The benefits of cream-based makeup are many: it's incredibly easy to apply (you can just use your fingers – minimal tools required!), they blend seamlessly and effortlessly into skin for a natural look, the formulas are buildable (so you can tailor colour and coverage to your personal preference) and cream makeup has a higher level of pigmentation and a stronger colour pay-off than powders, so a little goes a long way.
Because of their blendable nature, cream makeup is a top pick for anyone who’s time poor and just can't with the blending and layering that can sometimes be required with powder products. It’s also suited to makeup novices, as its melt-into-skin texture and buildability means it’s basically foolproof.
Cream makeup is also ideal for anyone with drier skin, as cream formulas often contain extra hydrating ingredients which is always welcome if your complexion is prone to dryness or dehydration. It’s also a favourite option for mature skin, which can often benefit from the extra moisture hit, and might find that powder makeup can settle into fine lines and wrinkles. For those with oilier skin or in warmer climates, set your cream-based products with a light dusting of powder over the top and you’ll be good to go.
Ready to make the switch? Here are the best cream makeup products for every step in your routine.
A cream foundation is the basis of your creamy makeup look and will provide the perfect canvas over which to blend the rest of your cream makeup. The beauty of a creamy base is that the formula allows for easy coverage control. They can be worn full coverage, if that's your preference, or applied very lightly for a sheer, second-skin effect. And there are plenty of finishes to choose, from radiant to matte.
Don't confuse cream foundations with liquid foundations, which are more serum-y and watery in texture. Cream foundations range from a thicker moisturiser-type consistency to dryer formulas that come in convenient stick or compact form. The best cream foundation for you will all depend on your skin type. The ultra-creamy formulas are often loaded with extra hydrating and nourishing skincare ingredients, making them the best pick for dry or dehydrated skin types that need a boost of hydration. It's for this reason that those with oily skin will need to proceed with caution, as all that extra moisture might conspire to leave you with a complexion that veers more greasy. Don't worry, you can still achieve a luminous, hydrated base; just look for a stick or compact-based formulas and always set your base with a powder, but only after any other cream-based steps.
For the ultimate creamy-skinned beauty look, you need a cream highlighter. Tapped onto the high points of the face, it gives that kind of lit-from-within-glow we all crave.
The benefit of a cream highlighter over a powder highlighter is its workability: they blend and buff into skin beautifully (so it really does look like your skin just regularly glows like that), and because they melt into skin as opposed to sitting on top of it, they can help make the rest of your makeup look less, well, makeup-y.
The key to cream highlighter is to choose one that’s satiny and pearly, not shiny, and to start with a very light, thin layer. Fingers are best, so just tap directly onto where you want to highlight; the inner corners of the eyes, on top of the Cupid’s bow and along the brow bones are all safe bets. Some cream highlighters can be mixed into foundation or used as a primer to really amp up the glow, or even just with your daily moisturiser for a natural creamy look.
Cream bronzer and contour
Bronzer and contouring products have got to be one of the most intimidating makeup products out there. Applied incorrectly, and the complexion looks stripey and muddy, or the face can look overly-contoured. But that's where a cream bronzer and a cream contour comes in, ensuring they look like part of your overall look, and not like they've been drawn on.
But first, let's clarify that there is a difference between bronzing and contouring: the former is about warming up the skin, while the latter is about adding definition and shape to the structure of the face. You can definitely use a cream bronzer and cream contour interchangeably, but the application and technique will differ depending on what you're trying to achieve.
If you want an all-over sunkissed glow, you can mix your cream bronzer or contour with your foundation or moisturiser, or just use your fingers to tap the product onto the face and blend, blend, blend!
One of our favourite things about a cream eyeshadow is just how versatile they are: one swipe will leave eyes with a sheer wash of colour, or more layers can be added for an all-out glam look. This user-friendly aspect is especially good for anyone that loves a smoky eye, but is maybe a little nervous about a powder eyeshadow smoky eye, which requires blending and multiple brushes.
If you love a bit of sparkle in your eyeshadows, you'll also appreciate that, unlike a shimmery powder eyeshadow, a shimmery cream eyeshadow has zero fallout. And, again, if the packaging says it’s safe, feel free to use these on cheeks and lips, too.
When it comes to application, it all depends on your cream eyeshadow: sticks can be scribbled straight onto eyelids and blended out with your finger or a brush, and the same goes for wands. If your cream eyeshadow comes in a pot, you can use either your fingers or a soft, fluffy brush to apply. Whichever way you go, if you plan on adding layers, wait for each to dry before going over the top with additional coverage. Note: some cream eyeshadows set down quickly, so you may need to work fast!
Multipurpose cream makeup
Don’t we all love a product that can be used on more than one part of the face? Multipurpose cream makeup products can be swiped on eyes, lips and cheeks, and are a quick and easy way to tie a look together.
While rubbing a bit of lipstick on your cheeks is a classic French girl hack, many traditional lipsticks are not designed to be used on the cheeks so can either end up patchy and chalky, or too greasy and unnatural-looking. But the beauty of these three-in-one products is that they're specifically formulated to be used on various parts of the face, so they'll look just as good on the eyes as they do on lips and cheeks.
It's also what makes them such a clever travel or handbag product! No more lugging around separate lipstick, eyeshadow and blush. Plus, they’re a genuine timesaver when you just need to get out the door.