Cream Makeup: Two Celeb Makeup Artists On Mastering the Sheer Look


Photography via Launchmetrics.com/Spotlight

Cream and liquid makeup products are certainly du jour, but how do you wear them while still looking pulled together?

Recently, I was startled — and have since become haunted — by a photo of myself taken at a formal event, where I appear not to be wearing a stitch of makeup. This would be fine (chic, even) except for the fact that I was indeed wearing makeup. Yet I had to squint and strain my eyes to find just a trace of lipstick or blush — any evidence of colour. I admit I was tempted to Google “Can makeup evaporate?”

Like for many people, my makeup bag has undergone an overhaul over the past few years. Matte lipsticks have been replaced with tinted lip balms and glosses. Full-coverage foundation has been swapped out in favour of tinted moisturizer. While the end result is luminous, it can also be fleeting. To get to the bottom of the case of my disappearing makeup, I reached out to Katie Jane Hughes, a celebrity and editorial makeup artist with one million combined Instagram and TikTok followers who regularly turn to her how-tos on elevated and glowing makeup looks.

“What skincare products are you using?” Hughes asks me over a video call. Wait, what? I thought we were talking about makeup. “It all starts with skincare,” she says. “If one step of your routine isn’t working, tweak the step before that one. You might be overdoing it with shine-inducing products, like rich creams, in areas that will naturally develop shine throughout the day anyway. The areas that get really shiny, like your T-zone, should be getting the least amount of face cream.”

Priscilla Ono, global makeup artist for Fenty Beauty and Rihanna’s personal makeup artist, agrees, cautioning that any shine-inducing products should be used sparingly. “Everyone wants glowy skin, but you’re not supposed to glow everywhere,” she laughs. “Apply glowy products just to the high points of your face — like your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and your chin.” Ono suggests using a natural-finish complexion product and then adding glow (via highlighter or liquid blush) in the places where you want some shine.

Cream blush can be particularly tricky to make last, so Hughes suggests layering sheer liquid formulas with powders. “But,” she warns, “if you’ve got a cream blush that’s really sticky, you can’t go right over it with a powder blush and expect the result to be smooth. Instead, apply a translucent powder first to get rid of any stickiness and ensure that it won’t budge. Then apply a powder blush on top.”

If you’re exclusively using liquids and creams, there’s more opportunity for things to slide and move around. (A common culprit is the undereye area, says Ono. “A glowy concealer is going to migrate to your nose area and you’ll end up looking greasy.”) Both makeup artists agree that when you’re using mostly liquid or cream products, it’s a good idea to add some powder to the equation — whether it’s translucent setting powder, powder bronzer or blush — to keep things in place. Besides, without the use of powders, “you’re not going to get something that is really important to makeup: contrast,” says Hughes. “For interest and dimension, you need contrast in textures.”

Below, seven sheer, creamy products that can be layered with your go-to powders for a look that’s fresh, subtle and polished.

Saie Dew Blush in “Cutie”


The blush that has TikTok in a chokehold — and for good reason — continues to impress us with new shades, like the latest launch, “Cutie.” The beloved liquid-cream formula is a must for an effortless (literally), dewy flush. And the new warm dusty rose shade? She’s a cutie, of course!

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KJH.Brand Hyper Shine High Lite Kit in “Lite Bronze”


When makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes launched her first-ever brand, KJH.Brand last year, we smashed the “add to cart” button like never before. The queen of dewy skin released a highlighter kit (pigment, serum and brush) in four shades, and we’ve been obsessed ever since.

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Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm in “Birthday Cake”


Summer Fridays’ Lip Butter Balm has quickly become a must-have for lip balm addicts (guilty!) everywhere, thanks to the product’s formula that’s loaded with mega-hydrating seed butters. And the newest flavour, the extremely delicious Birthday Cake, is just the icing on the cake. (Ha.)

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Revlon Illuminance Serum Tint


Looking for a complexion product that’s light as air and provides just enough coverage to hide dark spots and even out your skin tone? Meet Revlon’s new Illuminance Serum Tint.

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E.L.F. Camo Liquid Blush in “Dusty Rosé”

E.L.F. Camo Liquid Blush in Dusty Rosé

This pigment-loaded formula packs a punch, and delivers on the dewy, plump goodness of a liquid blush. What’s better than that?

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Fenty Beauty We’re Even Hydrating Longwear Waterproof Concealer

Fenty Beauty We’re Even Hydrating Longwear Waterproof Concealer

As we’ve learned, concealer is key when it comes to successfully pulling off the sheer makeup look. We love this hydrating formula from Fenty Beauty.

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Ole Henriksen Pout Preserve Hydrating Peptide Lip Treatment in “Blood Orange Spritz”


Formulated with peptides and kokum butter to give your lips a little plumping action while filling in fine lines and hydrating your pout, the latest shade in the lineup features a subtle, juicy blood orange tint.

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Estée Lauder Futurist SkinTint Serum

Estée Lauder Futurist SkinTint Serum

A silky serum foundation with SPF that hydrates and improves the condition of your skin over time? Sign us up!

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A version of this article first appeared in FASHION’s March 2024 issue. Find out more here.

This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

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