Confused by cream makeup? Prefer to use powders? Here are 5 Beauty Panel tips for which formula works best

Cream versus powder makeup
Cream versus powder makeup

When it comes to the type of makeup formulas you favour, are you a cream makeup kind of girl or more into powders? While this decision is often based on a number of variables—from skin type to climate to favourite makeup brands—it’s good to be well versed in the benefits of both. While some of us like to opt for a creamy texture to achieve that nice evenness on the skin, others prefer powder products for its lighter finished look.

We took the battle of the two textures to our Beauty Panel to see which formula they prefer and to get their best tips for application—as well as favourite product recommendations. After all, if you’ve never indulged with a cream eyeshadow or have been wanting to invest in a new powder blush, it’s good to know how to use them.

Challenge 16: Cream versus powder makeup: Which do you prefer? See the answers now! »

Similar to picking just one favourite nail polish colour, our Beauty Panel memebers have no particular preference between cream and powder makeup—it all comes down to what best delivers a desired look. This Was Forever’s Emily Chan explains that while powder blushes help to give an overall polished look, cream blushes produce a more hydrated appearance. Call It Beauty’s Dani Fuentes prefers using powder makeup because she finds that it lasts longer on her skin, while giving the ultimate coverage she’s striving for. She suggests that it’s always a good idea to know what work best with your skin complexion. And speaking of complexions, summer is always a good time to change up your beauty routine, so why not try out a different formula this season? You never know when you might end up falling in love with a new beauty regiment!

Have a beauty question you want to see the panel answer? Send it our way at Read on for the answers to this week’s challenge and for more goodness, get to know all contributors on our Beauty Panel hub page.


Cream versus powder makeup

Marilou Moles
Ottawa | Twenty York Street

Depending on your skin type, the occasion and the desired look that you are dressing up for, both cream and powder makeup has its pros and cons. I work in a traditionally conservative and corporate office so my everyday makeup is classy and light.

For eyeshadows, the amount of shimmer you want will be your deciding factor next to picking the right colour for yours eyes. Cream shadows offer a more noticeable shimmer while powder shadows are lighter. Cream shadows do tend to have staying power hence a little dab of primer all over the lid can help powder shadow set in place much longer. Don’t have a primer? Don’t fret. A bit of foundation or even a hint of BB cream on your peepers will do.

What if you’re a cream queen? Skip the brush and use your fingertips to blend cream shadow on your lids and dab blush on the apples of your cheeks and blend upward along the cheekbones for a dewy finish.

Just remember—in general, from foundation to coloured makeup cream works best for dry skin and and powder for oily. But if you’ve got combination skin or you’re always on the go, there’s makeup made exactly for you: cream to powder finish!

Products used: Thann Shiso Anti-Aging Moisturizer, Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation, NYX Cosmetics Be Fierce Palette, NYC Triple Shadow, Bourjois Volume Clubbing Mascara, Maybelline Vivid in “865 and 860,” Elizabeth Arden Lip Pot in “Rose”

Cream versus powder makeup

JJ Cowan
Toronto | Secrets From Your Girlfriends

I have discovered over the years that the key to using powder and cream makeup together is finding the right blend. When it comes to using liquid and powder foundations, this can be especially daunting as the results have to look like your own skin—a challenging task that can be hard to master with a single makeup brand. If you don’t have the right combination of liquid and powder foundation the results can be a crusty, oil-ridden surface. However, things recently changed when I was encouraged to try Sweetgrass by The Verity, a line that boasts a series of foundations that are water based.

I have never used a water-based foundation before, for the fact that it’s believed that you need “oil” for the foundation to adhere properly to your skin. Well, I know now what my skin has been missing: it’s the water hydration that this foundation offers. Using both the concealer over the red areas of my face followed by the dual powder compress, my skin is literally like porcelain with no flaking or oily patches that I usually experience. I also feel that this product will stand the test of time throughout the winter months because it is rich in texture but coats the skin with a silky film that works over time to keep your skin hydrated. For this I am a committed user and no more cream versus powder fuss for this girl!

Products used: Sweetgrass by Verity Dual Powder Compact Foundation, Sweetgrass by Verity Liquid Concealer and High Definition Foundation

Cream versus powder makeup

Emily Chan

When it comes to cream or powder blushes, to me the choice is not always clear. I personally think it really depends on what effect I want. Powder blushes give a more finished and polish look, which is perfect for contouring the cheekbones. For powder blushes, I would suggest taking a large brush and sweep in circles over the blush. Then tap on the pan to remove any excess powder. In order to create a nice contour, go up along the cheekbones, across the forehead and chin and then down the nose to create a higher nose. On the other hand, cream blushes tend to create a more dewy flush. I like to use my clean fingers for these type of blushes. Simply dab your finger on the apples of your cheeks and blend away.

You must also consider your skin type when choosing a cream or powder blush. Oily complexions usually work much nicer with a powder blush because it can absorb grease/oil for a matte finish. Try M.A.C Powder Blush in “Well Dressed” for an everyday blush or try a Japanese brand called Melliesh in “#02 – Baby Peach” for a more doll-style look. But if your skin is more on the normal/dry side, I would recommend a cream blush to prevent any dry spots or flaking. Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in “Pink Frosting” or “Candy Coral” are both excellent, but my personal favourite is by another Japanese brand called Canmake—they make the most beautiful Cream Cheek Blushes. The colour I have in the photo on the left is “#12.”

Products used: M.A.C Powder Blush in “Well Dressed,” Melliesh Cheek Colors in “#02 Baby Peach,” Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in “Pink Frosting,” Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in “Candy Coral,” Canmake Cream Cheek Blush in “#12”

Cream versus powder makeup

Fiona Man
Toronto | Product Wars

During the summer time, people tend to sweat and get oily. So the key to having your makeup lasting long even after blotting with oil absorbing sheets is to layer powder products on top of cream. It may seem excessive but it works.

One trick I love to do on my clients is that after doing your eyeshadow look, I put cream shadow on the centre of the lid followed by an eyeshadow. This gives dimension to the eye and will photograph beautifully, especially during a very special occasion. I tend to use this trick on Asians as they typically have monolids or very flat looking eyes. I actually have one double eyelid and one monolid, so I love using this technique to ensure that both eyes are balanced without doing a cut crease look.

Two products that stay put and don’t crease are Laura Mercier Metallic Crème Eye Colour and Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows. They are definitely my kit essentials!

Products used: Laura Mercier Metallic Crème Eye Colour in “Alloy” and “Platinum,” Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows in “R.S.V.P”

Cream versus powder makeup

Dani Fuentes
Vancouver | Call It Beauty

With my combination skin and oily eyelids, I generally stick to powders when it comes to eyeshadows, blushes and highlighters. I find that powder products last longer on my skin, which is perfect for someone who doesn’t like to do touchups (i.e. ME!). That said, I have found one cream product that definitely stays put—Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Creams— which I’m using on the eyes for this look. Now when it comes to foundation, I generally prefer liquid. But with days getting warmer, I’m finding myself reaching for powder foundations more often—it feels lighter on the skin, but still gives coverage.

For this look, I applied powder foundation with a dense powder foundation brush and concealed where needed. I applied a light pink cream eyeshadow on the inner half of my lid and applied a plum cream eyeshadow on the outer half (I also applied these products on the lower lash line). Next, I lined the top lash line with a waterproof eyeliner and blended it out. I also applied eyeliner to the lower waterline, then curled lashes and applied mascara. For the cheeks, I contoured with a taupe blush and then applied a plummy blush over top. Lastly, I lined my lips with a mauve lip liner, blended it out for a softer edge, then topped it off with a layer of lipgloss.

Products used: Bare Minerals Original Foundation in “Light,” Tarte Smooth Operator Concealer, Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in “16 Pink Beige & 17 Plum,” Nyx Slide On Eye Liner in “Jet Black,” Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express Mascara in “Black Drama,” Anastasia Bold Brows from the Bold & Beautiful Kit, M.A.C Blush in “Taupe Shape,” Cargo Cosmetics Blush in “Mendocino,” Nyx Lip Liner in “831 Mauve,” Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in “Super Natural”