When it comes to simplifying beauty routines these days, a new and welcome mainstay is fuss-free makeup that we can swipe on with. our fingers. “Cream formulations offer the ability to make any coverage look really natural and blend into your skin—not sit on top of it,” says Trinny Woodall, the former host of the BBC’s What Not to Wear, who parlayed her makeover expertise into a cosmetics company, Trinny London. The new-to-Canada line is among a buzzy bunch of brands that are focusing on creamy formulas. There’s also Merit Beauty, from Who What Wear founder Katherine Power, and Jones Road, the second coming of legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown.

“I always cared about how the product looked when I started out,” says Brown. “I now care more about how it feels, what’s in it and the look it gives you. Using a lot of cream formulas just creates this even luminosity.” That radiance, which was spotted on spring runways at Brandon Maxwell, Blumarine and more, offers the perfect flush for the warmer months (and beyond). Ready to hit pause on your powder products? Here, the pros share their best tips for a dreamy creamy look.

Know Thy Skin

A dewy finish is one of cream makeup’s top selling points, but what if an oily complexion already has you shining bright? “You have to strategically know where to put the creamy product: on your cheeks, but keep it away from your nose, chin and forehead,” says Brown. Also, because many cream-based products contain moisturizing ingredients, oily types can even (yes!) skip moisturizer, says the pro. “How nice to put on one product rather than two!” If you’d rather not cut back on steps, Chanel makeup artist Julie Cusson recommends picking a lighter fluid moisturizer that can help mattify skin. She also loves using a primer under cream-based makeup to help blur pores and control shine.

For your BASE


The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick in Amber, Merit Beauty

Price: $49


Miracle Balm in Bronze, Jones Road

Price: $49


Smoothers Concealer in 730 Neutralizer, CoverGirl

Price: $10


Get Hands-On

“When working with a cream texture, using your fingers lets you feel the product and the application,” says Cusson, who recommends a dabbing technique to help melt the makeup so it looks like it’s part of the skin rather than covering it. This approach is perfect for looking natural, but there’s still room to play. “When you want to create a look where the colour is more present, a blending brush can help sculpt the cheeks and spread the colour,” says Cusson. Try a loose, fluffy brush for blush and either a flat foundation brush or a dense buffing brush to blend your base. Whichever you wield, you’ll still want a combo approach. “I always make sure my hands touch the makeup,” says Brown. “It creates the best texture.”



Cheeky Clean Cream Blush in Paloma, Beautycounter

Price: $55


No. 1 de Chanel Lip and Cheek Balm in Berry Boost, Chanel

Price: $61


Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick in Dash, Milk Makeup

Price: $28


Be Selective

It’s time to turn off autopilot. “Women often put foundation all over their face and don’t realize that you don’t need it on most days,” says Brown. That’s why the first Jones Road product she created was Miracle Balm, a multi-purpose light-reflecting tint in tones ranging from rosy to deep bronze. Brown likes to warm up the plant-oil-infused formula with her fingers and then pat it on wherever she wants a wash of colour. “I use it to tint my skin—on my cheeks, my lips, my neck—and I even use it to tame those crazy flyaway hairs on the top of my head.” Then, if she’s looking for more coverage, she’ll apply concealer in the spots that still need it. This approach works well if you’re using a more traditional foundation stick too, says Cusson. “When you see someone and you’re like ‘My God, her skin is so perfect—but is she wearing makeup or not?’ the secret is to apply the stick on the spot you need to cover and blend with your fingers. Sweep the foundation that’s left on your fingers over the rest of your face.”

Start Small

If you’ve long been a powder-blush devotee, cream pigments can be a little daunting at first. “Start with the smallest amount possible until you get the hang of it,” says Brown. She recommends placing a teeny dot on the apples of your cheeks and using your fingers to blend in a circular and upward direction. “If it’s not enough, make it a medium dot,” she adds. Cusson swears by light layers and really working each one in. “If the colour disappears because you’ve blended it too much, keep in mind that cream is a very buildable texture,” she explains. “Just apply another layer and work it in again until you get the intensity you desire.” The finishing touch for a could-be-real flush? Make sure to diffuse the colour along the lower edge so there are no harsh lines.

When working with a cream texture, using your fingers lets you feel the product and the application.

Go Easy on the Eyes

For a breezy summer look, skip the smoky shadow and add radiance to your lids with a little cream. Worried about smudging? “I usually do liner and mascara first and then add a touch of balm to the lids afterwards for a little bit of highlight,” says Brown. “It’s like putting your jewellery on after you get dressed.” Keep the application light, and stick to the centre of your eyelid—not too close to your liner or the crease. Both Cusson and Brown are big fans of adding the same blush shade to eyelids (and lips too!). “It always looks really well balanced,” says Cusson. She recommends playing with intensity (by, say, building it up on your cheeks but patting just a bit on your eyes and lips) for a look that’s both eye catching and coordinated.



Stay Put Eyeshadow in Gold Coast, Quo Beauty

Price: $10


Eye2Eye in Empress, Trinny London

Price: $30


Caviar Stick Eyeshadow in Strapless, Laura Mercier

Price: $38


Skip the Setting

If the old-school rule of always setting cream with a powder has been drilled into you, it’s time to let it go. “When you set it, it loses the glow,” says Brown. “I don’t like to tone down the luminosity.” Helping your cream stay in place, says Cusson, is all about carefully  working the product into your skin as you apply: “Don’t be afraid to really touch your skin and use some pressure with the cream.” And if you do need a little touch-up, no stress—as far as Brown is concerned, it’s no different from reapplying lipgloss because unlike powder, well-blended cream products won’t end up looking cakey. “It’s easy to add a touch more a couple of times a day,” says Brown. “It’s not a big deal.”

The Best Tools


Le Lift Fluide, Chanel

Price: $185


Photo Finish Primerizer + Super Hydrating Primer, Smashbox

Price: $50


Brush No. 1, Merit Beauty

Price: $39