Why Cream-Based Makeup Is Making A Comeback

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If you're a fan of beauty TikTok, then you may be familiar with the clean girl look that's currently trending. According to Byrdie, the clean girl look is all about enhancing the skin's natural glow in a way that would have people wondering if you always wake up looking flawless. To achieve the look, it's crucial to use products that blend seamlessly into the skin so that it doesn't necessarily look like you're wearing makeup.

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One easy way to achieve this glowy look is to rely on cream makeup, per Allure. Opting for cream bronzer, blush, and highlighter can help give a more natural sun-kissed look to the skin. Los Angeles makeup artist Alexandra French especially recommends cream blush, telling Allure it's "always a must-have for a clean skin look."

Beauty product reviewer Kelly Gooch explained why cream products tend to look better on the skin, saying, "Because cream products have a little bit more moisture to them, they replicate the skin's texture a little bit better. So they look a lot more natural." While cream makeup is trendy now, it's not a recent innovation. In fact, Insider reports that the first use of a product that resembles cream blush traces back to ancient Egyptian civilization. People at the time were combining animal fat with red ochre powder to create what we would consider a lip-cheek tint. These days, popular types of cream products that are available include eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, highlighters, and complexion products.

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The popularity of cream makeup in modern times

Cream makeup became especially popular during the 1970s when celebrities like Farah Fawcett donned the "au naturel" look that consisted of a fresh face. Women typically wore generous layers of bronzer to look like they had just gone on vacation and used cream blush in natural tones to add a juicy flush to their cheeks, per Hair and Makeup Artist Handbook. Cream eyeshadows that came in pots or tubes were commonly used as well to get the coveted frosty sheen that was trending at the time.

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Now, cream makeup has come a long way and current formulations are nothing like the products your mother used to get ready for disco night. No longer will you have to worry about cream eyeshadows creasing on your eyelids or cream blushes disappearing after a couple of hours. With the right products and techniques, you can enjoy the clean girl trend and stay looking fresh (never greasy) all day long (via Elle Canada).

Former host of the BBC version of "What Not to Wear," Trinny Woodall, told Elle Canada, "Cream formulations offer the ability to make any coverage look really natural and blend into your skin — not sit on top of it." According to Cosmopolitan, because cream products "melt" into your skin, they can be seamlessly blended using your fingertips. Cream formulations work especially well on dry skin types and those who have wrinkles, as creams don't emphasize texture or settle into lines.

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Application tips to make cream products work well

Julie Cusson, a Chanel makeup artist, advises using your fingertips to apply cream makeup, as the warmth generated from your fingers can help the product meld into your skin (per Elle Canada). If you're applying a cream-based foundation, you can also opt for a flat-top brush with short, dense fibers to boost the coverage. Byrdie recommends using a foundation stick like the Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick for a foolproof, precise application.

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When applying cream cheek products (i.e., bronzer, blush, highlighter), remember that a little can go a long way (via Elle Canada). Legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown recommends starting with a small dot of product and then building up in light layers until you get to your desired level of pigmentation. Your skin will look like it's naturally blushing or glowing, rather than appearing blotchy.

For an ultra-natural, "no-makeup" look, Kelly Gooch recommends the reverse application technique, which consists of applying all your cream cheek products directly over the primer, and then stippling your foundation on top — giving a literal lit-from-within glow. Cream eyeshadow can add a gorgeous sheen to your eyelids, per Elle Canada. If you're worried about creasing, opt for a cream shadow that sets to a powder, rather than using a powder to set the cream shadow. The powder can dull the high-shine effect that a cream shadow gives. Using any product from our list of best cream shadows will guarantee glamour that's locked in all night.

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How to make cream makeup last all night

Kelly Gooch says a major reason why people may avoid using cream products is they don't know how to work with the product to ensure long-lasting wear-time. Bobbi Brown advised being intentional on where you apply cream foundation for longer wear time, telling Elle Canada, "You have to strategically know where to put the creamy product: on your cheeks, but keep it away from your nose, chin and forehead." Applying light layers and blending them before using additional product can also help the makeup set properly, per Refinery29.

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People with oily skin can opt for a lightweight gel/water-based moisturizer or serum under a mattifying primer (via Elle Canada). Using a cream bronzer and blush that set to a powder finish can also go a long way, literally. Town and Country recommends the NARS Bronzing Cream for its long-wearing and skin-firming abilities, while People recommends the Milani Cheek Kiss Cream Blush for its easy application and quick-drying finish.

Per Boundless Bloom Life, those with oily skin would benefit from setting their makeup with a powder, while dry skin could benefit from a setting spray. Refinery29 suggests using a lightweight, translucent setting powder to lock in the cream-based look while retaining the skin-like effect. For a more glamorous look, you can also try setting the cream products with powder bronzer, blush, and highlighter. With a creamy complexion, now you can look like you just finished sunbathing in Cancun — even during these sweater weather months.

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