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Best CC creams in 2023: Colour-correct and conceal, with picks from £10

Glowing, even-toned skin is just a swipe away with these complexion-perfecting, lightweight creams

Looking for a make-up product to even out your complexion and take care of your skin at the same time? A CC cream offers the perfect solution. These smoothing, multi-tasking base products are designed to deliver a flawless finish, helping to soften the appearance of concerns such as redness, skin pigmentation, dullness and more.

Choose carefully, though. The term “CC” stands for either “complexion corrector” or “colour corrector” – and although most products usually fall into the latter category, the two types are subtly different. Colour-correcting products help to reduce redness and brighten dull skin, while complexion correctors smooth and refine pores without feeling heavy. Check out our top picks to find the perfect CC cream for your complexion.

Best CC creams: At a glance

How to choose the best CC cream for your skin

What is a CC cream?

Lighter than a foundation but offering more coverage than a tinted moisturiser, a CC cream is a form of lightweight base that evens out redness, dullness, sunspots and imperfections. Containing moisturising and skin-soothing ingredients, often with SPF and anti-ageing properties, CC creams can actively help to plump and protect skin. But while they can be more beneficial than a foundation, they provide only a short-term fix, and so shouldn’t be a replacement for a quality skincare routine.

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

CC and BB creams are sisters in the beauty world. Both are lighter on the skin than a foundation and often come with added skincare benefits such as antioxidants and SPF infused in the formula. They’re also ideal for summer months or holidays, since they perfect rather than conceal the skin for a natural finish. The only difference: colour-correcting CC creams, unlike BB creams, target the uneven pigment in your skin for a more even-toned complexion.

READ NEXT: Best BB creams

Colour correction or complexion correction?

Colour-correcting CC creams come in a range of shades designed to balance out your skin tone: green creams will counteract redness in the cheeks or around the nose, while lavender-coloured creams brighten dull skin; 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 flawless finish. Colour-correcting CC creams can also be worn as a base for make-up, with or without foundation on top.

Complexion correctors look more like a traditional foundation or tinted moisturiser. Since 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, resulting in 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 generous coverage; they’re a good choice if you have a lot of redness or dullness to correct. Liquid formulations also tend to be better for dry skin.

Palettes are suitable for more small areas of coverage, such as under-eye circles or redness around the nose. They also tend to stay put better on oilier skins. Use a brush for precision application, and blend 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.

How we test CC creams

We trial a wide range of high-end and budget-friendly CC creams, some of which are targeted to colour correct, and others that have been solely designed to smooth out skin texture and pores. Our tester replaces her usual foundation for these lightweight alternatives, applying each one with a foundation brush for best results. As well as taking into account how each CC cream feels on application and how well it layers with other skincare and makeup products, we also consider texture, scent, how long it lasts, its cost and whether the formula features any skin-boosting actives or SPF. Below are the products that fared the best.

The best CC creams you can buy in 2023

1. L’Oréal Paris CC C’est Magic Cream Anti-Redness: Best affordable colour-correcting cream

Price: £11 (30ml) | Buy now from Boots

If you love the idea of a lightweight base, this budget-friendly, anti-redness formulation feels velvety-soft on application and delivers a fresh, slightly dewy look to the skin. Don’t be alarmed by its green colouring; it contains smart pigment capsules to transform on contact with the skin to even-out your complexion for a healthy, bare-faced look. The buildable, hydrating formula particularly suits dry skins, and this cream can be used either 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: £33 (14g) | Buy now from Marks & Spencer

This palette contains five luxuriously soft, easy-to-blend creams, which can be used alone or in combination to even out a 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 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, this handy palette even comes with an illustrated how-to guide to help you get the best out of the high-quality kit.

Key specs – Coverage: Buildable; SPF: None

3. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream SPF 30: Best colour-correcting cream for normal to dry skin

Price: £32 (40ml) | Buy now from Clinique

If your skin is feeling a little on the parched side, the moisture-boosting ingredients packed into this tinted, oil-free formula (including squalane and aloe barbadensis leaf water) will provide instant hydration, while vitamin E helps to protect against environmental aggressors. There are three shades to choose from – Light, Light-Medium and Medium – all offering slightly thicker coverage without feeling heavy, while correcting redness and tired-looking skin at the same time. If you love the idea of trying a CC cream, but are reluctant to give up your favourite foundation, this could be the product to sway you.

Key specs – Coverage: Medium; SPF: 30

Buy now from Clinique

4. Erborian CC Crème: Best CC cream for blurring and brightening

Price: £39 (45ml) | Buy now from Space NK

Erborian is a label that simultaneously merges Korean skincare technology with ancient medicinal herbs to deliver a varied product range. However, it’s the brand’s iconic BB and CC creams that remain fan favourites. This bestselling cream goes on pearly white but quickly adapts to your skin tone upon application, with very little blending and buffing required. Instantly skin looks more balanced and refined, with no redness in sight. There are two shades – Clair is designed for fairer skins, while Doré is suited to medium-to-dark skin tones. Both are packed with complexion-boosting properties, too, including anti-inflammatory tiger grass and protective vitamin E.

Key specs – Coverage: Light; SPF: 25

Buy now from Space NK

5. La Roche-Posay Rosaliac CC Cream: Best colour-correcting cream for sensitive skin

Price: £21 (50ml) | Buy now from Boots

As a brand recommended by dermatologists and beauty editors worldwide, this non-comedogenic anti-redness formula from La Roche-Posay is suitable for a wide range of skin types and conditions, including those prone to redness, rosacea, oiliness and acne. The active ingredient is the brand’s signature Thermal Spring Water, which helps to soothe and protect the skin while providing instant coverage. It’s tinted, but you’ll only find one “universal” shade, which works for fair-to-medium skin tones. It blends in beautifully, while evening out redness and offering seamless, streak-free coverage – we only wish there was an option for darker skins.

Key specs – Coverage: Buildable; SPF: 30

Buy now from Boots

6. 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

7. Olay Regenerist CC Cream: Best anti-ageing complexion corrector

Price: £12.49 (50ml) | Buy now from Boots

It’s a moisturiser, it’s a serum, and it’s a beautifully sheer make-up base: this 3-in-1 CC cream, part of Olay’s Regenerist range, works to smooth skin immediately on application, and reducing 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 formula blends well without streaking. Soft and smooth on the face, it gives a medium-light coverage that lasts all day. It’s great for mature skin.

Key specs – Coverage: Medium-light; SPF: 15+

Buy now from Boots

Typology Tinted Serum: Best for lightweight coverage

Price: £26 (30ml) | Buy now from Typology

If you love the idea of a super-sheer base, Typology’s Tinted Serum is the perfect solution. It works well when worn alone, for those who prefer a natural-but-dewier look, but it also acts as a brilliantly moisturising and colour-correcting primer under make-up. There are six shades to choose from, and we love that it’s packed with radiance-boosting ingredients that will do your skin the world of good, including vitamin C, squalane and aloe vera for deep, long-lasting hydration throughout the day. Finally, although it’s a serum, always apply on top of your SPF, when you would usually apply your make-up. We recommend buffing with a foundation brush for best results.

Key specs – Coverage: Light; SPF: None

Buy now from Typology

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