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Best CC cream: Get an even complexion with the best CC creams from £10

Lise Smith Rachel Erdos
22 Jul 2019

Get a flawless finish while taking care of your skin with the best CC creams

Looking for a makeup product that evens out your complexion and takes care of your skin at the same time? A CC cream could be the perfect solution. These smoothing and skin-perfecting base products are guaranteed to give you a fresh finish.

Choose carefully, though. The name stands for either “complexion corrector” or “colour corrector”, and the two types are subtly different. Colour-correcting products help reduce redness and brighten tired skin, while complexion correctors smooth and refine pores, without covering your skin in a heavy layer of makeup. Take a look at our top picks to find the perfect CC cream for your skin type and complexion.

How to choose the best CC cream for your skin

What is a CC cream?

Lighter than a foundation but with more coverage than a tinted moisturiser, a CC cream is a light face base that evens out redness, dullness and any imperfections. Containing moisturising and skin-soothing ingredients, often together with SPF sun protection and anti-ageing properties, CC creams can actively plump and protect the skin. But while we agree they're more beneficial than a foundation, CC creams should not be a skincare replacement as they'll only provide a short-term fix.

What is the difference between a CC cream and a BB cream?

CC and BB creams are sisters in the beauty world. The sheer creams are lighter on the skin than a foundation and often have added skincare benefits like antioxidants and SPF. Ideal for summer months or holidays, they will perfect rather than conceal the skin for a natural finish. The only difference: “colour-correcting” CC creams, unlike BB creams, target the discolouration in your skin for an even complexion.

READ NEXT: Best BB creams

Colour correction or complexion correction?

Colour-correcting CC creams come in a range of pastel shades designed to balance out your skin colour: green creams counteract redness in the cheeks or around the nose, while lavender creams brighten dull skin, and yellow or peach shades correct blue shadows under the eyes. The creams can look alarmingly lurid in the bottle, but applied to the face they’ll neutralise problem areas and give your skin a flawlessly even finish.

Colour-correcting CC creams can also be worn as a makeup base, with or without foundation on top.

Complexion correctors look more like a traditional foundation or tinted moisturiser; because the coverage is light and the creams contain light-diffusing particles, these will blend in with your skin tone without requiring an exact match. Complexion-correcting creams focus on reducing the appearance of fine lines and pores, giving a smoother skin surface. Wear alone or with tinted lip balm and a flick of mascara for a bare-faced-but-better look.

Liquid or solid?

Colour-correcting CC creams can be found in bottled liquid form, or in more solid crayons and palettes. Liquid creams tend to give lighter, and more general coverage, so they’re a good choice if you have a lot of redness or dullness to correct. Dry skins also tend to get on better with liquid formulations.

Crayons and palettes are more suitable for small areas of coverage, such as under-eye circles or redness around the nose. They also tend to stay put better on oilier skins. Apply directly from the crayon, or use a brush for more precision, and blend in using the fingers or a sponge.

Complexion-correcting products generally come in liquid, gel or cream form, and are applied with the fingers, a brush or a sponge in the same way as you would a foundation.

The best CC creams you can buy

1. L’Oreal Paris C'est Magique CC Cream SPF 20: Best colour-correcting liquid

Price: £10.99 (30ml) | Buy now from Boots

This hydrating fluid formulation feels velvety-soft and gives a fresh, dewy look to the skin. It comes in three colours: the anti-redness cream may look alarmingly green in the tube, but with a bit of blending it transforms into a natural skin shade on application. The lavender shade brightens dull winter skin, while the warm apricot variant perks up fatigued faces for a healthy, bare-faced look. L’Oreal’s buildable, lightweight formula particularly suits dry skins, and this cream can be used on its own or as a primer for fuller-coverage foundation and concealer.

Key specs – Bottle size: 30ml; SPF: 20

Buy now from Boots

2. Stila Correct & Perfect All-in-One Colour-Correcting Palette: Best colour-correcting palette

Price: £27.63 (13g) | Buy now from Marks & Spencer

This palette contains five luxuriously soft, blendable creams, which can be used singly or in combination to even out a wide range of skin tones – so you can brighten the under-eye area with the pink or peach creams, use the green shade on red spots, and neutralise dark shadows on darker skin tones with the vivid orange. You also get two setting powders in brightening lavender and warming yellow, to suit your skin needs and undertone. Moisturising and pore-refining with skin-soothing vitamins A, C and E, the Stila CC Palette comes with a handy illustrated how-to guide to help you get the best out of this high-quality kit.

Key specs – Palette size: 13g; SPF: n/a

3. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream SPF 50+: Best CC cream with foundation-style coverage

Price: £31 (32ml) | Buy now from Boots

This cult product promises a lot but delivers in all areas. Lighter than a foundation but with a fuller coverage than a tinted moisturiser, it can be used with or without powder as a daily base and its hydrating formula is packed full of hyaluronic acid, niacin, peptides and hydrolyzed collagen. It has colour-correcting properties, SPF 50+ sun protection and offers a creamy consistancy with buildable coverage. It's a great pick for acne-prone and sensitive skin thanks to ingredients like zinc oxide and retinyl palmitate and there's an impressive range of shades on offer from fair to deep.

Key specs – Bottle size: 32ml; SPF: 50+

Buy now from Boots

4. Boots No7 Youthful CC Cream SPF 15: Best high-street complexion-corrector

Price: £27.99 (30ml) | Buy now from Boots

This lightweight base features light-diffusing pigments to give a selfie-ready soft-focus look. Silky-smooth on the skin and very easy to apply, it gives a soft, natural daytime look. As well as being a useful addition to your makeup bag, this age-defying CC cream also contains the same firming serum as used in No7’s ever-popular Protect and Perfect skincare range – so you can expect long-term benefits to skin tone and texture with regular use.

Key specs – Bottle size: 30ml; SPF: 15

Image of No7 Youthful CC Cream 30ml SPF15 # Medium

No7 Youthful CC Cream 30ml SPF15 # Medium

£34.99 (£3,499.00 / 100 g) Buy now

5. Origins Smarty Plants CC Cream SPF20: Best luxury complexion corrector

Price: £29 (40ml) | Buy now from Boots

Origins is a brand known for its high-tech applications of natural ingredients, and this super-light CC cream is packed with hydrating, pore-reducing and anti-aging botanicals. Suitable for light daytime coverage, Smarty Plants evens out the complexion and gives skin a healthy glow without oiliness. With its fresh citrus smell and built-in sun protection, it’s perfect for summer skin.

Key specs – Bottle size: 40ml; SPF: 20

Buy now from Boots

6. Max Factor CC Colour Corrector Concealing Stick: Best for targeted touch-ups

Price: £9.98 (10g) | Buy now from Boots

If you have one specific area you’d like to focus on – under-eye circles, for example, or a rosy nose – and don’t need a whole palette, colour-correcting crayons are a good option. Max Factor’s CC stick comes in six shades, each designed with a single task in mind, so you can pick the one you need and get to work. Soft and blendable, these crayons work best underneath foundation (or a complexion-correcting CC cream); simply apply the tip of the stick directly to the area you want to target and blend with a sponge or finger. 

Key specs – Bottle size: 10g; SPF: N/A

7. Body Shop Instaglow CC cream SPF 20: Best for a dewy glow

Price: £15 (25ml) | Buy now from Body Shop

This moisturising CC cream comes in three shades – bright, peachy and warm – with ginseng and aloe vera to soothe and brighten the skin. The silky lotion smooths on easily with fingers, and lends a subtle shimmer to illuminate the face without looking too glittery. Use it alone for a no-makeup look, as a primer underneath your favourite foundation, or as an understated highlighter on brow and cheekbones.

Key specs – Bottle size: 25ml; SPF: 20

8. Olay Regenerist CC Cream SPF 15: Best multitasking CC cream

Price: £9.44 (50ml) | Buy now from Boots

It’s a moisturiser, it’s a serum, and it’s a beautifully sheer makeup base: Olay’s CC Cream, part of the Regenerist range, works to smooth skin immediately on application, and reduces wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots with continued use over time. Hydrating and firming, with UVA and UVB protection to ward off the damaging effects of the sun, this light and non-greasy CC cream blends well without streaking. Soft and smooth on the face, it gives a medium-light coverage that lasts all day and is great for mature skin.

Key specs – Bottle size: 50ml; SPF: 15

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