Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Color Corrector Broad Spectrum SPF 30
1 fl. oz. for $35
Category:Makeup > Tinted Moisturizers/BB Creams > CC Cream
Last Updated:12.02.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Clinique's fragrance-free CC Cream reminds us of their BB cream in that both were made to capitalize on a popular trend in cosmetics, but neither product improves on what's already available. If you're loyal to Clinique, you may want to keep reading; otherwise, there's really nothing to be too excited about here.

If you're wondering what the difference is between CC creams and BB creams, here's the answer: It's all about marketing language, nothing more. Generally, a BB cream from a U.S. brand is akin to a tinted moisturizer, while a CC cream tends to be more like a liquid foundation. In reality, there is no rhyme or reason behind the product names when companies launch their versions of these products—they can be completely different from what you expect.

BB and CC creams typically provide sun protection and may or may not include beneficial ingredients such as antioxidants or skin-lightening agents (but the best ones do). Neither BB nor CC creams are as revolutionary as they're made out to be—it's just a new twist on tinted moisturizers and foundations.

Clinique's entry provides broad-spectrum sun protection from a mix of mineral and synthetic actives. The synthetic actives make this product potentially iffy to use right up to the eye, as you normally would a complexion-enhancing product like this, because synthetic sunscreen ingredients can be irritating if applied in the eye area.

This does contain a smattering of beneficial ingredients, but nothing that cannot be found in lots of other products, and it contains nothing that's all that corrective.

Clinique claims this product "creates a natural glow in seconds," and that's due to the satin-like finish it leaves once blended. The texture is creamy and notably thick, which isn't the best for a smooth application, but it's workable with just a bit of effort. Still, this doesn't feel as good as lots of foundations or even as good as some competing CC and BB creams, so our overall thinking is "Why bother?"

Still curious? This provides light to medium coverage, just like lots of liquid foundations, and is best for normal to dry skin not prone to breakouts.

As for the shades: They're quite good, and include options for fair to dark (but not very dark) skin tones. The Medium shade is a bit iffy because it tends to go on slightly peach, and then look more peachy as the day goes on. The darkest shade, Deep, isn't as dark as the name suggests, but it's a good color, as are Very Light, Light, and Light-Medium.

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Good shade range.
  • Goes on and feels somewhat thick, rather than smooth and lightweight.
  • Considering the hype, the formula doesn't have as many beneficial ingredients as it could.
  • Doesn't distinguish itself as a must-have product; lots of liquid foundations are easier to blend and look better on skin.

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%, Titanium Dioxide 5.2%, and Zinc Oxide 3.2%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Squalane, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Trehalose, Caffeine , Glycerin, Linoleic Acid, Lecithin, Stearic Acid, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitol, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-t-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Xanthan Gum, Silica, Alumina, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Tin Oxide, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.

Brand Overview

Clinique At-A-Glance

Strengths: One of the best selections of state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums loaded with ingredients that research has shown are of great benefit to skin; excellent sunscreens; several Redness Solutions products excel; an outstanding benzoyl peroxide product; good selection of self-tanning products; some very good cleansers and eye makeup removers; some unique mattifying products; a large and wholly impressive selection of foundations, many with reliable sun protection (and shades for darker skin tones); good concealers; some remarkable mascaras; much-improved eyeshadows; loose powder; blush products; some brilliant lipsticks and lip gloss; gel eyeliner; priced lower than most competing department-store lines.

Weaknesses: The three-step skincare routine, because of the bar soaps and irritant-laden clarifying lotions; jar packaging downgrades several otherwise top-notch moisturizers; incomplete routines for those prone to acne; skin-lightening products with either unproven or insufficient levels of lightening agents.

Estee Lauder-owned Clinique's tremendous success (the company's products are sold in over 13,000 department stores and in 110 countries) reshaped the way cosmetics lines identified themselves, sending the concept of line loyalty out to pasture. Today, cosmetics companies expand their market either by buying already established companies or by creating new ones, and Lauder has been adept at doing both. Of course, cosmetics companies keep this multiple-personality identity hidden from the consumer. If the general buying public realized that these apparently different companies were so intertwined with each other, how could they flaunt their independence and claim that their unparalleled formulations are secret or the best? It's hard to think Lauder (or any company) would, even if they could, keep secrets from one branch separate from the others. And as evidenced by the formulary similarities between brands, they don't!

The niche Clinique built launched the concept of cosmetics being "allergy-tested," "hypoallergenic," "100% fragrance-free," and "dermatologist tested." Of those marketing claims the only one with significance is "100% fragrance-free," which, for the most part, Clinique maintains (although it does add some fragrant extracts to a few products). Regarding allergy testing, unless you can see the results, what difference does it make if a product makes that claim? What if the test showed 20% of the women who used it had a sensitizing reaction, dryness, or irritation? Would Clinique highlight this, or is it just easier to default to the generic allergy-tested claim and leave such details out, figuring consumers won't ask for more? 

Moreover, "hypoallergenic" is a term not regulated by the FDA, so any product can use the word without having to substantiate the claim. "Dermatologist tested" is also bogus, because without published test results the term can easily mean nothing more than that a dermatologist picked up the product, looked at the container, and said "This looks good." And what about the dermatologists on Clinique's payroll? How do we know they're not the ones involved in testing, rather than sending the products out for independent, impartial evaluation (though how impartial can any study be that's paid for by the company making the product)?

Clinique declined any participation for this site, which included refusing to send us copies of the allergy studies they maintain have been performed for every product they sell. We find their unwillingness to help odd because, for the most part, we genuinely like most of their products. In fact, more than any other department-store line except Estee Lauder, Clinique is leading the way with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums, plus some formidable makeup. They also have their act together for sunscreens and have expanded their decades-old three-step skin-care routine to include water-soluble cleansers instead of bar soap. They also now have a second "Dramatically Different" moisturizer that's well-suited for those with normal to oily skin and FINALLY reformulated their longstanding water-and-wax yellow lotion.

The Clinique consultants, dressed in medical-looking white lab coats (Clinique's image in that sense was ahead of the times given today's plethora of doctor-designed skin-care lines), do their best to speak intelligently about skin-care routines, but for the most part they're trained to sell the products rather than to provide information about what substantiated research has shown about the skin's needs to look and feel its best.

The good news for you is that the chemists behind Clinique's arsenal of products have been keeping up on this exciting information, and formulating superior products in response. We wouldn't blindly and solely bank on Clinique as your skin-care solution, but more than ever what they offer is, despite some far-out claims and problematic products, what epitomizes advanced skin care for all ages. Shop carefully and you'll leave confident that you are purchasing products with solid science, not just marketing hype, behind them.

Turning to makeup, Clinique continues to offer a vast palette of colors and textures, especially in their huge and imposing selection of foundations, many of which feature effective sunscreens. In fact, this category has become the most compelling reason to shop Clinique's makeup collection. Without a doubt the numerous formulas offer something for every skin type and almost every skin color. The shade selection has improved considerably, with more neutrals and a broader range than ever before. You still need to use caution and watch out for peach-toned duds, but for the most part finding a natural-looking match shouldn't be a frustrating experience, and the counter personnel are happy to provide samples.

Although the foundation and powder shades take darker skin tones into account, the blush, eye pencil, and most of the lipstick shades do not. Perhaps that will change in the future, as Clinique beautifully updated their eyeshadow collection with ultra-smooth textures and deeper colors that show up on darker skin.

Compliments are also due for Clinique's updated makeup tester units. They are well-organized, labeled with product name and price, and easily accessible without a salesperson's help. And speaking of salespeople, most of the Clinique consultants we encounter go above and beyond to provide assistance and to answer any questions we had (even if we didn't always agree with their responses). Those white lab coats don't mean medical expertise, but we'll take outstanding customer service over pseudoscience any day!

The bottom line is that, despite a few shortcomings, Clinique is one of the most comprehensive (and comparably affordable) department-store makeup lines, and it is completely understandable why they enjoy such broad appeal.

Note: Clinique is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Clinique does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Team.

For more information about Clinique, call (800) 419-4041 or visit www.clinique.com

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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CC Claims are Valid

After all the BB/CC hype, I decided to give one a try. I opted for the CC cream which claimed to have more coverage. I am pleased with the product. Coverage is good and my skin does not get oily during the day. I am surprised that some find this difficult to blend because I find it easy to apply. After a serum and lotion, the CC cream goes on easily. I recommend this to all who want a light foundation with medium coverage. (dark spots are also nicely camouflaged and there's no irritation.

Reviewed by
Not for oily skin, very cakey

I do have oily skin and realize it does say more for dry skin. I received it with the gift with purchase recently and thought I would try it. I put a light gel moisturizer on with sunscreen first, then the product. I was not able to blend at all hardly. I used a sponge, brush, and fingers, when this stuff starts drying it's almost impossible to move. For me the drying started as soon as it touched my skin. I put some great powder over it, but within a few hours it was cakey, wearing off, oily.

Reviewed by
Brenda M.
I really like this cc cream

This foundation gives great coverage but looks natural at the same time. It feels very light on the skin. My skin has a pretty glow when I wear this. I have not had any problems with irritation in the eye area and I apply it right up to my lower lash line. This foundation wears well through out the day.

Reviewed by
My New Favourite

I LOVE this foundation. Using other Clinique foundations before, I thought I'd try this one, and it has become my new favourite. I have mild Rosacea on my cheeks, and found this coverage to be just the ticket. I was using the 'Redness Solutions', which I liked, but it was more matte than I prefer. I swapped to this, saw an immediate difference. As it's more tacky, use a brush to blend. You can wear it without powder. Use sparingly... SO natural and slightly dewy, great coverage. I adore this!!!

Reviewed by
Christina S.
it works

I have used Clinique products for decades. I prefer a natural look in makeup and have tried many combinations over the years. The Repairwear serum actually prevents stress breakouts on my face and neck. I now wear it all the time. I apply CC over the serum, blending CC with a brush and the result is good. CC does even out the redness and appearance of dark spots on my face. I finish with a powder to set everything and the finish lasts for most of the day. It works for me.

Reviewed by
I like this

I like this. I think the reason it gets bad reviews, is more implied by the name CC. It is essentially a moisturizing foundation with SPF and a fair amount of it. It is a bit thick and thus harder to put on, but it stays and doesn't turn funny colors. I like a dewy look, as a matte looks terrible on me. This really lasts and has good coverage. It doesn't hide my red, but nothing else does. This is generally flattering.

Reviewed by
This is worth trying

I think it is worth trying. I have tried a few BB creams which to me, are nothing more than tinted moisturizer. This is, to me a nice light makeup. I use a damp sponge and it blends great and holds up on my oily/aging skin. As with all Clinique foundations it has a pink under tone. Why do they all have to have that??? But I had success with the light /med in my light yellow/pink skin. In fact it is a wlcome break from all the matte ones I have used. Plus its easy.

Reviewed by

I was disappointed in this. Indeed as Paula's review states, it is not that different from a BB product. I had hoped it would be more moisturizing and easy to apply. It is somewhat thick and is hard to apply smoothly, looking choppy. Hard to blend to even finish.

Reviewed by
langdon s.
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