Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream - The Dermatology Review

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream



What is Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream?

Originally created backstage to prep and transform the look of models’ skin before fashion shows, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream is the brand’s award-winning, best-selling facial moisturizer. This cream is claimed to “flood your skin with moisture” to give you a glowing, dewy, plumper-looking complexion. So is Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream really as magical as it is claimed to be? Read on to find out!

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What are the key ingredients in Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream?

The key ingredients in Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream are claimed to be hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, camellia oil, rosehip oil, shea butter, aloe vera, and frangipani flower extract. However, we’d like to point out that all of these “key” ingredients are present in very low concentrations (less than 1%). We know this by looking at the ingredient list (which is in order of descending concentrations). All of these ingredients are listed after the preservative phenoxyethanol, which cannot be used in concentrations more than 1%. 

So let’s discuss what’s in the majority of the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream formula. After water, the next eight ingredients are either emollients, humectants, or formulation enhancers. For example, the formula contains high concentrations of emollients like C12-15 alkyl benzoate, vegetable oil, isononyl isononanoate, and ethylhexyl palmitate. Emollients work to soften and smooth the skin while also acting as occlusive agents. Upon application, occlusive agents form a protective film on the surface of skin, which helps to prevent evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture. Over time, this increases skin hydration by causing buildup of water in the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin).

The humectants in Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream include butylene glycol, glycerin, and a small concentration of sodium hyaluronate. So what exactly is a humectant? A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups. These hydrophilic groups hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin. Since humectants slow water from evaporating in the epidermis, they help to keep the skin hydrated. Humectants also provide temporary anti-aging effects because the extra hydration is extra volume, which effectively plumps out the skin and makes lines and wrinkles less noticeable. However, this effect is transient – as soon as the moisture content in skin decreases, lines and wrinkles will return to normal size. 

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream also contains high concentrations of silicones, such as cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone. Silicones improve the spreadability of a product and also impart a silky smooth skin feel. In addition, silicones function as film-forming agents by forming an invisible film on the surface of the skin. The film creates a lubricating, smooth, silky feel that does not feel greasy or sticky. It still allows oxygen, nitrogen, and other important nutrients to pass through, but blocks water from evaporating. Ultimately, this leads to skin that looks and feels hydrated and smooth. 

How to use Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream

The brand recommends applying the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream using Charlotte’s ‘Tilbury Tap’ 5-minute facial massage technique! Here’s how to perform this technique:

  1. Using clean, dry fingertips, apply the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream starting from the lower cheek, sweeping cream out and up. 
  2. Tap fingertips across cheeks avoiding eye contour. Place fingers under cheekbones, then smooth outwards and upwards along cheekbones. 
  3. Define your jawline by gently pinching chin with your fingers, moving up your jawline in one sweeping motion. 
  4. Smooth your forehead by starting in the middle of the forehead and massaging in circular motions moving out to the temples. 

Since Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream is packaged in a glass jar, its active ingredients are vulnerable to oxidization, so be sure to store your product away from sunlight and heat.

Where is Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream sold?

You can purchase Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream online or at select retailers in the U.S. and throughout the UK. Many retailers in the U.S. include major department store chains, such as Nordstrom, and also beauty suppliers like Sephora. There is a list of retailers available on the company website for both U.S. and UK customers. If you’re looking for where to buy Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream online, you can do so directly on the company website and from third party ecommerce websites, such as Amazon, eBay, Sephora, and more. Due to the high cost of the product, it may be a good idea to avoid third party sellers, as at $100 per 1.7 ounce jar, there is great incentive for unscrupulous individuals to create counterfeit versions of the product.

What is the Charlotte Tilbury return policy?

The Charlotte Tilbury return policy states, “We are committed to providing premium customer service to our customers and accept returns free of charge. If you receive products from that do not meet your expectations, please return the unused or gently used products within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. Items returned more than 30 days from purchase will receive a store credit if within 60 days.”

Is Charlotte Tilbury cruelty free?

Charlotte Tilbury is a cruelty free company. The brand does not test finished products or ingredients on animals, and neither do their suppliers. Charlotte Tilbury skin care products are not sold in mainland China, where animal testing is required by law. 

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream reviews

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive, with the product receiving an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars after more than one thousand customer reviews.

Positive reviews point out that the texture is very thick and rich, however, it does not leave a greasy feeling on the skin. One very positive Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream review says, “I have been using this cream for a few months now and I won’t be looking anywhere else for my moisturiser in the future! I have dry and sensitive skin, with the first signs of fine lines and this cream works wonders for my dry skin. Although the cream is rich, it is absorbed quickly unlike other creams where I have found I have to wait for it to sink in before I can apply makeup. Combined with the night cream, I found that right from the first use, even deeper lines were significantly reduced and my skin looked brighter.”

Negative reviews for the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream seem to be the complete opposite of the positive reviews, with many consumers pointing out that this makes skin oily and can even clog pores. Other reviewers mention that they did not notice any results after using this cream, saying that Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream is simply not worth the hype. For example, one negative Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream review says, “I bought CT magic foundation and primer and love both of them so I thought I would try the magic cream for my dry skin. It is just awful. So greasy and it doesn’t soak into my skin at all. I tried using under my makeup today and the makeup is just sliding off my face is so greasy. Also the overwhelming smell of roses sticks with you all day. Also my pores have seemed to reappear after only one use.”

What are some alternatives to Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream?

Overall, we don’t find the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream to be “magic” at all. The formula does contain several types of emollients, humectants, and silicones, which will help the skin to feel soft and smooth while also improving hydration. However, the “key” ingredients in this formula are present in very low concentrations. That’s why we recommend using a skin care brand that maximizes the use of powerful ingredients that benefit your skin while minimizing the ingredients that might make you smell and feel nice (but don’t actually work), such as Formulyst

Take Formulyst’s Lifting and Wrinkle Smoothing Cream for example. This velvety smooth cream is formulated to help lift and refine the appearance and tone of your skin. The formula features Moringa seed oil for intense moisturization, Evodia rutaecarpa fruit extract to help brighten and refine, while peony extract helps to improve the appearance of skin density for a smoother, recontoured look. In the short term, Formulyst Lifting and Wrinkle Smoothing Cream helps the skin appear smoother and healthier looking, while over time helping your complexion feel firmer and more youthful. 

There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that is effective and safe. Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the power of plants with cutting edge science. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skin care products.



Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds.Read More


The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.Read More

Advanced Dermatology

The Advanced Dermatology skin care regimen addresses the most pressing aging concerns.Read More

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