, and when most of us are tempted to part with our full coverage foundations and opt for more lightweight formulations instead.
As the name name implies, CC creams are formulated to cancel out any redness, dark circles and other forms of discolouration so as to even out your skin tone. The pigments in the formula aim to neutralise a specific colour that is the opposite from the tint featured in the product. In a nutshell: green cancels out redness, orange counteracts blueness and lavender helps erase yellow tones. Pretty neat, right?
Best CC creams at a glance – our top picks
- Best CC cream overall: Erborian CC Crème, £40, Sephora
- Best CC cream for full coverage: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream, £26.40, LookFantastic
- Best hydrating CC cream: Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream, £31.91, Sephora
- Best affordable CC cream: L'Oréal Paris C'est Magic CC Cream, £10.99, LookFantastic
And as someone who has quite a bit of redness on my face, I can't even begin to explain just how game-changing CC creams are for me. Don't get me wrong: there's truly nothing wrong with embracing your natural skin – and you shouldn't feel like you need to colour correct your unique features to create a “perfect”-looking base. However, as a makeup enthusiast, I also understand that having an even canvas can make the biggest difference to the end result. While I don't really mind a bit of natural flush peeking through, there's nothing more frustrating than doing my makeup right after working out, which usually leaves my whole face tomato-level red. So trust me when I tell you that no amount of foundation will do just as good a job as a high-quality CC cream.
The best part is that CC creams have come such a long way – and there are now tonnes of options to choose from. You can pick one based on your preferred coverage level, finish as well as your skin priorities. Lots of CC creams also double as a sunscreen, offering sun protection ratings of between SPF 15 and SPF 50 to protect your delicate skin from sun damage and other environmental aggressors. And they also tend to feature a variety of skin-loving ingredients for every skincare need. Depending on the product, this can usually include things like hyaluronic acid for additional hydration and vitamin C for a brightening effect, as well many others such as niacinamide and glycerin.
As you can probably guess, I normally tend to reach for formulas with a green tint to cancel out red undertones. My go-to is the L'Oréal Paris C'est Magic CC Cream Anti-Redness, but I've also recently discovered the TikTok-trending Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Colour Correcting Treatment which I honestly cannot recommend enough. I enjoyed how – besides the obvious instant colour correcting results – it has helped to reduce redness over time.
To help you choose a product that is best for you, we've put together a round-up of the very best CC creams available to match your budget, preference and skin type, regardless of whether you have normal skin, dry skin, oily skin or anything in between. Below, you’ll find that we’ve cherry-picked the best formulas on the market as well as all the bestsellers, so you can rest assured that you'll definitely find one that ticks all the boxes.
From tinted moisturisers to light-coverage foundations.
BB creams vs. CC creams - what are the differences?
We get it: it all can be a little confusing – from BB (beauty balm) creams to CC (colour corrector) creams and even DD (daily defence) creams, it's easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out what you need and what works for your skin.
What you do need to know, however, is that although BB creams and CC creams might appear very similar, they do have a few key differences. Essentially, the idea behind CC creams is that they contain pigments that help with colour correcting, which is especially useful if you have areas of hyperpigmentation, acne scarring or dark circles. In fact, these products are specifically designed to conceal – and sometimes treat – redness or sensitivity.
How do CC creams work and how should I apply one?
CC creams are also perfect for neutralising unwanted shades from our skin tone by introducing a little makeup artist wizardry. You might know that shades that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel cancel each other out. So as we've mentioned earlier in the article: green tackles red, orange takes care of the blue, and lavender cancels out the yellow.
This is why CC creams can also be ideal for acne-prone skin, since many of them are specifically designed to camouflage the redness in spots. It's why they'll help to brighten up unwanted dullness too, regardless of whether you’re using something that provides a sheer or matte finish.
Plus, if you're giving your skin a much-deserved break from foundations, CC creams can be an ideal alternative, offering just enough coverage without feeling heavy on the skin or clogging up your pores. All you need to do is blend it into your skin with the help of your favourite makeup sponge (or hands), starting with the centre of the face or any areas of discolouration to provide a more even base, before adding a little concealer to specific areas as needed.
Looking for more beauty products to upgrade your skincare routine? Check out our guides to the best moisturisers and face creams, eye creams, anti-ageing creams, night creams, hyaluronic acid serums and vitamin C serums.