If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, WWD may receive an affiliate commission.
From full-coverage, natural finishes to impressive skin care benefits, the best CC creams bring significant benefits to contend with your favorite foundations. Short for “Color Correcting,” CC creams have been popular since early iterations from Rachel K, iFiona, Missha and Tiannuo hit the market in 2011. Since then, plenty more have followed.
What makes CC creams so popular? Makeup artists love their combination of a radiant finish and full-coverage base, while dermatologists say their upgraded skin care actives are a compelling bonus. “I love the fact that a lot of CC creams have iron oxides in them,” says dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara. “This ingredient protects against blue light, which can cause hyperpigmentation especially in brown and Black skin.”
What is CC cream?
Not to be confused with BB (“Beauty Balm” or “Blemish Balm”) creams, CC creams stand apart for several reasons. “BB creams are often more moisturizing and very sheer,” says celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman. “CC creams have more coverage, while still providing skin care ingredients.”
Common complaints about early BB creams revolved around limited shade offerings and overly oily formulas, gaps that the next generation of CC creams tried to fill with expanded shade ranges and natural finishes. “CC creams are multitasking hybrid makeup and skin care products,” says Cynde Watson, director of artistry at IT Cosmetics. That means they’ll wear like a full-coverage foundation, while also feeling like your favorite serums and creams.
How to find the best CC cream for your skin tone
The method for finding your CC cream shade match is exactly the same as the one you use to find your foundation shade. Both Dorman and Watson advise paying attention to both your skin tone and undertones. “When shopping online, look at the models wearing the product,” Dorman says. “Are they much warmer or much cooler than your skin tone? When in doubt, pick a neutral undertone that veers slightly warm.”
The best way to apply CC cream
By nature, CC creams are designed to wear effortlessly. Still, it never hurts to have some expert tips for application.
- Apply one to two pumps of your CC Cream to the back of your hand.
- Use a makeup brush, as suggested by both Dorman and Watson, to pick up product and start applying it to the center of your face, working upward and outward. (Note: Watson prefers It Cosmetics’ Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7, while Dorman likes the Rephr Brush 31 to control coverage level.)
- For additional coverage, Watson uses a stippling technique, bouncing the brush over any areas that need extra coverage.
- Use your brush in a blending motion in any areas that need to be sheered out.
Ready to find your CC cream match? Below, shop the best CC creams for every skin type, according to our experts.
Sign up for WWD’S The Essentialist newsletter to get the scoop on the best in beauty and style with in-depth reviews of exciting new releases and buyer’s guides to find the products you need to try ASAP.
Top CC Creams
- Best Overall: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
- Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Camo CC Cream
- Best for Mature Skin: Erborian CC Crème
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Supergoop CC Screen 100% Mineral CC Cream SPF 50
- Best for Dry Skin: Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream SPF 30
- Best Drugstore CC Cream: Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting CC Cream SPF 15
- Best for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Clear Coverage Flawless Matte CC cream
- Best for Combination Skin: Cle Cosmetics CCC Cream
- Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Hey Honey Trick and Treat CC² Active Propolis CC Cream
- Best Travel-Friendly: Amorepacific Color Control Cushion Compact SPF 50+
- Best Clean: Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream SPF 30
- Best for Dark Ski: black|Up CC Cream Multi-Action
- Best for Rosacea: Thrive Causemetics Buildable Blur CC Cream SPF 35
IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
One of the most popular CC creams on the market, this formula from IT Cosmetics truly lives up to its claims. “It’s a full-coverage formula that provides a natural finish,” Watson says. It’s earned thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon and is a frequent beauty editor favorite, thanks to a second-skin finish that works on all skin types. Along with color-correcting benefits, it also offers SPF protection and functions as a hydrating serum, smoothing primer and moisturizer all in one.
Supergoop CC Screen 100% Mineral CC Cream SPF 50
Best for Sensitive Skin
Sunscreen experts Supergoop are behind this CC cream, which is gentle on skin, while providing SPF 50 broad spectrum protection. “This CC cream has only mineral sunscreen ingredients and a clean formula, making it ideal for sensitive skin,” Dorman says. Unlike many mineral sunscreens, it doesn’t leave a chalky white cast behind, thanks to color-correcting pigments.
e.l.f. Cosmetics Camo CC Cream
Budget-friendly and wildly popular, this e.l.f. Cosmetics CC cream contains all the same actives you’d look for in your skin care routine. Hyaluronic acid hydrates, while peptides and collagen give a plumping, firming effect. Niacinamide rounds out the hero ingredients with a brightening, evening boost. Reviewers love the medium-to-full buildable coverage, which easily conceals dark spots and hyperpigmentation while feeling just like a moisturizer.
Erborian CC Crème
Best CC Cream for Mature Skin
A super priming base gives this CC cream a blurring boost that reviewers can’t get enough of. The lightweight, smoothing formula doesn’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles, while transforming pigments impart an illuminating finish. Centella asiatica, a soothing botanical extract, helps soothe and calm skin.
Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream SPF 30
Best for Dry Skin
Dorman says Clinique’s CC cream is one of the most hydrating formulas she’s found, making it “great for those who love the moisture of a BB cream but want the coverage of a CC cream,” she notes. The oil-free formula gets rave reviews for imparting a moisturizing, natural finish that wears especially well on dry skin and fine lines. Since it’s concentrated, apply a thin, even layer for the best results.
Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting CC Cream SPF 15
Best Drugstore CC Cream
Olay’s fan-favorite CC cream has hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon, thanks to its natural coverage and filtering, blurring base that smooths fine lines and wrinkles. The moisturizing formula wears well on dry skin and is complete with antioxidant-rich ingredients that deliver brightening results. Reviewers note that this CC cream is best for those who don’t need full coverage and want a more glowy finish.
Cle Cosmetics CCC Cream
Best CC Cream for Combination Skin
Dubbed a CCC, or “Color Control & Change,” Cream, this formula from Cle Cosmetics essentially gives you buildable coverage and a lightweight, satiny finish. Great for combination skin (or any skin type), it blends in seamlessly to provide coverage that’s dewy and moisturizing while still retaining a non-greasy feel. Reviewers are obsessed with the flawless-looking results and smooth feel.
Hey Honey Trick and Treat CC² Active Propolis CC Cream
Best CC Cream for Acne-Prone Skin
If you want to treat breakouts without drying out your skin, grab Hey Honey’s CC cream, which contains naturally antibacterial bee propolis. The non-comedogenic formula won’t irritate active breakouts and is hydrating enough to wear like a light serum or moisturizer. Honey, squalene and vitamin E help plump and soften, while medium coverage leaves skin looking healthy and even.
Amorepacific Color Control Cushion Compact SPF 50+
Get all the benefits of a CC cream in a TSA-friendly cushion compact. If you haven’t used this type of applicator before, it’s ideal for building thin layers that never cake look cakey. Offering medium coverage and a naturally glowy finish, Amorepacific’s Color Control cushion compact an easy favorite. Bamboo sap and green tea extract help brighten and protect skin from environmental aggressors.
Neutrogena Clear Coverage Flawless Matte CC Cream
Best CC Cream for Oily Skin
Dorman loves the matte formula, shade range and active ingredients in Neutrogena’s CC cream. “Niacinamide encourages repair of the skin barrier and tighter pores,” she says. “This is great for oily skin types.” Neutrogena also wins points for offering more shades than standard CC creams, with 34 options to cover a range of skin tones.
Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream SPF 30
Juice Beauty calls this formula a 12-in-1, as it’s jam-packed with multitasking benefits. The main ones to know: A base of hydrating, soothing botanical juices and coconut oil that flood skin with antioxidants while improving texture and elasticity. The product also contains SPF and boasts smooth, radiant and natural-looking results.
black|Up CC Cream Multi-Action
Best CC Cream for Dark Skin
While CC creams have improved on the limited shade ranges of BB Creams, they often still fall short of foundations and lack options for melanin-rich skin. Black|Up’s CC cream is specifically made for tan to dark skin and works beautifully on all skin types. The multitasking formula smooths pores, adds glow, gives a natural matte finish and leaves skin feeling moisturized and smooth.
Thrive Causemetics Buildable Blur CC Cream SPF 35
Best CC Cream for Rosacea
Like a photo filter for your face, this Thrive Causemetics CC cream creates a diffused, smooth finish with a brightening effect. The color correcting pigments target redness and rosacea as well as any discoloration. SPF 35 keeps you protected from UV rays, although you should still pair this formula with your regular sunscreen for maximum protection. “This CC cream has a great color range, excellent SPF and corrects the effects of sun damage,” Dorman says.
Meet the Experts
Dr. Mona Gohara is a Connecticut-based dermatologist and vice president of the Women’s Dermatologic Society. She attended NYU School of Medicine and completed her residency in 2005 at Yale University, where she currently serves as an associate clinical professor. She is also an active member of The American Academy of Dermatology and The American Society For Dermatologic Surgery and is on the advisory board for Women’s Health magazine.
Jamie Dorman is a New York City-based makeup artist and creative director whose clients have included Bella Hadid, Anne Hathaway and Bebe Rexha, among others. Her work has also been featured in editorial spreads for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Glamour and Allure.
Cynde Watson is the director of artistry at IT Cosmetics. She was a celebrity makeup artist for over 15 years and has previously held leadership roles at other cosmetics companies including Bobbie Brown, Sephora and Estée Lauder. Watson is also the founder of Color by Cynde Watson, a line of dual-ended, multitasking pencils designed to be used on the face, eyes and lips.