CC creams are said to improve your skin while improving its appearance (skin care and makeup in one!). These products provide sun protection, hydration, and anti-aging effects, in addition to providing a natural-looking coverage and evening skin tone (the “CC” stands for “color correcting,” after all). CC creams are made to be lightweight, unlike BB creams, which act more as a foundation with added skin care benefits.
To find the best drugstore CC creams, the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab rounded up 26 CC creams and narrowed down the field to the top performers. These budget-friendly CC creams picks impressed the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab — some are even Good Housekeeping Seal stars!
How we test CC creams
Each year in the Beauty Lab, we put thousands of beauty products to the test to see which skin care, makeup, and hair products are actually worth your money. To test CC creams, we vet products for skin care benefits like moisturization and anti-aging properties, as well as cosmetic benefits like skin tone-evening. After a pre-screening moisturization trial, only five top performing CC creams were moved to the final round of clinical testing.
We also recruited real women to test the products at home, and we analyzed the results using the Visia machine to measure each product’s ability to even out and match skin tone. We also measured our testers’ skin after four weeks of use to see the anti-aging effects (including reduction of fine lines, skin tone improvement, brown spot fading, as well as pore and texture changes). Lastly, we monitored any changes in firmness of their skin. We also, of course, factored in whether our testers’ experience using the products with detailed consumer evaluations.
Based on our testing results and our expert picks, these are the best CC creams you can buy at the drugstore. You may even find that you don’t need your full-coverage foundations or tinted moisturizers anymore: These CC creams can provide the coverage you need, while also smoothing out wrinkles and correcting skin discoloration. Here are our favorites:
1. Olay Total Effects
This dry-skin quencher won over the GHI with its sheer finish and because it visibly shrank pores and faded brown spots in tests. The anti-aging CC cream is designed to use alone or under foundation for maximum coverage. “It saved me several steps in my routine,” said one tester. Even better? It’s backed by our GH Seal, so if it doesn’t live up to its claims, we’ll refund you.
2. Almay Smart Shade
This drugstore all-star was a 2017 Beauty Award winner. GH Lab tests found that the gentle foundation improved testers’ skin tone and texture after just four weeks. This lightweight formula balances the appearance of imperfections, dull skin, and discoloration on skin types including combination dry and oily. It also ranked highly for not irritating skin and absorbing quickly.
3. Physicians Formula Super
For a wash of subtle color with all the priming, moisturizing, skin-perfecting and SPF benefitsof a CC cream, this super-sheer formula can’t be beat. One review says “this CC cream is a lifesaver for someone that wants a product that can do a little bit of everything.”
4. Covergirl Queen Cover + Care Cream
Most CC creams only offer one or two shades, but this best-selling line boasts five options from amber to espresso, perfect for darker skin tones. The oil-free formula won’t clog pores, and will leave your skin feeling hydrated and fresh.
5. Lumene Color Correcting Cream
This 6-in-1 color correcting cream neutralizes redness, plus is infused with skin care ingredients like pure arctic spring water and cloudberry extract. “It is low coverage, but it is a nice soft texture and makes my skin feel even better over time,” says a reviewer. There are currently six shades available, all of which are best suited for fairer skin tones.
6. L’Oreal Paris Visible Lift CC Cream
For sheer, weightless coverage, look no further than this formula made with complexion brightening and protecting vitamin C. This CC gives skin “a natural look that makes your face look healthy, hydrated, and glowing without the heavy feeling of foundation,” one reviewer reported.
7. Pacifica Ultra CC Cream
Pacifica’s CC cream is packed with nourishing ingredients like fatty acids, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid to plump dehydrated skin and fine lines. The base also contains the mineral mica, which boosts glow and blurs imperfections by reflecting light. “It doesn’t cake up or settle into fine lines” and leaves skin with a “natural, dewy glow,” two reviewers reported. Bonus: The formula is also 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
8. La Roche-Posay CC Creme
This line of La Roche-Posay skin care is formulated specifically for rosacea, and this CC is infused with the brand’s proprietary soothing mineral spring water sourced from its namesake town in France, where it’s used to treat patients with inflammatory skin conditions at the La Roche-Posay Thermal Center.
This product contains softening shea butter and glycerin to relieve dryness. “It has greatly reduced my rosacea flareups, and I have quit using moisturizer and foundation and replaced them with this product,” one reviewer raved. “This CC cream covers my red splotches and makes my skin tone appear even and natural.”
This article was originally posted for Good Housekeeping. Check it out!