CC Creams: Do You Need One?

Beauty/Skincare, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on July 15, 2013
Woman applying cream to face.

Are CC creams—short for color correction or color control creams—a new and improved version of BB (beauty balm) creams, or something different altogether?

“The marketing difference between BB and CC creams is that BB is meant to be an anti-aging, beautifying balm, so in theory it would have more active ingredients or more nourishing base,” says Melissa Picoli, esthetician and founder of BijaBody. “Whereas CC cream is intended to be a color correcting product, for hyper-pigmentation and red veins, so may have more greens and yellows in it to balance color issues.”

RELATED LINK: BB Cream: Miracle Makeup?

When it comes to deciding whether a BB or CC cream is right for you, ask yourself what skin problem you most want to solve. If the answer is aging skin, a BB cream could be the answer. If you decide it’s color correction, then a CC cream may be the better choice.

Keep in mind that both BB and CC creams work best as a primer under your makeup—no matter what they claim, neither is a miracle all-in-one-product. “Don’t expect your make-up to be skincare. Separate the two,” says Picoli, who recommends at minimum, “a great cleanser, a day and night serum and a great moisturizer.”

We tested out some of the latest CC cream offerings. Read on for our reviews.

AmorePacific Cushion Compact Color Control

This product is one of the thicker creams we tested, providing buildable sheer to moderate coverage. At first when you apply the cream it will come off as a liquid foundation even though it is in a compact, but once it settles it leaves you with a luminous but matte finish that will diminish the appearance of fine lines and instantly correct imperfections. This particular cream claims to use a fusion of Green Tea Seed Oil and Camellia Sinensis flower extracts to brighten and prevent sun irritation, and provides an impressive SPF 50.

Juice Beauty CC Cream

Unless you really love the natural look—and are blessed with near-perfect skin!—you’ll probably want to use your regular foundation over this cream. But we found using this as a first layer under foundation did make our pores disappear, and helped the products we topped it with go on more smoothly. Even though this product is only offered in two shades, Natural Glow and Warm Glow, it fits a wide variety of skin tones due to the fact that it’s very sheer.

Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream
$34; www

Dark spots are an increasingly common complaint from women these days—a combination of forgetting your sunscreen and poor skin care habits. Smashbox’s CC cream pledges to fade those spots over time. We weren’t able to verify that during the testing process, but liked the way it brightened and evened out skin tone. This CC cream comes in a range of five moisturizing shades with a moderate and buildable coverage. One note: The BB cream and CC cream Smashbox offers are very similar in ingredients and texture, so if you liked one you will probably like the other.

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream

If your biggest complaint is parched skin, you might like this offering from the brand frequently lauded for its innovations in skincare. Clinique’s CC cream—offered in six shades—corrects a variety of complexion concerns including redness and dullness. This lightweight formula provides oil-free moisture for your skin while providing you with protection from sun damage with SPF 30. If you’re already a fan of Clinique’s moderate-to-full-coverage BB cream, you should know that the CC cream is sheerer and provides a look that is more dewy—which many women prefer for the summer months.

Almay Smart Shade CC Cream Complexion Corrector

Are you eager to try one of the new CC creams but on a budget? This CC cream is a great option if you aren’t completely sold on the new craze enough to invest more than 10 bucks—and if your skin tone matches one of the three shades offered. We found it to be a great option for sensitive skin, since it’s hypoallergenic, oil and fragrance free. That said, the super-moisturizing formula might not be right for very oily skin, unless it’s paired with a good oil-controlling powder.