Magic Cream Charlotte Tilbury review
From £49

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream review: Is Charlotte’s Magic Cream a wonder or a disappointment?

26th August 2023 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

UPDATE: Charlotte Tilbury is releasing a new version of its iconic Magic Cream called the Magic Water Cream.

It’s a fragrance-free, gel-like version that Charlotte Tilbury describes as “a new skincare innovation to quench your skin’s thirst.”

The full details of the Magic Water Cream have not yet been revealed but we know that it’s due to go on sale on 29 August. If you sign up for the waitlist you’ll get early access to the cream.

The only other details revealed by the brand are that the Magic Water Cream is “infused with hydrating ingredients that work in synergy to train your skin barrier to retain moisture and deliver intense hydration in seconds.”

Join waitlist

Original Magic Cream review continues below

With Magic Cream, Charlotte Tilbury has created a luxury multipurpose product. It softens, plumps, and brightens the skin – both instantly, and over time.

Due to the fact it works so well as a primer, an anti-ageing moisturiser, and it contains SPF, Charlotte’s Magic cream covers a lot of bases. Excuse the pun.

This means it could realistically replace at least three products in your cabinet. Although £49 for 30ml is still a huge amount of money to spend, the multi-purpose nature of Charlotte’s Magic Cream makes it much better value than the price tag alone suggests.

Plus, it performs well. Of course, for this price, we had hoped it would solve all of our skin woes, but it’s made a sizeable dent in them and that’s good enough for us.

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  • Instant radiance
  • Plumps and softens the skin over time
  • Multi-purpose – primer, moisturiser, SPF
  • Expensive
Where to Buy
Charlotte Tilbury From £49
Cult Beauty From £49
Sephora From £49
Prices are accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

Discover if Charlotte’s Magic Cream is worth the hype, or worth avoiding in our in-depth, real-world Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream review

Even if you’re not *that* into makeup or skincare, you’ve likely heard of Charlotte Tilbury.

From backstage and red-carpet events to working with celebrities and releasing some of the most coveted, bestselling beauty products worldwide, Charlotte Tilbury is a brand with some serious clout.

And one of its most iconic products is the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. In fact, the brand and cream are so well-known, it’s colloquially referred to as Charlotte’s Magic Cream.

The multi-award-winning Magic Cream apparently took 20 years to develop and perfect and was designed to transform the skin of models on camera, and on runways.

It launched in Selfridges in 2013 and sold out almost immediately.

Today, the brand claims that one jar is sold every two minutes worldwide and at £49 a pop (for the smallest version), this would make it a huge money maker for Charlotte Tilbury.

Yet is this because Charlotte’s Magic Cream really is as good as the brand claims, or are people simply swept up in the hype?

In an attempt to answer this question, we spent two months putting the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream to the test. Scroll down to read what we thought in our Charlotte’s Magic Cream review below, or you can jump to the relevant section via the links in the above box.

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Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Review

Charlotte Magic Tilbury Reviewmamabella | mamabella

The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream is available in three sizes – 30ml, 50ml, and a jumbo 150ml – with prices ranging from £49 to £195.

It’s part of Charlotte Tilbury’s wider Magic skincare range, alongside:

This range also includes the Magic Vanish Eye Corrector, and used to include the Magic foundation (which has since been discontinued.)

The Magic Cream contains a blend of peptides, Vitamin C and E, and aloe vera. We explain the benefits of these ingredients in our Formula section below, and the Magic Cream ingredients list can be found at the bottom of this article.

You can also buy the Magic Cream in a Light version. Designed for the summer months, when traveling, or for people in warmer climates, Magic Cream Light is (as the name suggests) a lighter alternative to the original with a few extras thrown in. Namely SPF 20, versus SPF 15 in the original Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream.

FURTHER READING: Charlotte Tilbury Serum review

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Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream: At A Glance

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream price and how to usemamabella | mamabella

Learn more about the comedogenic and irritation ratings in our Ingredients section at the bottom of this article


What is Charlotte’s Magic Cream? Charlotte’s Magic Cream is a “cocktail of luxe ingredients” designed to help plump and firm the skin, and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Complete with an SPF15, Magic Cream promises to visibly reduce the signs of ageing.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream price: £49 (30ml); £75 (50ml); £195 (150ml). Refills are available for £67 (50ml), and £160 (150ml).

How to use Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream: Charlotte Tilbury recommends using the Magic Cream using her so-called Tap 5-minute Tap facial massage technique. We explain more about this in our how-to-use section below.

When to use Charlotte’s Magic Cream: It can be used AM, and PM, and as a primer before makeup.

Who should use Charlotte’s Magic Cream? While Charlotte Tilbury claims Magic Cream is suitable for all skin types, we wouldn’t recommend it for oily, or acne-prone skin. It is good for mature, and dry skin, though.

Where to buy: Charlotte Tilbury | Cult Beauty | Sephora

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream alternatives: Revolution Miracle Cream (£10); e.l.f Holy Hydration (£12)


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How we tested the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream

Magic Cream Charlotte Tilbury reviewmamabella | mamabella

For our Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream review, we used the luxury moisturiser every morning, and night for two months.

This included applying the cream using Charlotte’s five-minute Tap facial massage technique. We explain more about this in our How to use Charlotte’s Magic Cream section below.

We occasionally would reapply throughout the day, or evening, if we were going out and putting on makeup. In this way, we were using it to hydrate and prep the skin, but also in place of a face primer.

FURTHER READING: How we test skincare to see if it lives up to its claims 

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Charlotte’s Magic Cream Formula

If the packaging on Charlotte’s Magic Cream doesn’t immediately give away the fact this is a pricey cream, its consistency will. It feels thick, smooth, and luxurious and glides over the skin. It’s not too thick that it’s a struggle to get out of the pot, or massage into the skin, nor is it anywhere near as heavy on the skin as it looks or may first feel.

How to use Charlotte Tilbury Magic Creammamabella | mamabella

Charlotte’s Magic Cream feels thick, smooth, and luxurious and glides over the skin

It melts into the skin and almost instantly adds radiance while softening and plumping the skin. This not only makes it enjoyable to apply, but you only need a tiny amount to cover your whole face and neck. This value goes somewhat towards justifying the high price.

It works well with serums and mists but it does have a tendency to pill easily when used with a primer. It also sits on the skin if you don’t spend the time massaging it in, and this can cause problems with your makeup later on. Not to mention the fact it can leave a white cast over your face.

It also doesn’t play well with SPF creams (or at least the many that we’ve tried). Magic Cream does contain SPF 15, so offers minimal protection on its own, yet we prefer to increase coverage.

The only way we’ve found to navigate this is to use a spray SPF and our current favourite is The Quick Flick’s SPF 50 setting spray.

Ingredient-wise, it contains a number of skincare staples. This includes:

  • Vitamin C – evens out skin tone and brightens the complexion
  • Vitamin E – acts as an antioxidant
  • Rosehip oil – helps balance the skin and reduce redness
  • Hyaluronic acid – a humectant that pulls in and retains hydration

Other ingredients include aloe vera, to calm and smooth the skin; and shea butter, to soften the skin.

Charlotte’s Magic Cream is fragranced and while the brand describes its use of fragrance as “gentle,” this may cause problems for people with sensitive skin. So much so, the INCI Decoder website lists a number of the ingredients in the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream as being “icky”. Or potentially problematic.

This includes linalool, citronellol, and geraniol, all of which are used to add perfume to the cream.

Other ingredients to note include Ethylhexyl Palmitate – an emollient that has a potentially high comedogenic rating. This means that, in tests, the ingredient has been shown clog pores, which can lead to breakouts and acne.

It doesn’t guarantee that this cream will clog pores, as it depends on the amount of the ingredient used (among other things), but it’s worth bearing in mind when using Charlotte’s Magic Cream. Especially if you have acne-prone skin.

In our experience, as long as you exfoliate and cleanse properly morning and night, then you shouldn’t have any problems with this cream. We had a bit of congestion about two weeks after using the cream but this soon cleared and we haven’t experienced any since. This can be common when introducing a new product to your routine and is known as skin purging.

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How to use Charlotte’s Magic Cream

Charlotte’s Magic Cream is a moisturiser and should be used at the end of your daily skincare routine to lock in the hydration and create a barrier seal. This helps boost the effectiveness and longevity of your other skincare too.

It’s gentle enough to be used morning, and night yet because it contains Vitamin C, we advise using it alongside SPF during the day. Vitamin C makes the skin more sensitive to the sun and while the Magic Cream contains SPF, it needs to be topped up throughout the day to maintain its protection.

Charlotte Tilbury additionally recommends using her Tap 5-minute Facial Technique to thoroughly massage the cream into the skin. This technique is as follows:

  • Sweep a small amount of Magic Cream from the lower cheek up and towards your temples. Tap your fingertips across this area, avoiding the eye contour
  • Put your fingers under your cheekbones, then smooth the cream outwards and upwards along your cheekbones
  • Gently pinch your chin with your fingers, moving up your jawline in one sweeping motion
  • Massage in circular motions from the middle of your forehead out to your temples 
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Charlotte’s Magic Cream Performance

Charlottes Magic Cream review mamabella | mamabella

Charlotte’s Magic Cream not only adds radiance and makes the skin look and feel soft upon application, but this feeling lasts for hours.

Due to its thick consistency, and its potentially comedogenic formula, this wouldn’t be our first choice for oily skin, but it works wonders for our mature skin and helps smooth the dry patches on the sides of our face.

Over time, we noticed our complexion was brighter and, once the purging had cleared, it looked clearer too. The wrinkles on our forehead look slightly less noticeable after two months of use, too. It’s certainly not a miracle worker for ageing skin, but it made an improvement nonetheless.

In our hydration test (we explain more about this test on our best moisturiser page), the Magic Cream fell short of our expectations, and experience, with the product.

The hydration levels of our skin increased by two points or 6.4%. Any increase is good, but 6.4% is lower than the 12% average seen across the rest of the moisturisers we’ve tested.

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Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream review video

@victoria_woolly_web While many, many products are showing percentage point drops, an increase of 2 is much better than it looks #charlottetilbury #magiccream #charlottetilburyskincare #hydrationtest #hydrated #hydratedskin #hydrating ♬ original sound – Victoria Woollaston-

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Review: Verdict

With the Magic Cream, Charlotte Tilbury has created a luxury multipurpose product. It softens, plumps, and brightens the skin – both instantly, and over time.

Due to the fact it works so well as a primer, an anti-ageing moisturiser, and it contains SPF, Charlotte’s Magic cream covers a lot of bases. Excuse the pun.

This means it could realistically replace at least three products in your cabinet.

Although £49 for 30ml is still a huge amount of money to spend, the multi-purpose nature of Charlotte’s Magic Cream makes it much better value than the price tag alone suggests.

Plus, it performs well. Of course, for this price, we had hoped it would solve all of our skin woes, but it’s made a sizeable dent in them and that’s good enough for us.

Buy now from Charlotte Tibury

Charlotte’s Magic Cream Alternatives

If you can’t afford £49 for 30ml – and we don’t blame you – there are a number of Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream alternatives that perform similarly for much cheaper.

They don’t perform as well, in our experience, so if you can stretch to the more expensive version then we recommend it. However, they still perform more admirably than their cheap price would suggest.

Charlotte Magic Cream vs Revolution Miracle Cream

Charlotte Magic Cream alternative vs Revolution Miracle Creammamabella | mamabella

The most like-for-like Magic Cream alternative that we’ve tried is the Revolution Miracle Cream (£10).

Just like the original, the £10 Revolution alternative contains Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and shea butter. Revolution’s version additionally contains niacinamide, which helps brighten the skin, but it doesn’t contain SPF. It has a remarkably similar consistency to the original, although it’s slightly more yellow than the white Magic Cream, and it feels similar on the skin.

Both creams contain ingredients with high comedogenic ratings. In the case of Charlotte’s Magic Cream, this includes Ethylhexyl Palmitate with a comedogenic rating of 4. This means that there is a high risk that it could clog your pores.

Similarly, the Revolution Miracle Cream contains Isopropyl Isostearate and cocoa butter, with ratings of 4 and 5 respectively. It should be noted that these ratings are a guide only but if you’re prone to breakouts it’s worth bearing in mind.

Although both creams promise to suit all skin types, the use of fragrances and perfume could cause problems for people with sensitive skin. While the ingredients listed above, and the use of various oils in the creams mean the creams could make oiliness worse. With this in mind, we’d recommend the Magic Cream, and its Revolution alternative for mature, dry skin.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Ingredients

The following list of ingredients is taken from the INCI Decoder website. You can hover over each ingredient to find out more about it.

The numbers next to each ingredient represent its Irritation Rating (the number to the left of the comma), and then Comedogenic Rating (to the right of the comma).

Both ratings are scored out of five and the higher the number, the higher the chance of it causing irritation, or comedones (spots). Green means it has a low rating so is less likely to cause problems. Yellow and red numbers represent high ratings and are more likely to cause problems.

Aqua/Water/Eau solv, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate emo|amic, Glyceryl Stearate SE emu 2 3, Butylene Glycol h|solv 0 1, Glycerin sii|h 0 0, Olus Oil/Vegetable Oil/Huile Végétale emo, Isononyl Isononanoate emo, Cetyl Alcohol emo|vc 2 2, Ethylhexyl Palmitate emo|perf 0 24, Cyclopentasiloxane emo|solv, Dimethicone emo 0 1, Polyester-7 vc, Phenoxyethanol pres, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate emo, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter emo|vc, Steareth-21 emu|surf, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract aox|so|emo|abrasive/scrub, Carbomer vc 0 1, Dimethiconol emo|h, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate emu|surf, Chlorphenesin pres|amic, Caprylyl Glycol h|emo, Xanthan Gum vc, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Allantoin so 0 0, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice so|h, Disodium EDTA chel, Tocopheryl Acetate aox 0 0, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil emo, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil emo, Rosa Damascena Extract, Sodium Hydroxide buff, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil emo 0 0, Michelia Alba Leaf Oil, Sodium Lactate buff|h, Coco-Glucoside surf, PEG-8 h|solv, Ethylhexylglycerin pres, Sodium Hyaluronate sii|h 0 0, Tocopherol aox 03 03, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 cci, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 cci, Ascorbyl Palmitate aox 0 2, Plumeria Rubra Flower Extract, Ascorbic Acid aox|sb|buff, Citric Acid buff, Nicotiana Sylvestris Leaf Cell Culture, Linalool perf, Citronellol perf, Geraniol perf

Hover the mouse / tap over an ingredient for short explanation. Read more on INCIDecoder.

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