Before we get into this, if you haven’t been following the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (£75) journey over the years, let me summarise it for you very quickly. For many years, Charlotte Tilbury’s iconic Magic Cream has been heralded by many as one of the most plumping, glow-giving priming moisturisers of all time. The majority of people love it (including lots of Charlotte’s celebrity clients) and swear by it for a healthy-looking glow. However, it’s rich. So wonderful and rich, in fact, that those with super-oily skin, like mine, really can’t touch it without risking a grease-induced breakout.
And for years, the oily skinned felt wronged by this lack of acknowledgement. We too wanted to reap the glowy, plumping benefits of Magic Cream, just without the grease. So when the brand launched Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir back in April, I thought we finally had what we had been asking for. It gives lightweight, skin-perfecting hydration and glow and delivers a whole bunch of skin-loving ingredients while it works. Sure, I totally understood at the time that the instant glow-boosting effects weren’t quite up to par with the original Magic Cream, but it was certainly a step in the right direction.
Suki Waterhouse has been known to opt for Magic Cream as a pre–red carpet skin boost.
However, a few weeks ago, a Charlotte Tilbury parcel turned up at my door. I had a pencil in my diary for a Zoom webinar to celebrate a new launch from the brand the week after, but at the time, I had no idea what the product was set to be. The product, it turned out, was Charlotte’s Magic Cream Light (£75). That’s right, people. She heard us. A Magic Cream alternative for oily skinned guys and gals that delivers skin-perfecting radiance but with a matte, natural-looking finish is finally here.
And for the last few weeks, I’ve been giving it a go. Unlike the serum, Magic Cream Light is very much a heavy-duty moisturiser. It’s formulated with vitamin E, SPF20, anti-blue-light technology and the brand’s patented peptide-based smoothing and perfecting ingredient, Replexium. On top of all of that, it has a matte, veil-like finish that doesn’t leave the skin feeling suffocated. Most importantly for me, the finish isn’t dry-looking, either. I often worry that matte finishes will leave my complexion devoid of glow, but Magic Cream Light still lets that healthy sheen shine through. Also, unlike the original, the packaging comes in the form of a glass bottle and pump as opposed to a heavy jar and lid, which gets a big hygiene tick from me.
Do I necessarily prefer it to the serum? The truth is I’m torn. The serum is without a doubt lighter and less obviously glow-boosting and hydrating. However, I much prefer the finish. You see, although Magic Cream Light is still seriously light compared to the original and it is yet to result in serious breakouts, long after application, it’s still very much there. Whereas I’m perfectly happy to comfortably wear the serum all day, every day, Magic Cream Light probably wouldn’t be my daily moisturiser of choice. But would it be my first reach-for before applying a full face of makeup for the ultimate, smoothed and perfected base? Absolutely.