Part of the fun of creams is that their easy-on ability and superior blending power makes it beyond simple to play, experiment, and explore a new technique or look. Which is why we’ve rounded up some of our absolute faves to get you started. Keep reading to find our picks for the creams of the (shadow) crop.
The cream version of UD’s out-of-this-world sparkle shadow has the same ultra-fine shimmer and 3-D metallics, plus an extra bit of razzle-dazzle thanks to its natural post-application sheen finish. This 24K gold adds just the right amount of molten metal to your gaze and thanks to a handy precision brush it can easily be used as a liner as well as a shadow. Try patting a sheer layer over top of a neutral for an otherworldly nude.
Pencil shadow creams, like this blue beauty from NYX, allow for precision and control, making them fab as a shadow or a liner. Try coloring it on to your lids and sheering the shade out with your finger, then go over your lash line to create subtle definition.
If you like your makeup super-natural, creams are a great way to do the no-makeup makeup thing. Their soft texture blends seamlessly into your skin, making you look bright-eyed yet makeup-free. Tulve likes to combine a light nude shimmer hue with an even lighter gleaming neutral like the ones in this saturated shade duo. “Sweep the darker nude across the lid and across the lower lash line,” he advises. “Then [use your finger to] tap the lighter shade over the tear duct and on the center of the lid and lower lash line.”
For those that prefer their eyeshadow colors extra saturated and long-lasting, this tattoo inspired cream pot shade is right up your alley. It has a cream gel formula and Maybelline’s special ink technology that coats your lids in opaque color that will last all day — and then some.
Many people think that smoky eye looks can only be done with powders, but we’re here to tell you that creams are actually brilliant to craft a sultry, smoldering gaze. It all comes down to layering and placement. Tulve recommends grabbing a deep brown and a champagne shimmer shadow (both of which are in this convenient double-sided pencil from Yves Saint Laurent) for an impactful look that doesn’t get too dramatic. “Apply the deep brown to the inner and outer corner, following the lash line across the lid, then swoop along the crease,” says Tulve. There should be a bare window of skin in between that outline. Gently blend the color so it covers the whole lid, with the most opaque consistency towards the outside corner of the eye. “Take the same deep brown and delicately apply the color along the lower lash line — nothing too heavy or opaque — to create a wrapped-around smoky look. Finally, apply your champagne onto the center of the lid and lower lash line,“ he adds.
We’re obsessed with this Lancôme pen thanks to its pointed precision tip and long-wear formula. This eye-catching bright pink is a great way to get in a huge trend of the season — pastel eyeliner — in a more subdued way. Think of it as pastel with training wheels.
Of course, if you want to go really bold, creams are a great tool to help you kick your look into high gear. Tulve is all about a graphic smoky eye using a teal or blue hue. “Take the color and sweep it across the lids, extending past the outer corner of the eye,” he advises. “Use a cotton swab to clean up the edges and sharpen up the wing to your desired shape and intensity.” Finally, he suggests grabbing a lighter beige or silver cream and applying a dab to the inner corner and tear duct of the eye to add brightness and make sure the bold shape and bright colors doesn’t overwhelm the eyes and make them look smaller.