I’m No Makeup Artist, But These Simple Products Are All I’m Using in 2021

May 23, 2021 at 08:00AM

Anyone who knows me will tell you that my makeup skills are lacking. I only managed to do my first-ever successful winged liner last year, and I have absolutely no idea where half the products I own are actually supposed to be applied. However, while I might not be able to execute the perfect eye shadow look or know how to contour my nose, I do consider myself somewhat of an expert in simple, easy-to-use products, particularly creamy ones that I can apply with my fingers without too much thought. 

You see, my lack of makeup skills means that I’m particularly rubbish at using products that require any sort of artistic ability. Last year, as I found myself cooped up at home with some more time on my hands, I made it my mission to at least try some of the more taxing products in my collection. I spent hours experimenting with eye palettes, stocked up on colour-correcting creams, and even dabbled in a bit of glitter. After several months of meticulously picking apart video tutorials and saving Instagram looks to copy, I can definitely say that I have learned a lot about my creative flair. Simply put, I don’t have any.

I can’t fight it anymore—I’m a cream-makeup girl through and through. While powders can be messy, time-consuming, and downright dulling, cream products are quick and foolproof and leave skin looking, well, like real skin should. In fact, every makeup artist that I have turned to for help over the years have all told me the same thing: If you want a quick, glowing face, cream makeup products are the way forward.

This year, I’m putting my fiddly powders and pigmented liquids into storage and embracing a quicker, more natural makeup look. So if you’re anything like me and want to keep things simple and glowy this year, keep scrolling for the best cream makeup products around.

This stick blusher is insanely chic, and when dabbed onto the apples of the cheeks, it leaves a subtle, sheer tint that oozes radiance.

Few products pack a punch quite like Glossier’s Cloud Paint. You need the tiniest dab to do both cheeks. In fact, I have had the same tube for well over a year, and I’ve barely made a dent. 

This chunky, creamy stick can be dabbed onto both lips and cheeks for an effortless look. Personally, I like to apply it to my fingers first and then press it in for a little more control.

I never thought I would be the sort of person to fall head over heels for a matte blush, but here we are. This stuff gives a soft-focus, blurred effect that I just can’t get enough of.


This stuff starts off as a cream, but as it warms up, it transforms into a velvety powder. You get all of the pros of a subtle powder with the control of a cream.

MAC’s Paint Pots are probably my longest-reigning makeup-bag essential. In fact, barely a day goes by where I’m not wearing these long-wearing colours on my eyes. Just swirl your finger in, swipe it across the lid, and you’re good to go.

If I fancy something a little more out there, these seriously creamy metallic pots are my reach-for. Not only are they really pigmented, but they’re also super easy to blend and diffuse.

The ultimate everyday eye colours, Jillian Dempsey’s sheer tints give a non-sticky, glossy eye look in a matter of seconds.

While some cream shadows end up looking sheeny, Trinny’s are more powder-like, perfect for when you want a shadowy look without the fuss.

I am by no means a person who knows anything about contour. What I do know is that this matte, creamy bronzer melts into skin and leaves me looking perfectly sun-kissed.

No one does base products quite like Fenty Beauty. I work this bronzer into my cheekbones with a dense brush and then swipe it over lids for good measure.

For days when I’m really short on time and don’t want to bother with a proper base (or foundation for that matter), I dab this onto the high points of my face and blend out. Bronze, blur, and brighten, it seems to do it all.

When I want to look a little more chiselled, I swipe this cream bronzer into the hollows of my cheeks and blend out with a brush. It’s my version of contouring, only it takes about 30 seconds.

This cult product is a lazy-girl favourite for a reason. Personally, it delivers too much glow when I swipe it straight from the stick, so I like to warm some up in my fingers and just tap it lightly onto my cheekbones. It leaves skin glowing all day long.

If the idea of glass-like skin appeals to you, this creamy highlight will be right up your street. Sheeny and radiant but with a shimmer so slight it’s almost undetectable, this product is one of my springtime favourites.

This was one of the first-ever cream highlighters I tried, and I have been in love ever since. Subtle, understated, and simple, a few dabs is all I need to look alive. Next up, These Will Be the 10 Biggest Skincare Trends of 2021

Author Shannon Lawlor | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC

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