How to Apply Cream Eyeshadow

By Sarah Vrba

Powder eyeshadows tend to crease and wear off over the course of the day, not to mention how difficult they are to blend without some practice. Cream eyeshadow, on the other hand, adds a punch of glowing moisture, blends easily, stays in place for hours and works on both mature and youthful skin.

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Prime and Proper

Since cream eyeshadows are moist, they need something to cling to. Prep your eyelids by applying a tiny dab of eyelid primer with your ring finger. Work the product in over the entire eyelid and up to the eyebrow until it sits evenly on the lid. Primer creates a smooth, even base for consistent color and lasting wear, especially if you tend toward combination or oily skin.

Follow up the lid primer with a mineral veil or matte powder to seal the primer in place and to create a dry base for the cream eyeshadow. Keep the powder application extremely light to avoid a powdery, messy lid.

Dab a Dot

The basic application for cream eyeshadow requires no brushes and blends in quickly. Dab your pinkie finger into the shadow and then stipple your finger over your eyelid all the way up to the crease. Gently blend in the product as you dab until it sits evenly over the lid. This basic application works best for shimmery metallics and lighter cream eyeshadows, such as dove gray, eggshell or shimmery gold.

Dab your pinkie into the cream eyeshadow a second time if you need a bit more coverage. Define your eye with lighter metallics by focusing a little bit more color on the center of your eyelid and blending outwards.


Deeper shades of cream eyeshadow can sometimes benefit from a bit of structured application. If you want a smoky eye or some deeper contouring, opt for a deep purple, green or charcoal. Use a small, stiff-bristled eyeshadow brush for exact application.

Dip the brush into the cream shadow very gently. Sweep the brush over the lid in gentle, long strokes. Apply the product up to the crease and keep sweeping the brush across until the cream sits smoothly on the skin. If you want to focus the product and contour, use a windshield-wiper motion along the crease to initially apply the shadow. Next, blend any excess shadow down onto the eyelid to create a gentle decrease in color.