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CC cream is a cosmetic product that’s advertised to work as a sunscreen, foundation, and moisturizer all-in-one. CC cream makers claim there’s an added benefit of “color-correcting” your skin, hence the name “CC.”
CC cream is supposed to target discolored areas of your skin, eventually evening out your skin’s dark spots or red patches.
Every brand’s CC cream formula is different, but almost all of these products have a few things in common. Active SPF ingredients protect your skin from sun damage, and anti-aging ingredients — such as vitamin C, peptides, and antioxidants — are often infused into the mix.
Beyond these additions, CC creams — and BB creams — are basically revamped and modernized tinted moisturizers.
The “color correction” magic of CC cream is less about matching your skin color exactly and more about camouflaging problem areas.
If you’re an avid skin care devotee, you might already be familiar with color theory and its applications to cosmetics.
According to color theory, “correcting” your complexion isn’t a matter of covering up imperfections as much as it’s about neutralizing redness and shading out blue and purple shadows.
This chart is helpful for figuring out your skin’s undertones and how you can use that information for color correction.
When you buy the right shade of CC cream for your skin tone, you’re taking the guesswork out of color correction, as the product aims to tone, even, and blend into your skin.
CC creams are infused with light-deflecting particles that claim to hide skin that appears:
CC cream does have a leg up on some other kinds of makeup. For one thing, CC cream protects your skin from the harmful UV rays that can lead to photoaging.
While a few of the more “traditional” foundations claim that they have anti-aging ingredients, nothing preserves your skin better than good ole SPF.
Keep in mind that CC cream alone might not be enough sun protection for a day spent exposed to the sun’s direct rays. Check your labels carefully, as
CC cream also goes on lighter, making it less likely to clog your pores and trigger a breakout.
Since a layer of CC cream might not provide as much “opaque” coverage as a regular foundation, you might want to apply a little bit extra if you’re going for a polished look.
This won’t be everyone’s preference, but some beauty gurus would say that makes it “buildable.”
CC cream also offers some flexibility in its uses, since you can simply spread some on before popping out for errands when you don’t want a full face of makeup, or even use a thin layer of it as primer to protect your skin while you layer foundation over top.
Lastly, people who swear by CC cream claim that it does work to nourish, protect, improve, and “correct” their skin’s appearance without the guesswork and time commitment of color correcting concealer products.
Your mileage may vary with CC cream, depending on your skin type, your desired outcome, and the product line that you choose to use.
Lots of beauty brands claim that CC cream is perfect for all skin types, even skin that’s prone to oil buildup. The truth is that your success with CC cream will vary wildly according to the one you choose.
CC cream can work for oily skin — in contrast to BB (beauty balm) cream, CC cream tends to be less oily and it feels lighter on the skin.
Does that mean that it’ll work for your skin? It’s hard to know unless you try.
CC cream is relatively new to the market, but it’s certainly not an entirely new product. CC cream is basically tinted moisturizer, with the trappings of color theory and a modernized ingredient list.
That doesn’t mean that CC cream doesn’t live up to its claim to correct your complexion, delay wrinkles, and hydrate your skin.
So while CC cream is an inventive way of packaging and marketing the idea of a certain kind of tinted moisturizer, it’s more than a marketing ploy. CC cream is a specific product with distinctive claims and benefits.
To use CC cream, start with skin that’s clean and dry. Makeup primer isn’t necessary under CC cream, and can actually keep the cream from absorbing and moisturizing your skin.
Squeeze a small amount of product out of the tube. You can always add more but it’s better to start with too little than too much. Use your fingers to dot cream on your face.
Pay specific attention to areas you might wish to conceal or color correct, like dark circles under your eyes or blemishes on your jawline.
Use a clean, damp beauty blender to blend the cream into your skin. You may need to repeat this process two or three times until you reach the desired level of coverage.
Finish off with a light layer of finishing powder for sheer matte look, or apply foundation as you normally would over primer if you want more of a full-coverage look.
CC cream is often compared to similar creams that came to market around the same time. These products are basically all different types of tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. Each of them carries an additional claim specific to the buyer’s desire.
BB cream refers to “beauty balm,” or “blemish balm.” BB creams are slightly heavier than CC cream and are meant to provide enough coverage that you won’t need foundation.
A good BB cream would do many of the same things as a CC cream, and the differences between the two are subtle.
Mainly, a BB cream provides heavier color coverage than CC cream, but it won’t address any issues of color variations or blemishes on your skin.
DD cream refers to “dynamic do-all” or “daily defense” creams.
These products carry the texture of a BB cream, but with the addition of the color correcting particles of a CC cream, claiming to give you the best of all worlds. DD creams have yet to be widely available.
How do all these “new” products stack up against regular foundation?
For one thing, BB, CC, and DD creams offer more versatility. It’s easy enough to apply some CC cream and walk out the door knowing your face is safe from sun damage and moisturized, too.
But in terms of color choices, you might find BB, CC, and DD creams to be lacking in variety. Most are formulated in only a few shades (light, medium, and deep, for example), which isn’t very inclusive to a wide variety of skin tones.
Traditional foundation does come in a larger offering of shades, with more becoming available all the time.
CC cream is certainly not the only product you can try to even your skin tone.
When it comes to your skin’s health and appearance, there’s really nothing better than drinking lots of water, getting plenty of rest, and sticking to a skin care routine that tones, moisturizes, and protects.
The end result of using CC cream probably won’t be much different from continuing to use your favorite foundation.
There are some cult favorite CC cream brands that many skin care and beauty influencers swear are better than a foundation and tinted moisturizer. A few popular products include:
- Your Skin, But Better CC Cream with SPF 50 by It Cosmetics
- Moisture Surge CC Cream with SPF 30 by Clinique
- Stem Cellular CC Cream with SPF 30 by Juice Beauty (vegan and non-toxic)
- Almay Smart Shade CC Cream (for a drugstore fix)
CC cream is a beauty product meant to moisturize your skin, protect from sun damage, and even out your complexion.
While the concept of a “CC cream” might be relatively new, the ingredients and idea of a tinted moisturizer are certainly not revolutionary.
When selecting any skin care product, it’s important to keep in mind what your expectations are and what you want to use it for.
CC cream is a good option for light coverage and SPF protection for people who don’t like heavy makeup. But it won’t heal or change your skin’s appearance permanently.