How to Apply Cream Eye Shadow Like a Professional Makeup Artist

woman wearing cream eyeshadow


As a lover of eyeshadows, I have to be honest. Some formulas (cough, powder) are tricky to apply and apply well. Especially if you're aiming for a multi-dimensional or dark look, let's just say it could all go downhill quickly if you're not a professional. Thankfully, there's a more user-friendly formula that makeup artists swear are foolproof. Enter cream eyeshadows. They are super, well, creamy and blend like a charm. The best part is you can apply with your fingers so you won't waste 10 minutes trying to decide which makeup brush use. Trust me, we've all been there. Ahead, makeup artist Tobi Henney shares exactly how to choose, apply, and blend cream eyeshadow for a beautiful finish.

Meet the Expert

Tobi Henney is a makeup artist based in New York City. Her client roster includes the likes of Ashley Graham, Barbara Palvin, Charlotte Lawrence, and more. She previously served as L'Oréal Paris Makeup Director for Australia.

Step One: Choose Your Weapon

Unlike powder formulas, cream formulas can be applied using either a brush or clean fingers, which produces more color pay off. "Sometimes you can use them with your fingers," says Henney. "[Or] you can use a makeup brush, but they're just really easy if eyeshadow scares you."

Step Two: Tap Away the Excess

If you opt to use a brush, tap away any excess product on the back of your hand. "I find that if you go straight from product to your eye, it's going get a little bit messy and you may have a little bit too much product on your makeup brush," says Henney. "So it's best just to tap the excess off."

TF cream color for eyes
Tom Ford Cream Color For Eyes $46.00

"One of my favorite cream eyeshadows is the Tom Ford Beauty Platinum Cream Shadow. It is absolutely gorgeous; a beautiful bronze, golden eyeshadow and it just looks fantastic on blue eyes, green eyes, and brown eyes," she adds.

Step Three: Pat Product on In Soft, Slow Motions

"If you're looking into the mirror, I like to tilt my head [back] slightly, and pat the product on in a soft, slow motion," says Henney. "I like to pull upwards and outwards with my eyeshadow just to enhance [the look]."

Bobbi brown cream shadow stick
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick $30.00

"Another favorite of mine are the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks. These are gorgeous, they come in so many different colors, and they're really easy to use," says Henney. "You just wind them up, pop them on your eyes, and you're good to go."

Step Four: Blend

"The trick with cream eyeshadow is you have to work quite quickly, because you don't want it to sit," explains Henney. "But I must say, I find cream eyeshadow much easier for beginners than powder. It's really easy to blend, and you can just do a wash of color in one shade and your makeup look is complete."

mecca eyeshadow
Mecca Max Zoom Shadow Stick in Rust $18.00

"This is a gorgeous stick. This is one of my favorite shades and it's called Rust. I use this a lot on myself, and I like to put a little bit on the lower lash line."

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