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How to Apply Cream Eyeshadow

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Perfectly blendable and buildable, highly pigmented and so creamy, cream eyeshadows sound too good to be true. They are also very easy to use on the go and can be paired with eyeshadows in different finishes for multidimensional looks. If it’s your first time trying the creamy formula, below, we discuss how to apply cream eyeshadow flawlessly, as well as extra tips to perfect your skills.

In this article:

Powder vs. Cream Eyeshadow

As implied by the name, cream eyeshadow is a smooth, rich and creamy version of eyeshadow that smoothly blends into skin when applied. It works both as a standalone eyeshadow or as a boost for powder shadow in a combined and intense look.

What does this mean? It means that cream eyeshadow is the smoothly applied dream version of traditional powder eyeshadow. It goes on soft and smooth and blends with less effort. Frankly it is pretty, varies in intensity, is easily and quickly applied and doesn’t present us with the woe of dreaded fallout during wear.

Cream eyeshadow isn’t perfect, but it has its uses and is a dream product to have. So, what are the pros and cons of the cream eyeshadow as compared to the powder formula?

Powder vs. Cream Eyeshadow

Pros of Cream Eyeshadow vs. Powder

Anyone can wear cream eyeshadow, but cream shadow is formulated to work especially well with naturally dry or aging skin. You won’t have to pull it across your skin, it glides on beautifully, but if your skin is naturally oily or you are prone to sweating, you are far less likely to wear cream eyeshadow successfully without a good eye primer.

Either way, you don’t need to apply much to create your intended look, which means you are using less product, less time and ensuring less mess when you use a cream shadow versus a powder shadow.

Cream eyeshadows are good for soft looks, especially when you are short on time. If you want a buildable, layered look, then traditionally you would want a powder eyeshadow, but you can get the same effect by applying powder shadow over cream shadow as well.

With cream eyeshadow your eyes will feel soft and hydrated with a good glow. Unlike powder, cream eyeshadow gives a more youthful appearance, as it doesn’t sit in and exacerbate fine line and wrinkles. It’s a great option for beginners and professional MUAs.

Cream Eyeshadow Makeup Tips

Cons of Cream Eyeshadow vs. Powder

  • Blending cream eyeshadows is possible, but it can be difficult.
  • Most of the finishes are satin or sheer, thus the soft look, but if you want a matte look, you should apply powder shadow on top or choose a specially formulated wet to dry eyeshadow.
  • Cream eyeshadow also lacks the staying power and buildability of powder eyeshadow.
  • In addition, cream eyeshadow is available in a limited color range, unlike its powder counterpart, which is more common in the makeup world.

How to Apply Cream Eyeshadow

Application methods for eyeshadows vary for obvious reasons – you should consider the style and look you are going for, your personal preference and of course, the type of eyeshadow you use. When using a cream eyeshadow there are several things to keep in mind.

Fortunately for you, we have collected them all and posted them below for a quick and ultimately helpful cheat sheet to applying your cream eyeshadow. Follow the steps below for a long-lasting and beautiful look.

How to Apply Cream Eyeshadow

Step 1: Apply a Primer

There are several reasons to apply eye primer before you put on your cream eyeshadow. Using a primer will help prevent creasing, give your color a boost (depending on the primer you use) and make your eye look last longer.

A primer will also provide a barrier between your skin and the makeup, preventing any natural oils from your skin from causing your makeup to degrade and fade faster. It’s a quick step that will greatly improve the life of your eye makeup.

Step 2: Apply Your Cream Eyeshadow

You’ll find that using a synthetic brush to apply your cream eyeshadow is more ideal for several reasons. First, putting your fingers directly into cream eyeshadow really isn’t hygienic and can affect the integrity of your product over time.

Second, when you’re blending with a synthetic brush instead of your fingers the process is softer and gentler to the delicate skin around your eyes. Third, using a synthetic brush means that your product won’t be absorbed like it would if you used a natural bristle brush. It will also make application smoother for the same reason.

Lastly, when you use your fingers you risk “over-blending” and then you will have to apply more of your cream eyeshadow in order to fix it, which takes extra time and wastes product.

Step 3: Blend

You can blend several shades of cream eyeshadow for a multidimensional look that really glows. If you want to, applying powder shadow over the cream eyeshadow allows for a good blend as well as a bit more staying power.

Step 4: Finish with Translucent Powder

Even if you use a combination of cream and powder eyeshadows, a touch of translucent powder can help seal your look in. If you created your look using only cream eyeshadow, using a translucent powder is your best bet as a final step to increase the life of your eye makeup look.

Tips for Wearing Cream Eyeshadow Like a Pro

Let’s recap the cream eyeshadow tips we went over first, just to “seal” the information in, and also check out new ones for wearing this formula crease-free!

How to Use Cream Eyeshadow
  • Use a good eyeshadow primer to prevent creasing and extend wear.
  • Don’t apply your cream eyeshadow with your fingertips. Why? Because the oils from your fingertips can degrade the quality and creaminess of your eyeshadow.
  • Blend your cream eyeshadow for a multidimensional or prismatic look. Cream eyeshadow can blend more smoothly and easily.
  • As a final touch, sweep some translucent powder on top to make your eye makeup last as long as possible.
  • Create a dramatic look by using your cream eyeshadow as an eyeliner. Sure, it takes a practiced hand, but you’ll love it! This will give you a nearly unlimited range of color and finish options.
  • Additionally, if you have small eyes or don’t like the harshness and precision of typical eyeliner, especially liquid eyeliner, you can also enjoy a softer lined look using cream shadow.
  • Add a similarly colored powder shadow on top of your cream eyeshadow for a more dramatic show of color. It may seem redundant, but the color will be visibly brighter this way and much less likely to budge.
  • Don’t wear even the best cream eyeshadow out in the hottest summer heat. Even with a good primer, you are likely to sweat it off.
  • Only apply your cream and powder eyeshadow in reverse. It is always cream eyeshadow first, then powder.

Photos via @janellecwalker, Instagram