The best cream eyeshadows for long-lasting, crease-free color

Our beauty team selects the best cream eyeshadows, from bargain buys to luxury treats

A collage of three of the best cream eyeshadows by charlotte tilbury, laura mercier and rare beauty
(Image credit: Future/brands)

The best cream eyeshadows should have staying power, give beautiful, flattering color and be easy to swipe on and blend to perfection.

Forget the endless buffing of even the best eyeshadow palettes, cream eyeshadows are incredibly forgiving and apply seamlessly with just a fingertip. These formulas can be used on any skin type but work particularly well on dry skin as they tend to be more hydrating. They're also great if you like to apply your base first as they won't fall out onto cheeks like some powder shadows.

While cream shadows have been growing in popularity for a few years now (so it wouldn't be entirely accurate to call them a makeup trend) there has been an explosion of these products hitting the market, allowing us to experiment with trending looks in a flattering way. "They are finer and skin-like, beautifying rather than theatrical," agrees MAC Director of Makeup Artistry, Terry Barber. "This allows makeup wearers to be more adventurous with color because they are so flattering and easy to apply."

How we tested the best cream eyeshadows

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Every product in this guide has been personally tested by the woman&home beauty team, and worn for at least a day - usually several - to assess how it measured up on: 

  • Packaging 
  • Ease of application
  • Pigment and finish
  • Fade and crease-proof powers 
  • Value for money
  • Shade range 

We tested dozens of cream eyeshadows to create this all-time best-of list, and will keep it regularly updated with the latest launches to ensure it reflects the best of the best on the market right now.

The best cream eyeshadows, as tested by our beauty team 

Charlotte Tilbury eyes to mesmerise

(Image credit: Charlotte Tilbury)

1. Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerise

Best cream eyeshadow overall

Specifications

RRP: £22 / $34
Shades: 14
Texture: Mousse

Reasons to buy

+
Highly pigmented
+
Easy to blend
+
Great range of matte/shimmer shades
+
Hydrating formula

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for those on tight budgets

Charlotte Tilbury's makeup line has delivered some of the best lip liners on the market as well as top-rated mascaras, but the chart-topping makeup artist's talents don't stop there. This ultra-pigmented range of cream eyeshadows is our overall winner for a number of reasons. 

These creamy, mousse-like shadows, seen here in the color Star Gold, give incredible color payoff and are so easy to apply you don't even need a brush. The line kicked off with shimmery shades that are perfect for nights out, but there are now five matte shades too. These give great staying power and don't settle into fine lines.

We love that the little pots are pretty deep, and the formula is very blendable so even though they aren't cheap, you will get plenty of bang for your buck with these cream shadows.  If you're looking for a cream eyeshadow that doesn't immediately dry out, these will be your winner too - they stay creamy once opened, giving you enough time to use the entire pot. 

The Body Shop Freestyle Multi-Tasking Colour

(Image credit: The Body Shop)

2. The Body Shop Freestyle Multi-Tasking Colour

Best budget cream eyeshadow

Specifications

RRP: $18 / £12
Shades: 10
Texture: Glossy cream

Reasons to buy

+
Very blendable with a sheeny finish
+
Non-drying
+
Can be used on eyes, lips and cheeks
+
Pigment tested on all skin tones
+
Vegan 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can feel a little tacky at first
-
Limited shades

Part of a new-ish collection by The Body Shop that's centered around creative expression and freedom, these fun little tubes of pigment can be used on the eyelids, but also lips, cheeks, and wherever else you fancy. 

We love that this great value range has been tested on a variety of skin tones, to ensure the pigment looks just as punchy on very deep skins as it does paler types. We found the creamy, glossy texture supremely easy to apply and blend, although it can feel a little tacky at first. You can either dab and wait for this to die down or top it with a little setting powder if you prefer a matte, longer-wearing finish. 

The benefit of that looser, sheenier feel is not only doing it create a flattering glossy eye finish, but it'll never dry out or settle into lines as powders can. The shades are mostly pink, peach, and neutral, which makes sense if you are using it on the lips and cheeks as well as eyes. But if you are looking for very basic neutrals you won't find them here. 

Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Liquid Eyeshadow

(Image credit: Rare Beauty )

3. Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Liquid Eyeshadow

Best liquid-to-powder cream eyeshadow

Specifications

RRP: $24.50 / £19
Shades: 5
Texture: Liquid to powder

Reasons to buy

+
A cinch to apply
+
Intense pigment
+
Beautiful shades
+
Very budge-proof once it sets

Reasons to avoid

-
You have to blend fast

Celebrity beauty brands may be ten-a-penny but genuinely good ones are far trickier to come by. Rare Beauty, by Selina Gomez, is just that - one of those rare, excellent makeup collections backed by a famous face. 

This is one of the best products of the bunch, a liquid eyeshadow that you swipe on with a pleasingly easy built-in doe foot applicator. It applies like a thick cream but very quickly sets down into a matte, powdery finish. We did find this meant we had to apply it decisively and blend it quickly before it set, as once it does this stuff is going nowhere. The punchy pigment lasted all afternoon and well into the evening for us, only creasing slightly as we approached the day's end, which is great going. 

Our tester has oily lids and prepped with a bit of neutral shadow to help with grip, which prevented any creasing whatsoever. But for those with a balanced or dry skin type you won't need this extra step. We love the shade range here, which is limited to five, but every single one is a beautiful and versatile neutral with fashionable warm undertones.

Trinny London Eye2Eye

(Image credit: Trinny London)

4. Trinny London Eye2Eye

Best long wearing cream eyeshadow

Specifications

RRP: £18 / $24
Shades: 28
Texture: Cream

Reasons to buy

+
Huge color range
+
Great longevity
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite sheer, which won't suit all

This makeup brand is well worth a look for so many products. The Trinny London Miracle Blur Lip and Line Filler has become one of the biggest sellers of Trinny Woodall's eponymous beauty line and these excellent cream eyeshadows are also proving popular. 

These hydrating pots of pigment, shown here in Chariot, are supremely easy to apply and go on with a swipe of a finger (all nodding towards Trinny's love of no-nonsense, anyone-can-do-it beauty.) They blend out incredibly well and last all day. With medium-strong pigment, a single layer is enough to give a sheer wash of color. You probably won't ever create a fully opaque look with these, but you can build up a few different shades to add definition. 

We love the huge range of colors, which means you can play around with natural makeup looks or try something a bit more dramatic, depending on your mood. 

Mac Pro longwear paint Pot

(Image credit: MAC)

5. MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot

Best matte cream eyeshadow

Specifications

RRP: £17.50 / $23
Shades: 17
Texture: Cream/gel

Reasons to buy

+
Great selection of matte shades
+
Easy to blend
+
Very long-wearing

Reasons to avoid

-
Short on shimmer shades

Dubbed the original cream eyeshadow, MAC's Pro Longwear Paint Pots were certainly one of the first cream shadows worth bothering with from a lasting power perspective. Sop in that sense, paved the way for other brands to release similar although often inferior products. They come in a sizeable range of shades (seen here in Soft Ochre) including matte and shimmers, are easy to blend and great for creating subtle or more dramatic eyeshadow looks. 

As the name suggests, these pigments are very long-wearing and will go the distance. They don't fade, crease or dry out your eyelids and make a great base for powder eyeshadows or for use on their own. The only downside we found was a lack of really sparkly, bright colors. A few subtle shimmers are available but if you want your makeup to pack a punch, then you might find a better selection elsewhere. 

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour

(Image credit: Laura Mercier)

6. Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color

Best cream eyeshadow stick

Specifications

RRP: £26 / $29
Shades: 49
Texture: Solid cream

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to apply with the stick
+
Great shade range
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

-
Can smudge on oily sklin

As this Laura Mercier cream eyeshadow is a stick (shown here in Grey Pearl), it's one of the easiest to apply of any product here. Just swipe it across lids straight from the bullet then take a fluffy brush, or your fingers, to blend out the lines. Et voila! A perfect smoky eye. 

Not only does this formula beat the rest in terms of ease of application, but it also comes in a great shade range. In keeping with this brand's natural French-girl aesthetic, the softer shades are the most flattering options here, although from sparkly soft pinks to intense matte cobalt blues, you can really create any makeup look you want.

We also love the transfer-resistant formula, which doesn't fade, won't smudge all over the place, and on the whole doesn't settle into lines or creases (although our oily-skinned tester did find they slipped a little as the day went on) But overall these last well and feel very creamy, making them a lovely option for mature eyes. 

Tom Ford Cream Colour For Eyes

(Image credit: Tom Ford)

7. Tom Ford Cream Color For Eyes

Best luxury cream eyeshadow

Specifications

RRP: £32 / $46
Shades: 5
Texture: Mousse/cream

Reasons to buy

+
Intense pigment
+
Hydrating mousse-like formula
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Limited shades

A luxury splurge this might be, but if you're willing to part with the cash, this cream eyeshadow (shown here in Opale) is the most buttery, easy-to-blend formula on our list. It applies like a dream and with a single swipe you get an incredible color payoff. 

Although this has a limited shade range, we found the formula 100% crease-resistant, transfer-proof, and a must-have if you love glowing, enhanced eyes. Free from chunky glitter but rich in delicate shimmer, these look expensive on the eyes. The shades are generally on the glam side, so may not suit everyday wear but these are definitely the cream eyeshadows to choose for a special occasion. 

These shadows are lovely, but they are expensive: even when you're talking about the best cream eyeshadows going, close to $50 is still an eye-watering sum to pay for a single color. But, if you have the funds, you're sure to be pleased with this product's performance. 

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadow

(Image credit: Maybelline)

8. Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadow

Best natural-looking cream eyeshadow

Specifications

RRP: £4.99 / $7.99
Shades: 12
Texture: Gel/cream

Reasons to buy

+
Buildable pigment
+
Affordable
+
Easy to blend

Reasons to avoid

-
Dries out quickly

A true multi-tasking product, this cream eyeshadow can be used as an eyeshadow, highlighter, and gel liner in one (depending on the color you choose, of course.) It's soft, creamy, and completely transfer-resistant allowing you to create just about any eye look you want without the fear of it sliding off your lids. 

Unlike the Body Shop's formula, which errs more on the glossy side, this budget cream eyeshadow does have potential to dry out. The way to resolve that is simply pulling the lid taut when applying to ensure the formula doesn't settle into lines after every use. So any drying out is entirely preventable with a little extra care. 

The shade shown here is Risk Maker and this inky black color makes a great base for a smoky eye or to use as a liner. Its buildable pigment gives you good control over how intense your look is so opt for one layer for a wash of color or two to three layers for an opaque payoff. We suggest finishing off your makeup with one of the best Maybelline mascaras to really tie it all together. 

3INA Cream Eyeshadow

(Image credit: 3INA)

9. 3INA Cream Eyeshadow

Best cream eyeshadow for colorful makeup looks

Specifications

RRP: £14.95 / $17
Shades: 18
Texture: Gel/cream

Reasons to buy

+
Huge shade range
+
Strong pigment
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
A little dry

If you're in the market for a bright cream eyeshadow then look no further. 3INA has some of the most pigmented formulas on our list, in a rainbow of colors. The shade shown here, Burgundy, is a particularly great eyeshadow for brown eyes but if you have green or blue eyes, take a look at the shades Brown and Pink Nude to really make your peepers pop. 

The formula itself does blend out well but feels a little dry when compared with more expensive alternatives but, if you apply an eyeshadow primer to smooth the eyelids, this shouldn't be much of a problem. We love that this range is entirely vegan-friendly and the vibrant shade range is unbeatable in terms of variety. Plus, the color payoff is exceptionally strong, so if more intense makeup looks are your style, look no further. 

Too Faced Melted Chocolate Matte Eyeshadow

(Image credit: Too Faced)

10. Too Faced Melted Chocolate Matte Eyeshadow

Best cream eyeshadow for neutral makeup looks

Specifications

RRP: £19 / $21
Shades: 7
Texture: Liquid/cream

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to apply with wand
+
Hydrating formula
+
Easy to blend
+
Pigmented

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited shades
-
Fragranced

If vibrant shades of neon on your eyelids aren't really your thing, then opt for matte browns to create a more natural makeup look. These pigmented, liquid-cream eyeshadows from Too Faced, shown here in the shade Amaretto, are some of the most hydrating you can buy so if your eyelids tend to flake or become chalky with powder eyeshadows, you're sure to love these. 

One of the nicest things about this product is the mousse-like, velveteen finish, which doesn't cake, crease, or transfer and feels featherlight on the skin. It wears really nicely too, without creasing or dissolving. 

The wand applicator means your product won't dry out over time and we were able to apply directly to the eye without messing up our fingers. We suggest blending it out with a fluffy brush to create a diffused look. If scent is important to you, you'll either love or hate the chocolatey aroma these give out, if you'd rather avoid any type of fragrance near your eyes, you may want to stay away from these. 


How to choose the best cream eyeshadows for you

There are a few things to look for when picking the best cream eyeshadows: 

  • Texture: Formulas vary greatly when it comes to cream eyeshadows, from dip-in pots to the best eyeshadow sticks in creamy formulas. Look for smooth, mousse-like textures as these will apply and blend more easily. If possible, avoid cream eyeshadows that feel dry to the touch (test in-store if you can) as these will accentuate fine lines and be trickier to apply on lined lids.
  • Pigment: If you're a fan of bright eyeshadow looks, choose a highly pigmented cream eyeshadow as these will mean you use less product over time and it's generally a lot more cost-effective. Strong pigment means your cream eyeshadow can also double up as an eyeliner.
  • Blending power: If you like a smoky eye, go for cream eyeshadows that don't immediately set as this gives you more time to play with it and blend out harsh lines. The best cream eyeshadows should be easy to blend with just your finger.
  • Longevity: A long-lasting formula is your best option as these won't need touching up throughout the day. When prepped correctly, cream eyeshadows can actually last longer than powders and don't settle into fine lines or creases. Using an eyeshadow primer can help if your eyelids are less firm, or particularly lined.