In your wardrobe of eyeshadows, cream formulas are like a chic satin slip for your eyes. The dreamy textures glide across your skin effortlessly and give your look a soft, romantic wash of color. Sometimes they can also be like a pair of leather leggings — sexy, cool, and totally rock ‘n roll. This duality is what gives them their appeal, not to mention gives you all kinds of crafty ways you can use them.
“Cream shadows are extremely versatile! The formula ranges cover washes of color, lived-in grunge, full opaque pigment, or serious stay put wear and power,” says L.A. based makeup artist Tony Tulve. Good luck trying to do all of those with your powder shadow.
How to Apply Cream Eyeshadows
We asked Tulve to give us a crash course on how he likes to use creams and he was thrilled to oblige.
STEP 1: Smooth on Primer
“Start with a clean primed lid — I use a shadow primer paired with long wearing or waterproof formulas to really help the product stay on,” he explains.
STEP 2: Tap on Color.
Use your ring finger and tap the color across your lids, says Tulve, building up the color and opacity layer by layer. You can go for a just a whisper of color or full-on smoky eyes.
STEP 3: Blend, Blend, Blend
Clean off your application finger, then use it to blend out the edges of the shadow. “Or you can take a flat, synthetic brush and paint the area with the desired product,” notes Tulve. “I like to go in with a fluffier brush to blend the edges out.”
Insider Tricks for Mastering Cream Eyeshadow
Creams have the ability to create drastically different effects, notes Tulve, and he has a few tips to get the most out of them. The effect will be an eye look that’s balmy and creased up. Tulve says a formula that doesn’t quite set/dry down is best to make that messy, smudged look.
Use creams in tandem with powders.
They’ll give your look a powered-up punch. Simply layer a powder shadow over top of it. “When I need a budge-proof base for a shimmery shadow, I like to use a similar [cream] color underneath to give it a backdrop and some oomph,” explains Tulve.
Try using your cream shadow as a liner
“If I need an eyeliner in a color I don’t have, I’ll use a cream shadow with a small brush.”
Products To Get The Look
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.”
Perfect as an eyeshadow base, liner or all over shadow, we love these creme shadows for adding a pop of color to the eye. Available in 12 pigmented shades, you can rock a soft pastel blue shade like Endless Skies or a deeper, sultry shade like Oxblood. These are easy to apply and can be used with a brush or the swipe of a finger.
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.
The longwearing, high pigment shadows are the best way to get a metallic eye look without the fuss. It glides on seamlessly and is perfect for creating a high impact eye. For best results, apply with a base and blend onto lid using a clean finger.
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.
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.
Photo: Courtesy Maybelline for Naeem Khan