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In the last couple of years, my glosses and lipsticks have been left mostly untouched; the typical pops of color I gravitate towards are rendered invisible by masks. But it's left room for more makeup experimentation on the rest of my face: bright glitter, razor-sharp eyeliner, pigmented blush, and most of all, vibrant cream eyeshadows.
When should I use cream eyeshadow?
While powder shadow (opens in new tab) is a classic, I find that cream shadows are the formulas I've been clinging to in these trying times. And by trying times, I mean 95 degree days when the rest of my face is melting Raiders of the Last Ark-style. Cream shadows become my go-to for more than one reason: They blend like warm butter when I'm in the mood to mix and match different shades; lay comfortably on my lids like I've got nothing on; and stay put when I know I've got a long night devoid of touch-ups ahead of me.
How do I choose a cream eyeshadow?
Every month, there are brand new cream eyeshadow innovations, with each new product—from natural and organic formulas to exciting palettes—more intriguing than the last. While on the hunt for a cream shadow, don't just look for pigment and shine (though those are important!); look for formulas that go on smoothly and will last and last until you take makeup remover to it.
Since I've racked up quite the collection, I've gotten the chance to narrow down the absolute best of the best when it comes to cream formulas. From slick metallics to finely-ground glitters to translucent tints, here are the absolute best cream shadows to add to your cart.
The Bling Cream
Looking to up the drama? These cream shadows from legendary British brand Charlotte Tilbury don't skimp when it comes to shine and glitter. The shades are gorgeous on every skin tone, and are a great one-step product for immediate glam.
The Pretty Shimmer
Make your eyes look instantly more alive with a swipe of this shimmery shadow from cult-favorite clean makeup brand rms beauty. But these don't just look pretty: they're also formulated with natural peptide quinoa extract, a plant source that firms and smooths the eye area.
For A Natural Finish
For a beauty novice, there is no way to apply this product incorrectly. A quick wash of color adds dimension and gorgeous color to the lids. It's the easiest product to use, and won't budge all day long.
The Heavy Duty Shadow
If you need your eyeshadows to look the same at night as they did when you first applied them in the morning, this option from Smashbox is for you. It promises to be fade- and crease-resistant for up to 24 hours.
The Golden Hour Pick
You know that universally flattering golden hour light we chase when we're trying to 'get the shot'? This formula is that creamy filter, concentrated. The whipped mousse adds an illuminating pop to any eye shape.
The Sheer Shimmer
Bobbi Brown is back with Jones Road, a minimal makeup brand that loves a little shimmer. This lightweight shadow from the line coats your entire lid in pretty, airy wash of color and glitter that still looks elevated.
The Liner Hybrid
This creamy waterproof formula is a dream to apply. Wear it in a sharp line with one swipe (and keep the tip sharp thanks to the built-in sharpener) or blur it out with the handy smudge brush on the back.
The Metallic Pick
Each of the four, buildable shades in this range of shadows is a masterclass in makeup that's both wearable and fun. You can layer them or wear them alone for a mix of metallic hues, and they can also be used on the face!
The Barely-There Blend
This shadow stick goes on like a cream and sets into a powder that lasts for up to 11 hours—hence the very cute name. Perfect for throwing in your makeup bag for on-the-go application.
The Best Shade Range
These cream eyeshadows from Trinny London are available in 14 eye-enhancing shades, ranging from the palest shimmery champagne hue to a matte charcoal—and just about every option in between. Perfect for a one-product smoky eye look that won't budge.
The Longwear Shadow
These cream shadows from Maybelline are made to last 24 hours, and they live up to that test. Swipe on a color in the morning, and watch how they last till dinnertime.
The Editor Fave
The formula is an editor favorite for a reason. The handy applicator allows for precise strokes, and the creamy liquid dries down after just a few seconds. And don't worry if you don't have time to touch your look up later—the formula is practically crease-proof.
The Matte Shadow
The brainchild of musician Halsey, these liquid shadows come in a range of cool-girl colors that won't budge an inch all day. They're easy to blend, and also make great eye primers if you want to layer on addition shadows on top.
The Chic Cream
Want a little glamour in your life? These Chanel shadows are creamy and rich, and come in a range of colors for every mood. Not only is the packaging stunning, but they look stunning on the eyes and will definitely wow everyone you see.
The Cream To Powder
If you want the ease of a cream or liquid shadow but the smoothness of a powder, this product is calling your name. It's so easy to swipe on and blend out, and won't move even through sweat and humidity.
For An Easy Smokey Eye
A smokey eye might sound like a project, but a swipe of this pencil along the lash lines creates a diffused, sultry gaze that won't turn crunchy as the hours pass.
A chubby pencil makes throwing on a full-on eye look as easy as signing your name. They glide on like butter, and you can smudge them out for a more smokey gaze. But once they're set, they're on for the night—no budging.
This sheer option screams "editorial." One thin layer adds a semi-translucent tint to the lids for some cool-girl edge.
Julia Marzovilla is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire covering all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Offline, she’s most likely browsing the web for another pair of black boots or listening to music too loudly—often at the same time.