Editor’s Note: The Korean beauty trend shows no sign of dying down, and I’m a major fan of all of the amazing products that are finally making their way to the United States. Korean CC creams are one of the many products that are rising in popularity here, and they offer easy fixes to blemishes, dark spots, and other complexion issues. It’s often hard to choose between Korean CC creams, so make sure you check out our guide to purchasing the best product below. Always purchase the cream that will work for your skin type if you want to achieve the best results.
- What Are CC Creams?
- What’s the Difference Between BB Creams and CC Creams?
- Why Korean CC Creams?
- What to Look for in the Best Korean CC Creams?
- Top 6 Best Korean CC Creams 2024
- Guide to Buying the Best Korean CC Creams
- What Kind of CC Cream Is Best for My Skin Type?
- What Shade of CC Cream Is Best for Me?
- What Should I Look for in a CC Cream Beside Coverage and Skin Compatibility?
- BB Creams or CC Creams? Which One Should I Use?
- Can I Use a CC Cream as a Standalone Product?
- What Kind of Skin Prep Should I Follow Before Using a CC Cream?
- What’s the Best Way to Apply CC Cream?
- What Are the Advantages of Using Korean CC Creams?
What Are CC Creams?
The CC in CC Cream stands for ‘Color Correcting’, ‘Complexion Correcting’ or ‘Color Control’. CC Creams are used as a makeup item to cover up age spots, dark spots, acne scars, tissue scars, redness, pits, pores, sallow patches, and so on. The end goal is to get an even toned, clean, and healthy looking complexion.
What’s the Difference Between BB Creams and CC Creams?
Both BB Creams and CC Creams are primarily used to create an even skin tone. CC Creams are mostly used with, or instead of, a foundation. This is because their main goal is to provide concealment of flaws and total coverage. CC Creams address skin issues like rosacea, sallowness, dryness, aging, etc., to create a clear and even-toned complexion.
CC Creams provide cosmetic solutions which are similar to makeup items, while BB Creams provide long term repair and rejuvenation solutions for your skin problems. With CC Creams, the effect is instant and not long lasting.
Why Korean CC Creams?
CC Creams originated in Singapore and are a spin-off of BB Creams. Their popularity soared in South Korea with their branding as tinted moisturizers. Since then, Korean CC Creams have been gaining in popularity across the globe.
The other reason for their widespread usage over non-Korean CC Creams is due to the advanced formulas they use. The Korean patents’ approval and granting system is much faster than the system in the west. Newer makeup and skincare formulas are approved and launched much more frequently in South Korea than they are in the western hemisphere. Due to this, their formulas make use of the latest know-how in pharmaceutical technology and medicine, making them much more advanced in composition than their slower moving western counterparts.
What to Look for in the Best Korean CC Creams?
- Coverage should be the single biggest factor to consider when buying a Korean CC Cream. You are using it to conceal your skin problems and cover them up to create a smooth complexion.
- Compatibility with your skin type should be next on your agenda. A formula that works for one skin type may not work as well for another.
- Price, as always, will be an important factor in buying any cosmetic item. Most CC Creams tend to be expensive, so choose wisely.
Based on the above criteria, here’s our list of the Best Korean CC Creams available online:
Top 6 Best Korean CC Creams 2024
Although we’ve already recommended the ‘Your Skin But Better’ CC Cream as the best Korean CC Cream, this iteration of it makes it on our list owing to its high SPF factor. With a rating of 50+, and the heavily tinted moisturizing coverage, this cream is a must-have item in your travel kit. You can skip sunscreen as well as foundation and use this product as a standalone sunscreen + tinted moisturizer. It brightens up your skin in addition to hiding all kinds of blemishes, dark spots, and red patches. It’s good for sensitive skin as the formula is free of parabens. It also provides decent coverage for tissue scars.
Pro tip: This line is heavily tinted and the shades offered run darker than they appear. Order a shade lighter than your skin tone for the perfect match.
Finish: Matte finish with skin brightening effect.
Recommended for: Aging as well as sensitive skin.
- It’s a gentle CC Cream for aging skin with dark spots, wrinkles, and sallow patches.
- It’s available in a travel friendly mini tube.
- It is the best CC Cream for total coverage.
- It has long staying power and you can go without topping it up for an entire day.
- It is good for sensitive skin as it is free of harmful parabens.
- The formula is very light, glides on easily, and doesn’t make you feel greasy or oiled up.
- This CC Cream can be used instead of a foundation as a standalone tinted moisturizer and primer.
- Your makeup stays in place even in high temperatures and humid conditions.
- It’s too expensive for daily use.
- One tube barely holds a few teaspoons of the product.
- The medicine like smell might be a turn off for some people.
Etude is an emerging Korean skincare brand. It is well known in Korea for its facial creams and makeup items. The Etude House ‘Correct and Care’ CC Cream is an 8-in-1 cream that functions as an effective sunscreen with an SPF of 30, has anti-aging elements that work on reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and is a water based cream that provides instant skin whitening effect.
This cream is ideal for those who have no skin problems and no sensitivity issues. Although this CC Cream provides a slightly glossy or silky finish, it isn’t as moisturizing as CC creams usually are. This also leads it to cling to dry patches and pores a few hours after application. However, it can be built on easily and blends in well with other cosmetic products.
Pro tip: Use it in combination with a good moisturizing cream to avoid dry patches. Avoid it if you have dry skin.
Finish: Glossy, silky finish.
Recommended for: Normal Skin.
- It provides good value for money as it is comparatively cheaper than the other Korean CC Creams available online.
- It’s a very lightweight CC Cream that blends in nicely with most skin tones.
- It provides good value for money as a single tube could last for about 3 to 4 months even with everyday usage.
- It provides very light coverage.
- It isn’t good for sensitive skin as it tends to dry skin out with consistent usage.
- Since it’s low in moisture content, it sticks to dry patches on your face and makes them stand out.
This is one of the first CC Creams to use a water-based formula instead of an oil-based formula. If you have oily skin with problems like greasiness, and especially, stickiness caused by makeup items, you can use this cream to address those issues. This unique formula is the winner of quite a few beauty awards from premier magazines like Cosmo and InStyle.
This formula is designed to keep your skin looking fresh and youthful under extreme weather conditions like high temperatures, humidity, and biting cold. The water based moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated for a few hours until you top it up again. It also has a high SPF and PA+ rating so you can step outside secure in the knowledge that your sunblock is in place.
Pro tip: Apply a double layer with some extra product under the eyes to get better coverage.
Finish: Dewy finish with a toned up, healthy glow.
Recommended for: All Skin Types.
- This is a cruelty free product that doesn’t contain any ingredients derived from animals.
- It is good for sensitive skin as the formula is free of sulfates, phthalates, and parabens.
- Has an SPF 30, PA++ rating to provide complete protection from UVA and UVB rays.
- It tones up the skin which makes it look younger and healthier.
- It provides light coverage. You’ll need additional makeup products to even out your skin tone.
- It has no staying power and needs to be re-applied every few hours.
- Although it has a hydrating base, it requires the use of a moisturizer to keep the skin from drying out.
- It only comes in one shade and is more suitable for lighter skin tones.
- It’s mildly scented and might cause breakouts if you suffer from acne problems.
Although Mother Made isn’t a very well-known brand yet in the United States, Korean beauty bloggers swear by the goodness of ‘The AquaLight CC Cream’. It is an all in one product that can replace several items in your makeup box. It comes with the goodness of a primer, has a hydrating base to keep your skin moisturized as long as you wear it, is deeply tinted and provides medium to high coverage, and has an SPF 50, PA +++ rating to block harmful radiations.
This is a very lightweight formula that repairs damage caused by UV rays, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, age lines, and sunspots, improves the skin barrier with intense hydrating agents like hyaluronic acid and ceramides, and blends easily into the skin. It doesn’t settle into wrinkles and pores, tones up the skin, and keeps it hydrated with a natural looking glow.
Pro tip: Use it with a tinted moisturizer or bronzer if you have a dark skin tone.
Finish: Smooth, natural, matte finish.
Recommended for: All Skin Types.
- It has a very high SPF and PA rating, making it a good option for outdoor usage.
- It is a 4-in-1 formula and can be used as a standalone makeup item.
- It’s good for sensitive skin as there’s no synthetic fragrance to cause breakouts.
- It’s free of parabens.
- It’s a cruelty free product.
- This formula boasts of herbal and grain extracts that keep the skin looking younger and firmer.
- The product is lightweight and easily buildable, i.e., works well with other products.
- Only suitable for light and pale skin tones - not for dark or olive skin tones.
- Some customers have found its natural citrus smell too overpowering.
Although ‘It Cosmetics’ is a US brand, these CC Creams are made in Korea and distributed in the United States under the ‘It Cosmetics’ brand name. Hence their inclusion in our list for Best Korean CC Creams.
This particular CC Cream formula is best suited for those who have oily skin. It is available in 10 different shades ranging from fair, medium fair, light, tan, to honey and deep. If you can’t find an exact match, try to mix two or more shades to get a better outcome.
‘Your Skin But Better’ is one of the most well-loved and widely used Korean CC Creams. Apart from catering to a wide range of skin tones, it also boasts of anti-aging properties, has a high SPF factor of 40+ and provides a pore-less finish. It has a long staying power and keeps the skin hydrated for hours.
It is a good day wear CC Cream, ideal for usage during summers and on the beach. It provides medium to high coverage, conceals all spots and pores, doesn’t settle into wrinkles and age lines, and creates a smooth skin tone with a glowing matte finish. It doesn’t dry the skin out or get cakey even after hours of application.
Pro tip: Use a damp sponge to apply it evenly and get the best results. Let it rest for a while before topping it with other makeup products.
Finish: Matte finish.
Recommended for: Good for all skin types. Especially recommended for oily and aging skin.
- It’s the perfect Korean CC Cream for aging skin.
- It’s the best Korean CC Cream for oily skin issues.
- It provides full coverage for all kinds of skin issues.
- It stays on throughout the day.
- There are no leakage or running issues even in high temperatures and humidity.
- It requires more than one layer to provide coverage for stubborn issues like rosacea.
- It is too expensive to be used daily.
Erborian is a widely used Korean skin therapy brand. It is extremely popular not only in Korea, but also in France.
This CC Cream formula, that boasts of a high-definition finish, is also a foundation CC Cream. That means it can be used instead of foundation. It has orange undertones and works better with darker skin tones. It provides total coverage and creates a smooth skin texture with a dewy glow. The product oxidizes after application so waiting for a few minutes for it to settle in is a good idea. It’s good for sensitive skin and doesn’t cause breakouts or acne flare-ups after use. It has some natural ingredients like honey and Vitamin E that help your skin improve over time with consistent usage. It can also be used as an overnight moisturizing cream. It has an SPF rating of broad spectrum 25, which means it provides sunscreen protection from a broad range of UVA as well as UVB rays.
Pro tip: Mix it with some white foundation to get a proper match if you have a pale skin tone.
Finish: Dewy finish with a bright glow.
Recommended for: Good for all skin types. Works really well with dry and combination skin.
- It’s ideal for usage with dark and olive skin tones.
- It provides a nice dewy finish for dry skin without appearing greasy.
- It blends in well with other makeup items.
- It’s good for acne prone skin.
- It’s a very lightweight formula yet super moisturizing and hydrating.
- It’s too orange to work on pale skin tones.
- It doesn’t have long staying power and needs to be topped up after every few hours.
- It’s quite expensive.
Guide to Buying the Best Korean CC Creams
Besides the 6 Korean CC Creams listed above, there are other Korean CC Creams that are used extensively in Korea but remain obscure in the United States. Chief amongst these are 3W CLINIC Crystal Whitening CC Cream and Ekel Snail CC Cream. Korean beauty bloggers sing many praises of these CC Creams and they’re frequently included in their top ten best Korean CC Cream lists.
Yet others like The Face Shop Face It Aura CC Cream and Lioele Dollish Cera-V CC Cream, are gaining traction here but aren’t available for purchase online at the moment. These Korean CC Creams have high SPF ratings, provide broad range coverage from sun damage, are multi-purpose and decently priced. Too bad they are out of reach for now. However, the ones on our list that are available are their equals or better.
We’ve already learned that Korean CC Creams are preferred over non-Korean CC Creams because they have fresher formulas, employ the latest technology and know-how, work as effective sunscreen lotions and have a faster window of improvements owing to the Korean governments speedy approval of newer patents.
Here’s a little more information about these all-in-one magic tubes that will aid you in selecting the perfect Korean CC Cream.
What Kind of CC Cream Is Best for My Skin Type?
Based on the ingredients in the CC Cream, your skin sensitivity, and the level of coverage you require, here’s our cheat sheet for selecting the right Korean CC Cream:
- Oily Skin: Water based formulas that do not add to your sebum secretion woes, preferably those that provide a matte finish with medium to high coverage.
- Normal Skin: Dewy finish formulas that provide light to medium coverage.
- Dry Skin: Moisturizer based formulas with a dewy or silky finish.
- Aging Skin: Go for CC Cream formulas rich in antioxidants, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.
- Dark Spots and Tissue Scars: Choose CC Creams with broad spectrum UV coverage that have high SPF and PF ratings, preferably with medium to high coverage, and skin hydrating agents.
- Sensitive Skin: Stick to CC Creams that use natural ingredients and are free of fragrances.
What Shade of CC Cream Is Best for Me?
There are limited options when it comes to choosing the right shade. Thankfully, most of these creams are heavily tinted so you can always mix a product or two to get the right match for your skin tone.
What Should I Look for in a CC Cream Beside Coverage and Skin Compatibility?
The latest formulas available in the market also provide additional perks like skin brightening, primer functionality, anti-aging properties, complete pore coverage, gradual wrinkles reduction with consistent usage, high SPF and PA coverage, deep moisturizing, and so on. Once you’ve figured out the coverage and compatibility factors, choose a CC Cream that offers as many of the above listed benefits as possible. This will also ensure you get the most bang for your buck as CC Creams tend to be more expensive than other skincare and cosmetic items like BB Creams and concealers.
BB Creams or CC Creams? Which One Should I Use?
BB Creams are designed to provide skincare solutions in the long term, along with some makeup perks like medium to light coverage and sun-blocking.
CC Creams, on the other hand, are geared to replace makeup items like concealers, foundations, and primers. They are like deeply tinted moisturizing primers that also double up as foundation and concealers. And when it comes to Korean CC Creams, which have high SPF and PA ratings, you can totally skip your sunscreen lotions too. CC Creams may or may not provide any skincare benefits in the long run, unlike BB Creams.
Can I Use a CC Cream as a Standalone Product?
Yes! You totally can. CC Creams are basically just advanced concealer/foundation formulas that also provide the benefits of a primer and sunscreen.
Pro tip: Use them as a makeup item during day time rather than as a skincare lotion for healing and protection in the long term.
What Kind of Skin Prep Should I Follow Before Using a CC Cream?
- Like all pre-makeup application routines, you need to wash and cleanse your face. Use an additional pore cleanser to get all the gunk out of your pores.
- Pat your face dry.
- Use a moisturizer even if the CC Cream boasts of a skin hydrating formula.
- Use a primer if the CC Cream doesn’t mention the functionality of a primer in its features.
- If you’re going to use a BB Cream, this is where it goes. Let it settle before you use a CC Cream.
You’re now all set for the application of CC Cream.
What’s the Best Way to Apply CC Cream?
Although CC Creams provide better coverage than BB Creams, they’re very lightweight and do not have a thick texture. Depending on the evenness of your skin tone, you’ll need a little to a lot of product to get full coverage. Unlike BB Creams, a pea sized dollop will not be enough. Additional dabs of the cream, on problem areas, may be required depending on the texture of your skin and its pigmentation issues.
Use a brush to dab it on to your face in short strokes. Then use a beauty blender or sponge to spread it evenly across your face and neck.
If you’re going to use concealers, foundation, and other products, they’ll go on after the CC Cream, i.e. Moisturizer -> Primer(Optional) -> BB Cream(Optional) -> CC Cream -> Concealer(Optional) -> Foundation -> Setting Powder/Compact, in that order.
What Are the Advantages of Using Korean CC Creams?
- The biggest advantage of using a CC Cream is that you can replace a couple of cosmetics with a single tube of CC Cream. Foundation and concealer are two products you can totally skip. And if you’re using a Korean CC Cream, you can also forgo your sunscreen. On the flip side, as CC Creams provide more than one function, they’re usually more on the expensive side of the price spectrum. Even if they do serve the function of a few makeup items, they’re not very economical for daily use.
- They’re big time savers if you’re in a hurry. Their multipurpose applications save time and effort while getting ready. You can head out after a few brush strokes and sponge dabs, instead of spending time on a long-winded makeup application routine.
- Korean CC Creams have a broad spectrum of SPF ratings – much more advanced than the regular SPF sunblocks. These formulas provide protection from a wide range of harmful UV radiations.
- Korean CC Creams usually make use of natural ingredients, herbal extracts, and vegan formulas. They put emphasis on avoiding the usage of harmful chemicals that are too harsh on the skin. This makes them much more amenable to daily use. You can safely avoid breakouts, dry skin, and other makeup related problems when you’re using Korean CC Creams.
- Due to the faster system of granting patents and approving innovations and research in South Korea, Korean CC Creams have the most advanced formulas and provide better benefits than regular CC Creams. For example, the latest formulas with water-based skin hydration are quite an improvement on the oil-based formulas relied on so far.
- In addition to providing a high level of coverage, some Korean CC Creams are also designed to create a skin brightening effect. These formulas tone up and tighten your skin giving it a more youthful appearance, and provide it with a healthy glow all day long.
- Unlike traditional cosmetics, Korean CC Creams are light, blend in nicely with facial skin, and are very camera friendly. No more caked up or greasy faced pictures – just perfectly natural looking skin and pretty memories to share.
Was this guide helpful in letting you decide what to look for in a CC Cream? Do you now know about the various Korean CC Cream brands available in the United States? We’ve also provided ample information on how to go about choosing the best Korean CC Cream for your skin type and coverage requirements, how to prep your skin before application of CC Creams, and the best way to apply CC Creams. Do the advantages of using a Korean CC Cream have you thinking about investing in one? Good! Go right ahead!