What is Creme Eyeshadow?

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  • Written By: Greer Hed
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Creme, or cream, eyeshadow is a type of cosmetic commonly used on the upper eyelid and brow bone to emphasize the wearer's eyes. It is one of four commonly worn eyeshadow types, with the other three being liquid eyeshadow, loose powder eyeshadow and pressed powder eyeshadow. Creme eyeshadow is usually made of a powdered pigment suspended in wax and other moisturizers, hence its creamy consistency. Some creme shadows are more fluid, with a consistency similar to lotion, while others are more solid and waxy, and still others called creme-to-powder shadows go on as a creme and dry to a powdery finish. Creme eyeshadow is generally considered to be one of the easiest types of eye makeup to apply, although it is usually not as long-wearing as powder eyeshadow.

This type of shadow is usually sold in a small tube with a tapered applicator nozzle, or in pots with screw-on lids. In either case, it is important to ensure that the creme eyeshadow is closed securely after use, as it tends to dry out very quickly. Unlike liquid or powder eyeshadow, it is unusual for creme shadow to come with an applicator brush or sponge. This is because creme shadows are meant to be applied with the fingertips, as heat from the hands warms the wax base of the eyeshadow, making it easier to apply and blend.


Creme eyeshadow is usually applied with the fingers, in a single stroke across the upper lid. Shadows may be layered and blended with the fingertips to create different color effects. Some makeup wearers will apply a layer of foundation to the upper eyelid before applying creme shadow so that the shadow goes on smoothly and evenly. A layer of powdered shadow applied after creme shadow can also help to set the creme shadow, making it longer lasting, although applying powdered shadow before creme shadow can cause the makeup to clump unevenly on the eyelids. Creme eyeshadow should also not be applied to the lower lids of the eye, as it can emphasize under-eye creases and make the wearer appear years older than they really are.

Though the contents of different creme eyeshadow formulas vary, for the most part this type of shadow is made using a wax base. Candelilla wax, beeswax, or carnauba wax are common choices. Creme eyeshadow with a texture more similar to lotion often contains water and glycerin instead of wax. Moisturizers, such as lanolin, are often added to creme shadows, making them a good choice for women who have dry skin around their eyes. The color of creme shadow is achieved by adding powdered pigments to the wax base, which may be either artificial colorings similar to food dyes, or powdered mineral pigments such as iron oxide.


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