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You May Never Go Back To Foundation After Meeting This CC Cream

You May Never Go Back To Foundation After Meeting This CC Cream

it cosmetics cc cream original matte illuminating
*This post contains half product purchased by me and half gifted to me as PR. For more information on how this works, please click the Disclosure tab. 

It’s been no secret that I have expressed my love for the IT Cosmetics CC Cream online in some form or another for many years. I am once again here to tell you more about this product and hopefully answer some of the questions I see floating around the internet – as the hype still hasn’t died down! No, seriously – this might be one of the best most innovative products the beauty industry has seen in recent years, and that’s not even hyperbole. 

it cosmetics cc cream original matte illuminating

So let’s rewind just a little bit and talk about IT Cosmetics. Founded by Jamie Kern Lima and her husband Paulo 11 years ago, IT Cosmetics was born because of Jamie’s rosacea that impacted her day to day work. What was it? On air as a morning news anchor. She found that her usual foundation didn’t hold up for the long hours in the morning, and would reveal the redness on her nose – that she was hyper aware of because of how it looked on camera. She decided to gamble it all quitting her job and developing IT Cosmetics with this in mind, and would later become the first and only female CEO in L’Oreal history. Last year Jamie and her husband left the brand after selling it in a historic sale to L’Oreal, but her original ethos of letting the true you shine whilst protecting and looking after your skin remains right at the core of IT. 

it cosmetics cc cream original matte illuminating
this is what happens to mine – they get so used up and loved that I have to squeeze every last drop out!

Anyway, on to the CC Cream. It comes in three types, there’s the Original, the Matte, and the Illuminating. I have all three here to show you, so you can decide for yourself which one you prefer, or lean more toward. Now if I’m honest, the ideal blend is a mix of two of them together – but I’m fully aware that’s very extra and pricey, so hopefully this breakdown will help you decide the right one for you, should you be wishing to make a purchase! And remember, only buy it if you really need it – as always! A lot of people say it’s fine without a primer, but it’s worth noting that my two cents is – don’t skip the primer. Listen, primer exists for a reason and I find it enhances the CC Cream’s excellent staying power even better. So for that reason, I would always recommend first applying primer.

left: bare skin
right: only it cosmetics cc cream original in shade fair (no primer, concealer or any other makeup)

Original* (pr gift)
Ah the Original version. The OG. Where it all began. Jamie said it took her 200 tries to get this product exactly right, and it launched onto the market in 2013 – at a time when BB Creams were having a moment in the western market, but as of yet no CC Cream. A lot of people dismissed it at first – myself included – perhaps disenfranchised by the pretty terrible western BB Creams that didn’t do a lot of what they promised. But, this product soon shone through and rose to the top, making it their best selling product with tens of thousands of positive reviews on Sephora & Cult Beauty. A medium buildable foundation cream with the healing properties of skincare, the Original CC Cream is a part dewy and part traditional foundation finish that leaves the skin glowy and flawless. It’s anti-ageing, hydrating and brightening, with hyaluronic acid, collagen, strengthening soy extract, aromatic oils, antioxidants and vitamins A, B, C and E that actually look after the skin while the foundation is applied. I love this product, I tend to lean toward it more in the winter – aside from when I am mixing it – and I switch to the matte in the summer for a better coverage. It’s worth noting this one is not oil free.

left: bare skin
right: only it cosmetics cc cream matte in shade fair (no primer, concealer or any other makeup)

Matte* (one pr, one bought)
The matte version of the CC Cream launched a few years after the original, and with it came an expansion of more shades, including my shade Fair, which previously wasn’t available. (The palest was shade Light). This opened up the market a bit more to more customers, and was when I started to become aware of how great this product is. The matte version as you would guess, is a lot more matte than the original. You will notice when you squeeze it out of the tube that it’s a lot thicker and denser than the original, and this can be a bit daunting at first. You’ll soon learn on a few applications that less is more – and this product spreads and blends really well. You only need a tiny dab to do a full face. What I love about this is even though it’s a matte finish, it’s not a one textured flat looking matte. It still looks like your skin, but has a matte overlay to it. I’m not a fan at all of heavy skin makeup, hence why I tend to steer clear of foundation fully these days – and this isn’t remotely daunting at all. It doesn’t slip into any creases or wrinkles, and sits really nicely on the skin. If I had to pick just one, it would always be the matte. It can be made more dewy with a good primer (see what did I tell you about primer?) like the Glossier Futuredew, which works perfectly.

left: bare skin
right: only it cosmetics cc cream illuminating in shade fair (no primer, concealer or other makeup)

Illuminating (purchased)
And last but not least the most recent addition to the lineup – and with this one came more new shades too – is the Illuminating finish. This one is a lot lighter than the other two, and blends out beautifully into the most flawlessly subtle of the three. This one is somehow even more colour correcting than the other two, so if you have darker circles under the eyes or uneven pigmentation you wish to cover (that’s okay! you’re beautiful as you are but it’s okay to want to use makeup, too) then this one may be for you. You may also like this one if you much prefer a lighter finish, or your skin is quite clear and blemish free. I’m having a stress breakout on my cheeks at the moment, so this one for me currently doesn’t offer the full coverage I would want at the moment – but I’m hopeful it would in the Summer when the sun has helped clear my acne. I’m absolutely loving applying this with the matte and mixing them together to create that blend of matte and illuminating. I get SO many compliments (not even being bigheaded here, I literally do haha) when I wear this combo, and even though I feel self conscious about my cheek acne, people marvel at how beautiful and glowy my skin is all the time. The biggest compliment I got was that it looked like I had been on holiday. (I had not.)

it cosmetics cc cream original matte illuminating swatches
both images above depict swatches as shown:
far left: original, shade fair
middle left: illuminating, shade fair
middle right: matte, shade fair
far right: matte, shade light

It’s worth noting as my shade is Fair, most of mine are in the shade Fair. I was gifted one in the shade Light – so I have included that for reference and so you can see the difference on my skin. In the summer when I am tanned, I mix together Fair and Light to create my perfect shade! For a full look at all the shades in the CC Cream range, I found this blog post & photo of swatches here to be the most accurate. There may look like there is only a subtle difference between Fair and Light but when covering the whole face – if you are quite pale – you will notice there actually is a significant jump. I find the perfect summer mix to be the blend. As of 2019 however, a new shade has been added in Fair-Light, which when I’ve used up the ones I have, I will be purchasing to try.

It is also worth noting the slight difference in SPF. The original and the illuminating both carry an SPF 50 but the matte carries an SPF 40.

See Also

One last and final thing to note is there is a slight disparity between the packaging in the US (left) and the packaging in the UK (right). This doesn’t indicate a fake product, and is worth noting that the box and the tube both look different. I purchased this matte one in Sephora on my last trip to Vegas, as my current one is low! The one on the right is the shade Light I was sent recently.

For me the ideal coverage is the mix of two, I either mix Original or Illuminating with Matte, and that makes my perfect foundation base of a slightly dewy slightly matte coverage. This little dreamy combo has lasted me through humid Maldives days, sweaty daytime Ibiza DJ gigs, poolside photos, rainy days in London, you name it. Even when I do go to foundation, I always mix a drop of my favourite foundation with this CC Cream! It lasts 16+ hours and I find doesn’t crease or oxidise. I have a slightly oily nose and I do find it oils up a bit on my nose after a long wear, but rather than adding powder as I hate the finish of powder, I just bring it with me on a long day with a brush and merely touch it up on my nose. I know this does make it a bit pricey.. contemplating buying two and then on top of that I really would wholeheartedly recommend the brush by IT that is designed with the CC in mind.. but it’s not essential. I would never falsely recommend anything and honestly? This brush really does the job. I only ever use it and I have approximately 500 other brushes I could use, but after trial and error I mean, they know what they’re talking about.

Honestly I could continue on but I think you get the gist. This product for me has been a lifesaver and a pick me up at times when I haven’t felt at my best. It’s easy to use, helps my skin with it’s skincare properties and I get compliments all the time. What’s not to love? Maybe just two things actually… the lack of shade range which I’m hopeful is expanding all the time – 12 shades really is not good enough in this modern makeup world.. AND the price tag. It’s a bit hefty. £32 a bottle prices it out for a lot of buyers, but what I can tell you is this baby lasts. Oh boy does it last. See that used up one in the pic above? I started that one in February 2019 and I use it every day. So.. maybe it’s not so pricey in the long run – just upfront. Especially with the brush which is a further £36.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if for you personally it’s worth the purchase, but if it helps – I’d recommend it and talk about it until the sun comes up. I think my results speak for themselves. What do you think?

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View Comments (10)
  • This is such a fantastic and comprehensive review, thank you! I am a real makeup novice & this sounds like the kind of thing that would be a good foundation-esque starting point for me. You’ve mentioned the brush – would you maybe be able to add a video as how best to apply the foundation? (I told you I’m novice…!)
    Primer recommendations would be great too! xxx

    • Of course! There’s quite a few on my instagram page under the IGTV tab – it’s the foundation I use in every makeup tutorial! But I shall include this in the next vlog 🙂 thank you so much! It’s so easy to use I promise, it’s perfect for a starting foundation!

  • I love the original formula – am yet to try the other two! What is the brush called that you would recommend? Thank you!

  • I was SO excited to try this, but when I looked up the ingredients to check if it was vegan I was horrified to discover it contains snail slime! Kudos for it cosmetics for not trying hide it under some weird name though.

    • ah yeah, this is quite common in Korean (and a lot more western beauty than people know!) skincare/cc cream items and is meant to have anti-wrinkle properties as well as being packed with nutrients and helps with a variety of issues- acne, redness, soothing, hydration, anti-aging! I agree it’s great they don’t hide it and keep it honest and early in the ingredients list so it’s very clear. not ideal for vegans. I am hopeful behind the scenes they are working on a vegan equivalent! it’s not garden snails or anything, lab snails that aren’t killed after. but would be down to the individual person! I have used a lot of Korean beauty with it in and while it doesn’t bother me.. im not sure ive seen any incredible results with it that couldn’t be substituted out in future!

  • Great article! I worked for the brand in London for nearly two years, and I will never ever use anything else for a base. It’s just THAT GOOD. Esp now at the age of 41 when my skin is starting to really need all those added skincare benefits! I will say though, the OG and the illuminating is the EXACT same formula, the only difference is the finish (as we were taught in our training). It does certainly seem like the illuminating is more sheer but for me personally, I use less as I don’t want to have a disco ball face haha! I totally agree about mixing of the finishes though and would highly recommend (I have to mix anyway as I’m in-between fair and fair-light!). On that note, just as a warning, the fair-light has quite a pink undertone, whereas light is more yellow. Many people think the new shades are the colour below and the colour above mixed half and half but they’re really not! Hope that helps 🙂

    • oh this is really helpful!! interesting.. so the finish on the illuminating perhaps where it’s a little more ‘sheen’/’sparkle’ it creates the image that it’s a sheerer coverage as it’s more reflective? and that is also really helpful about fair-light having a pink undertone! I am yet to swatch it in person. when the stores reopen and life goes back to normal… I will be popping to boots to do so! couldn’t agree more, I so rarely use anything else as a base! ive tried a few other products but I’d be really curious on your unfiltered opinion on any other products of theirs you think are worth their salt? thank you for your comment!

  • I bought myself the OG in shade fair after seeing you use it in just about every makeup vid. Before that I was using dream matte mousse (since school, actually) because I don’t really like foundation. I really like it although I’m not sure how good it is on mature skin. I got my mum (50s) to try it because she always wants a little brightening and it seemed to sit on her skin rather than blending nicely like it does for me. It’s a shame because the skincare features would be ideal. Maybe the illuminating one would be better since it’s lighter?

    • hmm interesting yeah it may be sitting on the skin a bit too heavy.. did she try it with a primer? I wonder if the right kind of primer – more of a moisturising primer rather than a matte primer that it might ‘sit’ on top of might help? I can recommend glossier future dew for this, it’s incredible as a base for cc cream, so light and airy and moisturising! I’d definitely look into popping into your local store (when stuff reopens) if you don’t want to commit to a purchase of the illuminating and get her to try that one instead! I find it has a much lighter finish down to the sheen on it and it might reflect better on her skin. I’m glad you like it and hope your mum finds some good results with it eventually too!

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