The 11 Best Cream Eyeshadows of 2023 That Won’t Slide or Smudge

We found the most mesmerizing shades in long-lasting formulas with the highest color payoff.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Best Cream Eyeshadows

InStyle / David Hattan

Pressed eyeshadows are a trusted staple in our makeup bag, but we’d argue that no one is immune to the siren call of a highly-pigmented cream eyeshadow. When we’re looking for something dewy and easy to blend or layer, we turn to cream eyeshadows for their innate ability to elevate an otherwise neutral makeup look with their luxurious textures, which also makes them a favorite among beginners and pros alike.

“Sometimes we may feel compelled to have perfectly blended shadows on our lids, which can feel daunting to achieve, but creams are more playful and encourage you to use your fingers and get a little more hands-on with makeup application,” says creative and editorial makeup artist Anya Tisdale. 

Cream eyeshadows also offer a fast, no-fuss application, free of the fallout we often see in pressed powders. You can simply tap on the pigment with your finger without needing to spend extra time buffing it out. And if you snag a rosy shade, you can easily use the silky formula as a blush or lipstick.

Best Overall

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick

Bobbi Brown

What We Love: The swipe-and-go cream shadow stick comes in over 20 shades, provides full coverage, and lasts all day without creasing.

What We Don’t Love: The tip is fragile and can easily crumble. 

The introduction of eye shadow sticks turned the beauty world on its head for the way they provide a full eye makeup look with just one easy swipe — and Bobbi Brown makes one of our favorite cream options. The brand recently revamped their formula to offer 24-hour waterproof coverage and they also added two more shades with a multi-chrome finish to their collection.

Despite the formula change, it’s just as blendable, velvety smooth, and lightweight as ever — and we’re still dazzled by how easy it is to glide the stick across our lids without it dragging or skipping over dry spots. 

We’re fans of its extensive shade range, which is available in 27 buildable hues and an array of finishes, from metallic and multi-chrome to subtle shimmer and matte. The creamy shadows vary from sheer to full coverage, so you can dab on some subtle shimmer to enhance your natural makeup or reach for a matte shade to add definition to a smokey eye — just add a few layers to build up the color.

One thing to note: Shadow sticks are fragile and can break when you press down too hard, but these shades are so pigmented that you only need a light hand to see a high color payoff. 

Price at time of publish: $32

Finish: Metallic, matte, shimmer | Coverage Level: Sheer to full | Shades: 27 | Size: 0.05 oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Budget

ColourPop Shadow Stix

ColourPop Cold Girl Shadow Stix

What We Love: These blendable eye shadow sticks are available in vibrant metallic or matte shades, making them fun and easy to work with. 

What We Don’t Love: They’re not for those who are glitter-averse.

We often gravitate toward ColourPop in the drugstore because of their whimsical packaging and punchy colors, which are often reminiscent of what you’d find wrapped in a candy shop. In the best way possible, these glittery shades are what we imagined wearing makeup would be like as a kid: Fun, easy, and full of sparkles. 

We’re very into the metallic, cool-toned lavender as well as the silvery baby pink shades, which are perfect for leaning into the Barbie aesthetic, but we rely on the warm, matte browns and taupes for everyday looks. Keep in mind that all of the 16 shades offer some shine — even the mostly matte finishes — so they’re not going to give you a totally natural look, but you can count on the super sparkling ones anytime you need a quick serotonin boost. 

Even more attention-grabbing than the cheeky names of these playful colors is how each one will leave you with opaque coverage that is buildable and blendable. Plus, the stick applicator comes with a built-in sharpener, making for the most hassle-free application ever.

Price at time of publish: $8

Finish: Metallic, matte | Coverage Level: Medium to full | Shades: 16 | Size: 0.048 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Palette

Tom Ford Eye Color Crème Eyeshadow Quad

Tom Ford Eye Color Crème Eyeshadow Quad


What We Love: These richly pigmented shades will deliver a natural-looking style — unless you want a bolder look, in which case all you’d have to do is layer up.

What We Don’t Love: The included applicator is not great for blending.

Recently, quartets have been on the margins of the eye shadow scene, as many beauty gurus tout large palettes with 10 or more shades, but this Tom Ford quad eyeshadow proves that sometimes less is more. Although you’ll only get four cream shadows, you’ll be amazed by the number of looks you can create using this streamlined palette. 

The stunning neutrals in the Rose Topaz colorway offer the most versatility in terms of finishes, as it contains one satin, one metallic, and two matte shades. However, for higher-impact, warmer tones, we turn to the three metallic finishes in Tiger Eye, which can be amped up with the fourth color, a dark matte brown perfect for adding dimension.

If you’re not big on shimmer, we suggest trying the earthy, dark matte shades found in the Smoky Quartz palette, which will give your eyes a sultry, dramatic look. The ultra-deep brown hue can also double as an eyeliner. 

Developed with a pigmented technology that taps moisturizing emollients to ensure a smooth application, the creams feel soft and weightless on lids. This innovative formula mimics a contoured effect, as it reflects light to add depth to your eyes, leaving them with a glowing finish. 

Although the applicator it comes with isn’t ideal for blending out the shades, we found that just using our fingers or a fluffy brush got the job done.

Price at time of publish: $90

Finish: Matte, shimmer | Coverage Level: Medium | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.31 oz each | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Matte

About Face Matte Fluid Eye Paint

About Face Matte Fluid Eye Paint


What We Love: The creamy liquid formula is easy to apply, available in over 20 colors, and can also be used on the cheeks and lips.

What We Don’t Love: It can dry a little patchy, so be sure to use a primer first. 

It’s nearly impossible to not have fun playing with the knock-out colors from Halsey’s popular makeup line. Tisdale loves these colorful shadows that slide right onto lids and settle into a matte finish that locks them in place for all-day wear. Simply apply one of the vivid hues onto your eyes (or lips and face) with the soft, cushion applicator, and you’ll instantly receive a bold makeup look.

Tisdale says that the creamy liquid formula lets her brush on eyeliner wings or eyelid designs easily and precisely. While you’ll certainly draw attention with the ultra-bright lime green or turquoise hues, you can also opt for the soft ballet slipper pink or muted browns or beiges for a more muted style.

Whatever look you land on, we recommend starting with a primer — we love this one from About-Face — to avoid a cakey finish.

Price at time of publish: $16

Finish: Matte | Coverage Level: Medium to full | Shades: 26 | Size: 0.15 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Shimmer

Phytosurgence Flash Florescence Cream Shadows

Phytosurgence Flash Florescence Cream Shadows


What We Love: These budge-proof neutral earth tones can be worn alone or used as a base for layering bold or glitter shades on top.

What We Don’t Love: They’re slow to restock shades.

If this indie beauty brand wasn’t on your radar already, it will be now. All six of these shimmering earth tones look like sparkling gemstones within their glass jar packaging. But the real magic happens once you swatch one of them across your lid and witness the immediate payoff of these shiny, nature-inspired colors.

Each of the shadows provides a pearlescent sheen finish without going overboard on glitter. You can build them up or buff them out, which “indicates the high complexity of the product,” says makeup artist Gabrielle Alvarez. She recommends topping them with a glitter shadow for a night out.

We’re thrilled the waterproof formula does a top-notch job at keeping the look fresh all day, because we never want to wipe the glorious hues off our lids. And although you may have to wait a little longer for your favorite shade to restock, it’s always worth it when you’re supporting a small business. 

Price at time of publish: $21

Finish: Pearlescent | Coverage Level: Sheer to full | Shades: 6  | Size: 0.14 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Mature Eyes

Armani Beauty Eye Tint Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeshadow

Armani Beauty Eye Tint Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeshadow


What We Love: These creamy liquid eyeshadows will stay firmly in place for up to 16 hours without needing a primer.

What We Don’t Love: The applicator makes it difficult to get every last drop of product from the bottom of the tube.

Armani Beauty is no stranger to red-carpet looks, but luckily you don’t need a celebrity makeup artist on your payroll to recreate Hollywood glamour. 

With 16 colors across a trio of finishes — shimmer, chrome, and matte — to choose from, you’ll be able to create any type of look you want, but the neutral tones are the true standouts. According to Beck Morgan, Armani Beauty National Face Designer, you can produce “a sophisticated smokey effect in seconds,” starting with the bronze shade as a base, followed by a swipe of the soft pink shimmer to top off your eye makeup with a gorgeous glow.

The water-based formula feels like nothing on your skin and glides effortlessly, even on lids with uneven texture. Its pear-shaped brush makes a thick application even easier, but it can also make it a little difficult to scoop out every last drop of product, although with the 16-hour wear time, you won’t burn through tubes quickly.

Price at time of publish: $36

Finish: Shimmer, metallic, matte | Coverage Level: Medium to full | Shades: 15 | Size: 0.13 oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Crease-Proof

Kulfi Zari Eyes Long-Lasting Crease-Proof Cream Eyeshadow

Kulfi Zari Eyes Long-Lasting Crease-Proof Cream Eyeshadow


What We Love: This brand makes five super-pigmented shadows in long-lasting metallic and shimmer finishes with a formula that also has skin nourishing ingredients.

What We Don’t Love: It can crease on textured eyelids.

Here at InStyle, we’re all-in on Kulfi Beauty’s smudge-proof eyeliners, along with Drew Barrymore who used them in her summer makeup routine. So when Tisdale steered us toward their latest launch of jewel-toned eyeshadows, we were immediately interested. 

Tisdale loves how the initial cream texture settles onto lids with one swatch before drying into a gorgeous powder metallic or shimmer finish that’ll have you sneaking a glimpse at your reflection all night long. And we really do mean all night — the shadows are super long-lasting, even without starting with a primer. However, if you have textured lids you may want to use a base, as bumps or uneven surfaces can cause the shadows to crease. 

She recommends just using your finger to apply these creamy eyeshadows, as the inclusion of vitamin E, chamomile, and aloe vera within the formula promise an easy glide across your lid. We especially love their daring hues, like deep champagne, blue chrome, and, our favorite, striking chartreuse. 

Price at time of publish: $30

Finish: Metallic, shimmer | Coverage Level: Medium to full | Shades: 5 | Size: 0.18 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Beginners

Danessa Myricks Beauty Colorfix Liquid Pigment

Danessa Myricks Beauty Colorfix


What We Love: With 30 shades to choose from, you can create an entire makeup look that’s long-lasting and delivers a youthful glow. 

What We Don’t Love: The coverage is pretty sheer.

Transfer-resistant, smudge-proof, and waterproof, these shades are not only super versatile, but they’ll stay put on your cheeks, lips, and eyes until it’s time to wash them off. Tisdale also credits the tube packaging for a seamless application, allowing you to better control how much product you apply. 

Even better, there are 30 metallic, matte, and high-shine shades currently available, so you don’t have to settle for a color you don’t totally love. Whether that means following in Doja Cat’s footsteps with the otherworldly, dazzling finishes of Alien and Mermaid, or keeping it low key with one of the rich burgundy or dark brown hues, like Plum Wine. Tisdale is particularly fond of the snowy shade, Lift, which she calls her “holy grail,” calling it the “perfect matte white that I use for every look.”

The colors look gorgeous solo, but since the coverage is fairly sheer, they are best used as a base before layering on other products.

Price at time of publish: $18

Finish: Matte, metallic, high shine | Coverage Level: Sheer to medium | Shades: 30 | Size: 0.34 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Sensitive Eyes

Mob Beauty Cream Clay Eyeshadow

Mob Beauty Cream Clay Eyeshadow

Mob Beauty

What We Love: This vegan formula filled with clean ingredients is long-wearing, available in a rainbow of tones and colors, and is safe for sensitive skin.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not super transfer-resistant. 

Alvarez says these cream shadows are “the best in the clean and natural beauty space.” Thanks to their wide range of colors — 16, to be exact — these eyeshadows have something for everyone. Each one is made of two types of clay and four plant waxes to produce a creamy texture that dries down into a long-lasting, semi-matte finish.

“Upon layering, the shades can give a creasy, worn-in grungey vibe,” says Alvarez. However, even if you’re not into the gritty Y2K aesthetic, we think the sheer coverage found in the dusty pinks, peaches, and corals alone give eyes a soft glow. Since it does dry down to a powder, we recommend applying it in thin layers to avoid it transferring under your eye.

From production to formula, the brand also keeps the planet top of mind by using refillable packaging, sustainably sourced plant-based ingredients, and cruelty-free practices. This hypoallergenic formula is also a win for anyone with sensitive or easily irritated eyes.

Price at time of publish: $18 

Finish: Semi-matte | Coverage Level: Sheer to medium | Shades: 13 | Size: 0.06 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Glitter

Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eye Shadow

Hourglass Cosmetics Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow

Hourglass Cosmetics

What We Love: The crease-free formula looks dewy on lids without any of the fallout you’ll get with other glitter eyeshadows. 

What We Don’t Love: You may need to apply several layers to get a more intense pigment.

We’ve never been ones who reserve glitter only for NYE — and why would we when we can effortlessly brush on one of these galaxy-inspired shades from Hourglass? 

Each one contains finely-pressed, refined glitter, rather than oversized flakes for a more sophisticated and prismatic effect that you could easily wear to the office without looking overdone.

The pearl-infused formula works to subtly reflect light to create an ethereal glow. It can be worn sheer, on top of a matte base, or layered with darker shades when you want something bold. And since the cream formula dries down quickly and stays exactly where you placed it, you won’t be wiping glitter from under your eye all day. 

You can’t go wrong with any of the nine shades, including both warm and cool tones, each one more lovely than the next.

Price at time of publish: $30

Finish: Glitter | Coverage Level: Sheer to Medium | Shades: 9 | Size: 0.12 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best with SPF

Supergoop! Shimmershade Illuminating Cream Eyeshadow SPF 30

Supergoop! Shimmershade Illuminating Cream Eyeshadow


What We Love: It’s one of the first eyeshadows to offer SPF 30 in a range of shimmering colors we actually want to wear. 

What We Don’t Love: It can crease after several hours of wear.

Sunscreen has surely evolved from the goopy, white-cast-causing formulas of yore. These days, you can find options that feel luxurious, are made with good-for-you ingredients, and double as both sun protection and makeup, starting with Supergoop!’s best-selling primer

Now, the brand has launched the first-ever eyeshadow with sun protection, which might sound kind of strange, but it’s actually genius, as five to 10 percent of skin cancer is found around the eye area. The skin around the eye is extra delicate, and it’s one of the first areas on the face to show signs of aging — which can be delayed with diligent sun protection. The four cream eyeshadows are made with nourishing, vitamin-rich ingredients, like chamomile, jasmine, and rose extract, which some scientists say can work as a soothing antioxidant.

Skincare benefits aside, the four shimmering neutrals apply like a dream to highlight and brighten lids, leaving them with a glowy halo. Their coverage is sheer, and not especially buildable, but the subtle radiance they offer is the finishing touch on a minimal makeup look. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Finish: Shimmer | Coverage Level: Sheer | Shades: 4  | Size: 0.18 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What to Keep in Mind


You can find cream shadows in nearly any kind of finish you like, although matte, metallic, glitter, and duo-chrome options tend to be the most popular.  

“I think everyone needs a good matte shade to build a smooth base, then you can add the others strategically to open the eyes,” says Morgan. 

He also recommends using a matte eyeshadow on oily lids, while soft shimmers can help give dry skin a healthy glow. We like the nourishing formulas found in the Supergoop! Shimmershades  and Phytosurgence Flash Florescence Cream Shadows

The beauty of cream shadows, though, says Tisdale, is that with proper skin prep (think: cleansing, moisturizing, and priming), any finish can look beautiful. It all comes down to personal preference and the look you want.


Cream eyeshadows have evolved over the years, and now you’ll find formulas that contain skin-enriching ingredients, like vitamin E, rose extract, and chamomile, to hydrate and soothe while still providing the full pigment we want. 

Alvarez tells us that most cream eyeshadows are developed with film formers, which is a binding ingredient that helps the shadow set in place on your lid and prevent it from sliding around. “These can be used as a base for powder eyeshadow, or give a more distressed, creamy look,” she says.


Picking the right tool or brush to apply a cream eyeshadow depends on the look you’re going for. First, decide on how much color you want on your lids, then think about your desired texture, whether that be dewy or powdery, and finally, how precise you want it to look.

When working with a compact or jar, Tisdale prefers applying different pressures with her fingers to “really get a feel for the product,” and blending out with a slightly dense fluffy brush to get a “more airbrushed, diffused look.”

Others cream eyeshadows, like Armani Beauty Eye Tints and About-Face Beauty Matte Fluid Eye Paints,  come with their own applicator — typically a wide paddle brush for an uncomplicated application with a fine point tip so you can go back in with precision, especially the tricky corner of the eye.

Your Questions, Answered

Who should use cream eyeshadow?

Anyone and everyone! 

“Someone who is beginning with makeup or is a little intimidated by powder eyeshadows may find comfort in a cream eyeshadow,” says Tisdale, adding that if you make a mistake, it’s easy to wipe off or buff out. 

Morgan says he reaches for them because you don’t typically see the amount of fallout you do with powder formula, which makes them a great choice for anyone looking for a cleaner application. 

How do you apply cream eyeshadow?

The easiest way is by using your fingers to spread and pat the cream evenly across the eyelids,  but it also depends on what look you’re trying to achieve. 

“You might take a fluffy brush to softly diffuse a cream color on your lid to get an airbrushed effect,” Tisdale says, adding that she typically uses this technique under her eyebrows and in her inner eye corners. 

For a classic eyeshadow look, Morgan recommends using a matte color one or two shades deeper than your skin tone and applying it to the middle area of your eye to build definition. “Then apply a shimmer or chrome to the eyelid and blend with the fingertip,” he says. Then, finish out the look by applying a black shade as an eyeliner with a fine point applicator.

Why Shop with Us

Irene Richardson is a writer covering fashion and beauty trends for InStyle. For this story, she spoke with creative and editorial makeup artist Anya Tisdale, makeup artist Gabrielle Alvarez, and Armani Beauty National Face Designer Beck Morgan.

InStyle uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lee, M. H., Nam, T. G., Lee, I., Shin, E. J., Han, A. R., Lee, P., Lee, S. Y., & Lim, T. G. (2018). Skin anti-inflammatory activity of rose petal extract (Rosa gallica) through reduction of MAPK signaling pathway. Food science & nutrition, 6(8), 2560–2567.

Related Articles