Our quest for flawless skin is endless. While face filters are fun, there’s one key item to keep in your beauty arsenal to really help achieve an IRL blemish-free complexion: a CC cream. “CC stands for color correction,” says California board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shani Francis. “The product aims to merge the functionality of a foundation, sunscreen, moisturizer and anti-aging serum.”
Basically, this multitasking product works to remove hyperpigmentation or dark spots on the skin caused by sun damage, melasma, inflammation and more. The best CC creams also mask current blemishes and protect the skin to prevent new spots from appearing, while controlling damaged skin patches. “UV radiation darkens dark spots,” says Francis.
As you might expect, CC creams are loaded with skin-beneficial ingredients, including moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and glycerin; antioxidants such as niacinamide and vitamin E; a chemical or mineral SPF to prevent sun damage; and iron oxide to add pigment and protect the skin from visible and infrared light. “Some CC creams are also formulated with a green tint to address unwanted red pigment that could result from acne, sun damage, or rosacea,” adds Francis.
When buying these hard working foundation products, keep in mind that although there are many foundations with SPF on the market, they are not true CC creams unless they include d other anti-aging or anti-discoloration ingredients in their formulations. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best CC creams for your skincare needs.
Best CC cream overall
The crowd pleaser that offers an option for everyone
Best CC Cream for Dry Skin
A burst of oil-free hydration
Best CC Cream for Oily Skin
A top pick that tackles large pores and comes in 34 shades
Best CC Cream for Mature Skin
A clean beauty option with a powerful formulation
Best Luxury CC Cream
Silky smooth texture and powerful botanicals
Best CC Cream for Sensitive Skin
A mineral formula that blends effortlessly
Best Drugstore CC Cream
An affordable cream that doesn’t skip ingredients
Best Under Eye CC Cream
The answer to dark circles
How to choose the best CC cream for you
There are many factors to consider when choosing a CC cream. Ultimately, you’ll want this multitasking product to brighten and even out your skin tone.
First determine your skin’s needs. Do you have dry, normal or oily skin or something in between? Then look for a CC cream that best suits your skin type. “In general, CC creams are more beneficial for normal to oily skin types because they don’t have as much moisture as a BB cream,” says Maryland-certified dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi.
The other big determining factor: color. “Since they are color correcting, the best CC cream for an individual is the one that best matches the skin tone,” says Tanzi. You’re more likely to find a more exact match with products that offer a full range of shades, like our Choice of Neutrogena featured in this story.
What does a CC cream do?
A CC or color correcting cream is a multi-tasking beauty product that works as a foundation, color corrector, sunscreen, and anti-aging serum. It is best used to even out skin tone or any hyperpigmentation on the face.
What is the difference between CC cream and BB cream?
BB cream, or beauty balm, is a close cousin of CC cream. The main difference is mainly related to the amount of coverage. Although BBs also contain skincare benefits, they are a bit lighter and provide more sheer coverage. They are also more hydrating.
How do you find the best CC cream for your complexion?
There are so many options for CC creams these days for different skin types, and narrowing down the options takes some trial and error. To find your perfect shade, it’s imperative to first determine your skin tone and undertones and check the product against your neck and décolletage, explains the makeup artist Jillian Dempsey. For example, “if you think you’re a little pinkish, pick one with a yellow undertone,” she says. “If you have a medium skin tone with warm undertones, you can also choose one with yellow undertones.”
How to apply CC cream?
Dempsey recommends always starting small and building up as needed. Apply the CC cream to the center of your face and work outward. For extra coverage, she first uses concealer like her Spot Stick for a technique called “spot basing” to cover imperfections before adding product.