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What Is CC Cream and How to Use It

Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.

The answer to the question "What is CC cream?" depends on where you look. I have seen it variously described as a color corrector, complexion corrector, color control, complete correction, and complexion correction.

Confused? No need to be. Read on to learn more about this hybrid product that provides a combination of makeup and skincare in one neat product.

It will be perfect for you if you have hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and/or blemishes, such as acne scars, freckles, and so on.

Why Is It Sometimes Called Korean CC Cream?

The cream originated in Korea and was developed from the original BB cream which is so popular in Asia, having originally been developed in Germany. Asian consumers love the CC creams that give a translucent effect. Many use it as a color corrective primer before applying BB cream to get a polished, flawless finish.

The best CC creams vary widely in composition, so what suits one person perfectly will not necessarily be right for another. Some are designed to provide a similar level of coverage to BB creams, others are more of a tint rather than a foundation cream, and others are probably better used as a corrective skin primer underneath foundation cream.

Who Should Use Color-Correction Creams?

Product reviews promise that you will notice an immediate improvement in the appearance of your complexion and that you should use a product of this type:

  • If you have fine lines, wrinkles and/or age spots, you will notice a reduction in their appearance and age spots, and freckles will appear faded out.
  • If you have uneven skin tone, these creams will even out your complexion giving you a soft, smooth, all-over look.
  • If you want your skin to look younger, with a luminous finish that older skin can lack.
  • If you want skincare benefits including the provision of nourishing moisture where your skin needs it most and helping your skin to retain that moisture better.
  • If you want the gentle, exfoliating effect it provides, improving skin cell turnover, revealing newer, younger skin cells beneath.

So, your skin not only looks better cosmetically, immediately after application, but continued use will go on benefiting your skin with a cumulative effect.

My top tip for smooth, all-over coverage is to apply CC cream using a makeup sponge. Use less product, with better results!

My top tip for smooth, all-over coverage is to apply CC cream using a makeup sponge. Use less product, with better results!

The Difference Between BB Creams and CC Creams

The difference between BB creams and CC creams is most apparent in the application as color corrector creams are lighter-textured products and glide on smoothly, providing skincare benefits for your skin including protection from the damaging effects of sunlight.

In addition, these complexion corrector creams provide more skincare benefits with ingredients designed to protect and nourish your skin. They are suitable even for oilier skin types.

This video featured above talks about the difference between BB cream and CC cream and recommends several different BBs as well as the Olay Total Effects CC Cream, the product that is my personal favorite (please see the illustration and my review below). In the video, the product used is the medium to dark shade but as you will read below, two lighter shades are also available.

My Personal Favorite Tone Correcting Cream

I love Olay's CC Cream, called Total Effects Tone Correcting Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15. To be honest, that is a bit of a mouthful—but then, it is a heck of a product!

Firstly, it is available in three shades (fair to light, light to medium, and medium to deep), so just about anyone can wear it.

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Secondly, it contains ingredients that are proven effective for improving the appearance of skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation. Olay calls this their "essential glucosamine complex."

The image shows the fair to light and light to medium shades. I tend to use the lighter (fair) shade during winter and swap to the medium shade during the summer months.

The image shows the fair to light and light to medium shades. I tend to use the lighter (fair) shade during winter and swap to the medium shade during the summer months.

What Is the Best CC Cream?

Reviewers have been raving about Clinique's Moisture Surge CC Cream. My daughter uses this product as she has sensitive skin and likes the 'nude' look it gives her skin (as a primary teacher, she does not like to go to work looking 'made-up'). As a gray-eyed blonde, she tends to choose the light-medium shade.

Clinique says that its moisture surge cream will restore skin's healthy glow. My daughter says she likes this product as she can wear it in three ways.

  1. As a spot treatment to dab on minor blemishes or redness.
  2. She can achieve light, all-over coverage by mixing it with her moisturizer before applying.
  3. She can achieve medium coverage by applying it all over with a dampened makeup sponge.

Clinique says that a fuller coverage can be achieved by wearing it under a foundation cream but my daughter has not personally tried this.

Over time, everyone's skin tone changes, and, depending on your age, skin type or ethnicity, it can look dull and tired, sallow and faded, or red and inflamed.

This product contains ingredients to reflect light away from those imperfections, making them appear less visible. It hydrates the skin as well as contains an SPF of 30 to provide protection.

Each shade helps to color correct any skin imperfections you have, immediately improving skin tone and helping your skin to look naturally radiant. It comes in several shades—very light, light, fresh peach, light-medium, medium, medium-deep and deep.

This Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream is my daughter's personal favorite.

This Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream is my daughter's personal favorite.

A Demo of How to Apply the Product

Making Your Choice: The Best CC Cream for Your Skin

There are so many different products on the market that you will need to do a little research to find the perfect product for you. Knowing the specific improvement you want to make to your skin will help you choose—as will knowing the amount of coverage you are looking for, or whether you want your CC cream to act as a color corrective primer under a BB cream.

I would love to hear your personal favorite product and what you have found it especially good for—as you will see with my Olay product choice, it doesn't have to be expensive to be brilliant!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do I still need to use an oil-free moisturizer with a CC cream if I have very oily skin?

Answer: Yes. You may also want to use a 'primer' for oily skin after moisturizing and before applying your CC cream. This will help the CC cream to stay in place throughout the day.

© 2013 Alison Graham


Alison Graham (author) from UK on May 25, 2015:

Hi Joanna14 - great to hear that CC cream is a product that has helped you. I have found it especially helpful for evening out my own skin-tone and I am pleased to learn that it is as effective on Rosacea.

Christine Hulme from SE Kent, England on May 22, 2015:

CC cream has been the solution for covering up my rosacia, which has been a real nuisance, especially as I work with the public.

Alison Graham (author) from UK on December 08, 2014:

Hi Audrey, thanks for your comment - yes I love my CC cream but I do not think you would ever need to put foundation over a CC cream, I think it would be either / or. I prefer to use the CC cream as it does not settle into any lines on the face the way a foundation can and it leaves skin looking natural but even-toned and seems to blur any imperfections (of which I have my share plus a few!) Thanks for the pin!

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 02, 2014:

Hi Alison - I have heard a lot about these skin creams in the last year, and it sounds like you are really sold on them. I wondered if you could still use your foundation over them. I amazes me that companies come up with better products all the time. They must spend a lot of time on development. This really interests me, and thank you for sharing your information. Pinning, Blessings, Audrey

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