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18 best eye shadow creams and sticks that don't smudge

Makeup artists say these products are perfect for a minimalist look — here's why.
Woman applying eyeshadow with brush at home
Maskot / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

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The eye shadow section in any beauty or drugstore can be overwhelming. Personally, I've been using powder eye shadow since I started playing around with makeup as a little girl, so when I look at the tubes and sticks and pots of colorful pigment in the beauty aisle, I'm a little out of my league.

But beyond my beloved powder eye shadow palettes, there's a world of cream and stick eye shadows I know nothing about. Since I love makeup, I decided it was time to branch out and learn a bit more. So I talked to Nicole Cudzilo, a national makeup artist at Vapour Beauty, and asked her what it all means.

What are cream and stick eye shadows?

Surprisingly, Cudzilo told me my powder shadows actually require more work than some of their relatives, not to mention a variety of makeup brushes. Still, they do have an upside.

"Powder shadows are great to add depth and drama to looks, or for very sculpted and perfect makeup," she explained. "Very oily eyelids will usually do better with powder shadows, unless the cream formula they choose is waterproof."

"Cream and stick shadows are perfect for an effortless makeup style that looks polished, but not like you tried too hard," Cudzilo continued. "They're ideal for minimalists or those with on-the-go lifestyles, and they apply beautifully using only the heat of your fingertips."

Cudzilo says there are all types of these shadows on the market, some that are sheer and weightless and stay dewy and emollient throughout the day and others that dry down to powder for a waterproof finish.

"Those who enjoy glowing, skin-centric and natural-looking makeup will fall in love with cream shadows," she added, "especially going into the summer season. Most skin types will be able to find a formula to suit their wants and needs and everyone will enjoy how easy it is to simply blend with their fingers and go."

Must-try cream eye shadows

1. MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Paint Pot

Highly pigmented and long-wearing, these shadows go on creamy then dry to a vibrant finish that lasts up to 24 hours.

2. Bodyography Cream Shadow

Glitter, shimmer and pigment make up these cream shadows that give the perfect combination of color and shine.

3. SeneGence ShadowSense Creme to Powder Eye Shadow

This cream-to-powder shadow is available in over 100 matte or shimmer shades and can be used to accent, highlight, contour or line the eyes.

4. The Lip Bar Quick Lid One Swipe Eye Shadow

For a daytime or evening look, these pigmented shadows go on in seconds and are long-lasting.

5. Fleeky Friday Omega Gel Eye Shadow

This gel shadow has a creamy texture and changes color while maintaining a shimmery appearance.

6. Dome Beauty Eye Jewels 24-Hour Shadow

Quick-dry, long-lasting and non-sticky, these lightweight and highly pigmented cream shadows are perfect for all skin tones.

7. Bali Body Highlighter Stick

This cream-to-matte formula creates a subtle glow perfect for a daytime eye look.

8. Makeup Revolution Eye Glisten Eye Shadow

We love these double-ended wands both for the low price and the two complementing shades included in each tube.

9. Avon Glimmershadow

The buildable creamy formula of this Avon shadow is available in matte sateen, shimmer and glitter shades.

10. Supergoop Shimmershade

This cream eye shadow serves a higher purpose: It provides SPF 30 sun protection. Add in the shimmery shades it's available in and it just may be summer's perfect shadow.

Must-try stick eye shadows

1. Vapour Aura Multi Stick

A multi-purpose stick for cheeks, lips and eyes, this one-stop product adds color while moisturizing and calming skin.

2. Cover FX Shimmer Veil

This weightless, transfer-proof, crease-proof formula can also be used on the cheeks, lips or wherever a bit of shine is needed.

3. Bodyography Shadow Stylist Crayon

A long-wearing cream shadow packaged in stick form, these Bodyography shadows can also be used to line, highlight or create a smoky eye look.

4. Suzanne Organics Sunrise Color Multiple Stick

Designed for one-stop use on eyes, lips and cheeks, this product adds warmth and sparkle to the eyes while maintaining a natural makeup look.

5. Laura Geller Make it a Double Eye Shadow Stick and Powder

This double-ended eye shadow stick offers the option of creamy stick shadow or powder shadow applied with a soft spongy applicator.

6. Julep Beauty Eye Shadow 101 Cream-to-Powder Eye Shadow Stick

Go from an effortless cream application to a waterproof powder finish with this pigment-packed stick shadow from Julep Beauty.

7. Lord & Berry Reglam Crayon Eye Shadow

Colorful and long-wearing, these blendable stick shadows from Lord and Berry come in a variety of neutral shades.

8. Sephora Collection Clean and Glowing Cheek and Eye Multi Stick

This multi-use product is lightweight and creates a dewey long-lasting glow wherever it's applied.

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