I've previously employed this space to pay homage to the eyeshadow pencil, my preferred method of application when it comes to enhancing my lids [for both their practicality and ease of use] and as the product that forms the most significant percentage of my eyeshadow collection. Despite their compact form and dexterous performance however, I'm not blind to the merits of alternate options, and have grown increasingly smitten with the concept of cream eyeshadows. They may take a little more work, and lack the portability of pencil form, but the variety of textures and formulas on offer make the genre a joy to explore. Providing a finesse and depth that surpasses the finish of a powder, and offering just a little more texture than a pencil can provide, a good cream eyeshadow can dupe the seemingly complex effect of a skilfully applied traditional eyeshadow blend, making it a perfect choice for the eyeshadow novice.

CHANEL Illusion D'Ombre Longwear Luminous Eyeshadow in Mirage

This warm, muted gold taupe applies sheer and elegant but can easily be built up to something more dramatic and rich - meaning it transitions easily from day to night, and will enhance any eye colour. Ideal for adding depth to a subtly smoky eye, or enhancing a natural look. It's almost impossible to define the texture, which falls somewhere between powder, gel, and cream - soft, cushiony, and velvety smooth, it has the blending capabilities of a powder, but the ease of use proffered by a cream formula, and can even serve to define or smudge along the lashlines for a sultry, smokey effect. The texture certainly takes some getting used to; when applying as a shadow, the fingertips serve best for delivery, followed by brushes to blend. Despite its name, I don't find this to be particularly long-lasting - so pair it with an eyelid primer to prolong its lifespan.

NARS Eye Paint in Iskandar*

A spot-on gilded gold hue - bright, bold, and with just the right amount of iridescence - if you've long been on the hunt for the perfect gold shade, your search ends here. Texture-wise the Nars Eye Paints are a joy to use and completely effortless to apply; a fingertip blended across the lid results in a subtle metallic sheen, weightless, long-lasting, and easily built up to something more opaque. Alternatively go bold and think outside the box- use an angled liner brush to trace a line of gold across the lash line or define a bigger and bolder cat-eye flick for a gold-leaf effect. Creaseproof, flakeproof, waterproof, and even sweatproof, your Christmas party eye just got sorted, three months ahead of schedule.

BENEFIT Creaseless Cream Shadow in Bikini-tini

The creamy, sheer formula blends easily and lasts all day, resulting in a fresh pearlescent sheen that suits all skin tones and eye colours. The innovative lightweight texture glides on and adheres to the eyelid perfectly, with a rich colour payoff that lasts for hours without slipping or creasing. The versatile champagne-nude hue is a failsafe, working as well on its own as it does when layered and blended with other shades and formulas [in a pinch this makes a fantastic base for powder shadows] and the frosted finish also looks spectacular when paired with a slick of black eyeliner.

B. Stunning Vibrant Eye Shimmer in Copper 

For a budget option, this has an impeccable formula and well deserves a home within this edit; the luxurious cream texture glides on smoothly, stays in place all day, and washes off in an instant. Its formula is also one of the few that both applies and blends well with a blush - ideal if you don't like getting your fingers dirty, and foolproof for novice users. This delicate copper shade perfectly complements blue and green eyes, serving to emphasise their colour. For a particularly intense look, apply with a wet smudge brush to make the shade both more metallic and more dramatic.

CLARINS Ombre Matte Cream-To-Powder Eyeshadow in Heather*

The professional option, combining the smooth ease of use of a cream with the hold and finesse of a powder - the dense formula blends easily and vanishes upon application, leaving a weightless matte and powdery wash of silky pigment. Apply with fingertips or a blending brush for a subtle veil of colour, or add water to intensify the pigment and achieve a bold matte look. This grey-toned violet shade is bang on trend for A/W15's smokey purple eye, and has just the right balance of colour to persuade even the neutral obsessed into embracing the hue of the season. Despite its powdery finish, the formula adheres to the eye without fallout, meaning it lasts well and won't irritate sensitive eyes.

What are your favourite cream eyeshadow formulas?


Makeup, The JournalGrace Day