It’s taken me a while to come around to cream makeup products – I’ve loved stick and pot eyeshadows for ages, but it’s only recently that I’ve really got into complexion products that don’t come as pressed powders. My mum’s been a long-time lover of cream blush, and with good reason – they’re super easy to apply and work with and look infinitely more natural and flattering than most powder cheek colours. The same goes for highlighters, where creamy formulas are excellent in the summer to capture that super-dewy glow on the cheeks (not to mention the time and faff that they cut out of your routine).
H&M Cream Blushers
I’m super bummed out about these not being available anymore, and I really hope H&M come out with something similar in the future (they seem to be chucking a lot of their beauty stuff, so perhaps a re-brand is coming?). Regardless, I still want to talk about how amazing these little cream blushers are – I grabbed them in the sale at my local H&M a couple of months ago, for about £2 each, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed. The colours I picked up range from bright peachy pinks to rosy brown tones, and they’re all as wonderfully pigmented and blendable as each other (my particular favourite is Cameo Brown, which looks so understated on the cheeks).
With cream colours in a pan, like these ones, I really prefer to use a brush for application – specifically my Blush Brush from Real Techniques, which is fluffy enough to pick up plenty of product, but shaped so that you have a fairly well-directed application of colour. As I mentioned, the blushers blend out incredibly well, without streaks or patches, melting seamlessly into the skin at that perfect level of not-too-sheer but not-too-strong. The staying power is impressive, too, especially for a cream blush, and I find that these haven’t gone weird, broken down, or faded too much over the course of an 8+ hour work day (and in the current summer heat).
The packaging is also supremely lovely, as with pretty much all of H&M’s beauty range – it all has a minimal but feminine look to it that reminds me of vintage styles from the 20’s and 30’s. The compacts (which are sadly mirrorless) are hexagonal, in an off-white ivory colour with gold edging around bottom half – their powder blushers, which are still available although I have yet to try them, look very similar, but with a black and gold component instead. I appreciate the whole aesthetic H&M Beauty has, especially when most products these days look either super-clinical or horribly garish.
I’ll continue to use these gorgeous little blushers, until they run out or go bad, but again – it’s really unfortunate that H&M have discontinued such a great product. Fingers crossed that they replicate something equally brilliant with a future launch.
Glossier Cloud Paints
Another cream blush/cheek colour, although this time it’s a liquid – Glossier’s now-infamous Cloud Paints. As with (I suspect) a lot of people, the idea of a liquid blush was initially pretty scary. Such formulas are tougher to work with and control than solid colour that sits in a pan, and you could very easily end up with streaky and messy clown-cheeks – good for editorials, not so much for everyday me. Despite these reservations, Cloud Paint was very quickly celebrated in the beauty community for its ease of application and how seamlessly glowy and natural the formula looked on the skin – and so I was caught up in the hype (and the Glossier mania in general, which you can probably tell from my previous blog posts).
The hype turned out to be right – these are some of loveliest colours I’ve ever had the pleasure of tapping into my cheeks. A little goes a very long way, and they just give the most angelic diffused blush to the skin, as if you’re naturally flushing in a totally flattering way (not like how I usually tend to flush, which is more akin to a tomato). My favourite shade of the two that I have is Beam, a coral-pink that offsets the pink tones in my skin, but I’d really love to try the more brown shade, Dusk at some point. Glossier have also just released two new colours of Cloud Paint, bringing the total to six (very different) tones with something for all complexions.
L’Oreal Infallible Highlighter Stick
While I wasn’t mad about the foundation stick launch that paired with this next product (full post all about that here), or the liquid primer, the creamy highlighter stick has been a surprise favourite! I ended up with 502, a cool rosy tone that doesn’t pull too icy but is pale enough that it looks seamless on my complexion. I don’t like to apply it directly from the stick, as I find that it disrupts my base and doesn’t look quite as smooth – instead, I’ll tap some onto my fingers and pat it across the cheekbones and cupid’s bow.
The formula is soft without looking greasy, and I really appreciate the reflective quality that the highlighter has, diffusing light and looking like a pretty glow without any chunky glitters that emphasise skin texture. The sticks come in three other shades – a super-cool bluey white, a deeper pink-peach and a warm mid-toned gold – and are perfect to travel with and top up during the day (if you’re feeling fancy).
Cream Eyeshadow Sticks
I have a lot of lazy days, and usually don’t end up leaving myself a huge amount of time to get ready for work – enter the stick eyeshadow. Providing the shade isn’t too crazy, these are so foolproof to use that I can achieve shimmery smoky eye perfection in a couple of minutes in the back of the car – even over speed bumps.
I couldn’t pick just one brand, as each one that I have comes in its own array of colours and they all have different textures and tones. My most-used/go-to stick shadows are:
KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow
These were the first that I tried, and they’re surely one of KIKO’s best products. There’s an array of colours and finishes (both matte and sparkly) available for just £6.90 each (although there’s currently a sale on – you can grab them for just £4.80!), but my absolute ride-or-die shade is 05 Rosy Brown. It’s that perfect pink-lilac toned brown that really flatters green/hazel eyes, like my own, and is forgiving even if you smear it all over the place.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick
This is an itty-bitty travel size that I got in a limited edition Estee Lauder box, and is the only thing I’ve tried from the brand (we recently got a counter in my local Debenhams, so I’m looking forward to searching all their stuff). I really love this shade (Golden Pink) all over the lid for something more bright, or just on the inner corners for a shimmery pop – I packed this on holiday last year and the pretty peach shimmer was perfect for the doing low-maintenance looks during the super-hot day.
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick
Another tiny little stick, this time from Laura Mercier – whose Caviar Sticks are one of the most well known twist-up cream eyeshadow formulas in the game. This one I received in a Birchbox a while back, and I have to say, it might be my most-used eyeshadow of the past year. The shade is Amethyst – another lilac-taupe not dissimilar to the KIKO stick – apparently the most popular shade in this product. It’s so brilliant for creating a subtle but smoky eye, which can be done by swiping both on the lid and under the eyes then blending out with a good pencil brush. As with the KIKO stick, this shade is an excellent way to wear something deeper and more cool-toned without any fuss or ending up looking overdone. I just love it a lot, and will definitely be purchasing the full-sized tube when this runs out (although the mini ones are brilliant).
I’m sure I’ll end up discovering loads more cream hero products this year (next up: Glossier Haloscope), having totally opened myself up to all the non-powder possibilities. That being said, I still love my L’Oréal Life’s A Peach and Becca Champagne Pop – I’m just more likely to reach for something easy and seamlessly blendable in a hurry.