Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Review

charlotte magic cream


This article originally appeared in *Insider* on July 10, 2020
Written by Brittany Loggins, Photo by Charlotte Tilbury/ Facebook

While I wouldn’t say that I have the driest skin of all time, I would wager that it’s probably up there. If you were to take your fingernail to my leg in the winter, you could draw an image in ash. Unfortunately, the same thing can be said for my face — especially my cheeks.

I’ve tried lots of moisturizers over the years, from thin-but-refreshing to mask-like, but most of them have one commonality: as soon as I wash my face, the moisture dries up. It’s as though it magically disappears and I’m back to living in a desert that I never wanted to visit in the first place. It was this unfortunate situation that led me to Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream.

If you’re skeptical of anything with the word “magic” in the title, just know that I’m usually right there with you. I also tend to be hesitant about makeup brands crossing over into skincare, as the two categories are drastically different (though often conflated). That said, with a desperation borne out of necessity, I purchased a sample size. And then a full size. And I also now take it with me when I travel. It’s that good.



Before using Charlotte’s Magic Cream (left) and after (right). You can tell my skin is noticeably brighter and more hydrated with the cream. 

I use the Magic Cream as a night cream, though it’s perfectly suited for daytime as well (just remember your SPF). I slather a generous portion onto my face and neck, focusing primarily on my cheeks and forehead. It’s thick and hydrating enough to be used on its own, but if you want to layer it over a serum and under an oil (always layer thinnest to thickest!), that’s perfectly fine, too.

Every time I use this cream I wake up with noticeably softer, more moisturized skin. I’ve also found that small wrinkles are noticeably diminished.

Now, if you love using it at night and that’s enough for you, godspeed. That said, it can also be used as a moisturizing primer under makeup, especially if you wear a drying, high-coverage foundation like Estee Lauder’s Double Wear or some equivalent. The great thing about using it as a primer is that it will add a noticeable sheen to your skin that definitely shines out from under your makeup. If you struggle with oiliness on your T-zone or chin, just focus the moisturizer on the hollows and apples of your cheeks.

One other serious upside to this product that I’ve discovered is that it helps to heal my skin from sunburns and blemishes. I put this on at night after a pretty bad face sunburn that I experienced on vacation last year, and when I woke up, the redness had been seriously reduced. It transformed my burn from a call-the-ambulance-level emergency into a gentle-but-flattering flush. This is probably due to the aloe vera, or maybe the shea butter, but all I know is that it helped significantly. Also, always remember to wear SPF — don’t be at all influenced by my significant lapse in judgment.


I consulted Dr. Marie Hayag, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Fifth Avenue Aesthetics, to find out what ingredients actually set the formula apart.

“Besides having hyaluronic acid, which creates a protective skin barrier and helps retain moisture and improves skin texture, there are a few ingredients that I love in this magical cream,” says Hayag. She calls out the rosehip oil, which she said “replenishes and strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier;” the camelia oil, which contains 80% fatty acids that permeate deep into the skin; and the sunflower seed oil, whic has linoleic acid that helps prevent water loss and maintains the skin barrier.

On the formula’s bioNymph peptide complex, Dr. Hayag explained that it’s a “unique ingredient” that’s suited for the task of reducing lines and wrinkles. Some other hydrating ingredients include dimethicone, an ingredient frequently found in creams that battle eczema, and antioxidants like vitamin E, as well as healing agents like rose water and aloe vera.


If you have oily skin, this may not be the product for you. It’s a total moisture bomb and will exacerbate that oiliness pretty dramatically. That said, it could still work for you during the wintertime or during hormonal changes that cause your skin to dry up.


At a whopping $100, I understand that the price tag on this product requires that it be noticeably effective. Honestly, I’m here to tell you that it is. If you have dry or damaged skin, this just might be the answer to your problems. I’ve also noticed that a jar of it lasts for up to five months at a time — and I’m sure that it would last longer if you used it only during the nighttime.

If this product is still priced a little too steep for your liking, I suggest the Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream. It’s also super thick and hydrating, for about $40 less.