How to Make an All-Cream-Based Makeup Look LastSeptember 20, 2023
With the rise in popularity of dewy, stripped down makeup looks in recent years, cream makeup products have been all the rage for a while now. Countless makeup artists and beauty aficionados have fallen in love with the silky texture of cream blush, bronzer, foundation and more — and we have, too. Not only do cream makeup products blend seamlessly into the skin, but they're usually much more buildable and help you nail that dewy makeup look that you really just can’t achieve with powder formulas.
With all product formulations come some challenges, though: One potential issue with cream makeup is that you may feel like you need touch-ups by mid-day, especially if you have oily skin that needs some extra finessing to lock in your glam. The good news: It’s entirely possible to extend the wear of cream makeup.
To make sure your cream makeup lasts all day, you should commit to a few extra steps in your routine. We're breaking them down ahead with insight from celebrity makeup artist Allison Kaye. Plus, keep scrolling for 15 of our favorite cream-based makeup products.
What Is Cream Makeup?
As the name suggests, cream makeup is fairly self-explanatory. The category refers to makeup products with a creamy consistency, as opposed to powder and liquid formulas. Cream makeup products often have beneficial skincare ingredients, such as moisturizing hyaluronic acid. Many different types of products come in cream formulas, including blush, bronzer, highlighter, eyeshadow and more.
How to Apply Cream Makeup to Make It Last
Step 1: Prime
First up: Primer. "For cream-based makeup looks, starting with a great primer is important," says Kaye. "It creates an extra layer between your skin and makeup that helps prevent cream makeup products from sliding off your skin during the day."
Step 2: Layer (Carefully)
When it's time to apply your makeup, the pro suggests "allowing your cream product to set into your skin before layering on the next product.” In other words, take your time. If possible, Kaye recommends waiting a full three minutes between steps.
Another tip is to "push the product into the skin using a sponge or dense brush" rather than a swiping motion, as that will just move the product around," says Kaye. "Place the product where you want it, and then push, don't swipe!"
Step 3: Set Your Makeup With PowderWhen your cream-based makeup look is complete, "set your entire face with your favorite setting powder," Kaye advises. Be sure you’re using a translucent formula so as to not “change the pigment of the cream products used.” One of our favorites is the NYX Professional Makeup Studio Finishing Powder.
Step 4: Set With a Spray
"After setting your cream products with a bit of powder, I recommend finishing off your look with a setting spray," she continues. "Setting spray will create a barrier on your skin to prevent transfer, color shifting, fading and creasing." Our all-time fave? The Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray.
The Best Cream Makeup Products
We love this product because it's a two-in-one formula with a contour stick for sculpting on one end and a highlighter for brightening on the other. Plus, the stick packaging makes it convenient for traveling or for throwing in your gym makeup bag.
This unique foundation balm delivers light to medium coverage and leaves your skin with visible radiance. One of the standout benefits of this formula is that it’s infused with firming serum to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, making it a great foundation choice for mature skin.
This multitasking tinted balm can be used to add a stunning wash of color to your cheeks or your eyelids, which means you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s lightweight, layerable and practically melts into the skin upon contact.
If eye makeup is not your strong suit, try a cream eyeshadow stick like this one from Urban Decay. This easy-to-use product glides on smoothly for lasting, ultra-pigmented color that you can blend and build. Available in 12 shades ranging from neutrals to brights, it comes in both matte and shimmery finishes.
One of our favorite ways to use cream makeup is to create a natural-looking contour, and the Lancôme Teint Idôle Ultra Wear Foundation Stick is the perfect tool for this. Opt for a shade two to three shades darker than your skin tone to use it as a contour stick. You can also invest in lighter shades than your skin tone to use as highlighter and concealer, or a matching shade for an all-over foundation look.
If you have oily skin but still want to hop on the cream makeup trend, try a cream-to-powder formula like this blush-eyeshadow hybrid. It has the blendability, sheerness and soft feel of a cream blush with the color payoff and staying power of a powder.
We’re obsessed with the shade offerings of this creamy longwear eyeshadow stick from Maybelline New York, from shimmery champagne to hot matte pink. Formulated to deliver water-resistant, crease-resistant color that will last all day, this versatile stick can be used as eyeshadow, eyeliner and even primer.
A cream-based highlighter is the key to a dewy, glowy makeup look and this multi-use stick from NYX Professional Makeup is one of our go-tos. Not only does the crayon format make application simple and mess-free, but it also allows you to be extra precise about where you place the product. You can easily highlight any spot on your face, from your cupid’s bow to the inner corners of your eyes.
Create gorgeous monochromatic makeup looks with the YSL Beauty Nu Lip & Cheek Balmy Tint. This two-in-one lip and cheek color has a balmy consistency and hydrating feel thanks to the hyaluronic acid and shea butter in the formula.
The Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush is another one of our favorite cream blush formulas. Available in six rosy and peachy shades, this blush has soft, buildable pigments and a dewy finish to give you a naturally flushed look.
We’ve always been fans of the IT Cosmetics Superhero Eyeshadow Sticks, and their newest shades are no exception. Sold in a limited edition, high-value set of two, Mighty Mauve is a chic matte plum and Bold Bubbly is a champagne shimmer. Wear them separately or pair them to create tons of different striking eye makeup looks.
Similar to the NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Contour and Highlighter, the Wonder Stick Blush is a dual-ended blush stick with two complementary shades. You can wear each shade individually to get different looks, or use both of them together to sculpt your cheekbones with your blush.
The Jones Road Beauty Miracle Balm is the indie brand’s signature best-selling product. A dynamic, do-it-all balm, it can be used as a blush, lip tint, bronzer or highlighter depending on the shade you choose. Every shade has a sheer, buildable finish to help you achieve that no-makeup makeup look.
Eyeshadow has never been lower maintenance thanks to the Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint, a cream-based tinted balm available in nine shades. The best part? Each shade comes in a slim, pocket-sized compact that makes on-the-go touch-ups easier than ever.
In case you couldn’t already tell, we really love cream blushes. This cream blush from Beauty Pie is lightweight and infused with cushioning oils for comfortable everyday wear. If the dewy makeup trend isn’t for you, you’ll love this non-shiny, soft matte option.