Friday, May 18, 2012

Favorite Cream Shadows

I have to admit - for a long time, I wasn't really a fan of cream eye shadows.

For one thing, they always seemed too sheer to really pack any punch on the eye.  And probably more problematic, they creased like mad on my oily lids so they definitely didn't seem worth the trouble.

Now, in all fairness, my first introduction to cream shadows was Revlon's Illuminance Creme Shadows, which - I think most would agree - are one of the worst cream shadows on the market. 

I think I uniformly boycotted all cream shadows for years after my experience with them, actually.

Of course, now I realize that all cream shadows are not created equal.  And I think I've learned how to use them more effectively (and deal with creasing) so I'm better able to get the most out of a cream shadow when I use one. 

Still, there are some I like better than others so I thought that I'd share my favorites in case you're in the market for a few good cream shadows.

MAC Paint Pots in Bare Study and Painterly

MAC Bare Study (l.) & Painterly (r.) Paint Pots

 MAC's Paint Pots are usually the gold standard when it comes to cream shadows, and for the most part, I think they are some of the best available. However, they are somewhat pricey ($19 or $20 a piece, I believe)  so I don't necessarily think you have to rush out and buy them in every available shade. 

But I can't say enough about Bare Study and Painterly, both of which are light, skin-tone colors that look pretty boring in the pot but are so versatile that I really think they're must-haves. 

MAC Bare Study (l.) & Painterly (r.) swatches
Bare Study is a shimmery, almost white gold shade that brightens the eyes beautifully. I like to wear it on its own when I'm going for a minimal makeup look. Painterly is matte and pretty much just blanks out the lid to hide any veins or other discoloration, but it's a great option for a base under virtually any color eye shadow - and it works well if you want to look like you're wearing no makeup at all.

I will point out that Painterly has pink undertones, so if your skin has yellow undertones, Soft Ochre is probably a better option.

Tarte emphasEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow in shimmering moss

Tarte Amazonian Clay Cream Shadow in shimmering moss

 I'm a big fan of Tarte's Amazonian Clay Cream Shadows - they're super pigmented, easy to blend, and wear like iron - so I could really pick any of the three shades that I own as a favorite. 

But I've got to go with the gorgeous shimmering moss, a deep, olive-y green gold with beautiful gold shimmer. 

Tarte shimmering moss cream shadow swatch

Because I'm so fair, it can be tough for me to put together a smokey eye that doesn't look like I've been sucker punched.  Shimmering moss is perfect for that - I'll blend a little of this across my lids and then go over it with a similarly colored powder shadow, which I usually take up into the crease too.  Add some black liner and I've got a super easy, super wearable smokey eye. 

For the record, the other Tarte cream shadows I have are shimmering taupe (light golden brown) and pink champagne (a light pink) are both gorgeous, but the color aren't that unique so you may already have simiilar shades in your collection.

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in R.S.V.P.

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in R.S.V.P.
Like the Tarte cream shadows, Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadows are pretty great product. They're a bit sheerer than the Tarte shadows and I do find them a little harder to blend than the MAC Paint Pots or Tarte shadows (it's almost as if they have a drier consistency, if that makes sense) - but I find that they wear extremely well. 

I love R.S.V.P. because it's a soft, shimmery pink shade that brightens the eye when used on its own and works well under quite a few powder shadows in my collection (Urban Decay's Sin in particular).

Benefit R.S.V.P. Cream Shadow swatch

The color is similar to Tarte's cream shadow in pink champagne, but for the record, I do find myself reaching for R.S.V.P. a little more often.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Shadows in Pomegranate Punk, Bad to the Bronze & Tough as Taupe

Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Shadows in Pomegranate Punk (l.), Bad to the Bronze (r.) & Tough as Taupe (l.)

First of all, I must apologize for the poor lighting in the Color Tattoo photos.  Hopefully, you've seen enough pictures of these gems to be able to get a better idea of what these shades really look like.

Maybelline's Color Tattoo Cream Shadows are a seriously fabulous product - they wear as well as any of the high end shadows mentioned above and are beautifully pigmented, but they are a fraction of the price - which makes them tops in my book.

The only issue that I really have with these shadows is that I wish they were available in a few more shades. (The lack of a skin tone shade is a particularly glaring.)

In particular, I love Pomegranate Punk, a shimmery wine; Bad to the Bronze, a golden brown; and Tough as Taupe, a gray purple. 

Maybelline Pomegranate Punk (l.), Bad to the Bronze (c.) & Tough as Taupe (r.)
I love to pair Pomegranate Punk with Stila's Kitten eye shadow, a gold shade, for a pretty look that makes me think of fall. I reach for Bad to the Bronze a lot when I'm in a rush because it's perfect for wearing all by itself (and it looks great with blue eyes).  Tough as Taupe is a great base for so many shadows, ranging from purple to gray. 

What are your favorite cream shadows?


  1. Tarte emphaseyes looks gorgeous! I love olives. :)

    I used to love cream eyeshadows (the Benefit ones,) but since then I've tried a lot more, and the benefit AND too faced ones seem to be the only ones I like. Loved this post Jennifer! :)

    1. It's really hard to find a good cream shadow. The Benefit ones are excellent, but I haven't tried the Too Faced shadows. I'll have to add those to my future buy list. ;)

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