One of my faaaaavorite makeup products on the market of all time would have to be cream shadow bases, also known as paint pots or cream shadows. These babies are absolutely brilliant because they are basically made to be versatile.
As pictured above, this is my collection of cream shadows and paint pots I own as of now, and I can accurately say that I use them every time I apply eyeshadow (which, if you know me, is everyday). In the warmer seasons, however, I will sometimes mainly just use these for my lid color and pop on a shadow crease color and highlight and I'm off. When I really am not in the mood to do any eyeshadow at all, I'll use any of these with liner on top and it honestly looks like I spent a lot more time on my eye makeup than I actually did. I own five Mac Paint Pots (these are the ones I religiously use) and the other two are from Benefit Cosmetics / Maybelline.
Note: Cream Shadows are applied all over the lids (often not so much in the crease- although you could apply them in your crease/outer V using a dome brush if you wanted [aka. Mac's 217]). You can apply these with any flat shader brush for the lid (such as a Mac 239) or you can just use your fingers (easier and free alternative) You do not have to use an eyeshadow primer underneath cream shadow bases but I do it anyway since primer covers the crease and brow bone, while cream shadows only are applied to the lids for the most part. The purpose of cream shadows and paint pots are to enhance the color of your eyeshadow and to help the eyeshadows last all day!
01. Mac's Bare Study is described as a "soft beige with gold pearl" and is a frost paint pot (maccosmetics.com). I would describe it as extremely frosty and thick, and when built up, it creates an intense glare of white shimmer on the lids. I really like using this paint pot when I'm going for an extremely contrastive eye, i.e a nearly white lid and a dark brown crease. A shade like this will also really intensify liquid or gel black/ brown liner on the upper lash line.
02. Mac's Vintage Selection is described as a "frosted dirty peach" (maccosmetics.com), and let me tell you, I'm so happy that they are selling this shade again. Vintage Selection was discontinued for a few years, but was newly launched in one of their last collections (Pro Paint Pot whatever, or something.) This is one of their most popular shades, and I love wearing this one alone. It's deep enough to look like a shadow, but light and glittery enough to compliment your eyes without looking like it's too much. If you're a shadow fiend, I'd say it compliments any light brown shadows. For reference, I personally love putting Mac's All that Glitters or Honeylust on top of this one.
03. Mac's Rubenesque is described as a "golden peach with gold pearl" and is also a frost (maccosmetics.com). Rubenesque is my GO-TO shadow base for summer or if I'm not feeling like wearing a ton of eyeshadow. I've raved about this shade a few times before because it's honestly the easiest paint pot to sweep on your eyes. It is a gorgeous peachy gold and essentially has the same exact tone and hue as Mac's Melon Pigment (Melon over top of this is absolutely stunning- I wore the Rubenesque/ Melon combo to one of my senior proms.) If you are new to makeup, I'd definitely recommend this for one of your first paint pots!
04. Mac's Indianwood is described as a "metallic antique bronze," another frost in their paint pot collection (maccosmetics.com). Indianwood IS and always will be my favorite cream shadow base I own. I can't even describe how beautiful this color is~ it's the perfect bronzy gold. When I'm doing like really intense eye makeup, I often reach for this paint pot. I'd suggest using this if you're looking to create a golden smokey brown eye. Indianwood compliments a ton of other lid shadows, Half Baked (by Urban Decay), Smog (by Urban Decay), and Woodwinked (by Mac) to name a few.
05. Mac's Painterly is described as a "nude beige" and is a cream paint pot (maccosmetics.com). Painterly is perhaps the most versatile of all Mac Paint Pots. It creates a nice matte nude that can be used as a base (works the same as an eye primer) for any color eyeshadow, or alone to create a "no makeup" makeup look. Lately, I've been loving Painterly on my lids, Mac's Soft Brown in my crease, Mac's Brulé as my highlight, and a thick line of Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black Ink winged out on my upper lash line! This combination creates a gorgeous matte eye look. The awesome thing about Painterly, though, is that it can be used in any eye look, ever.
06. Benefit's RSVP Cream Shadow was one of my first cream shadows I ever got! (I believe Indianwood was my first). This used to be a pretty popular cream eye shadow (pretty sure it still is) and is super versatile as well because it looks beautiful with or without shadow. This is a rosy-champagne color that is all around shimmery! I'd recommend this as well in a makeup starter kit.
07. Maybelline's Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze may be the only drugstore cream shadow I have, but is extremely pigmented and just as long-lasting as all of the other high end ones I own. Bad to the Bronze is definitely super bronze, but instead of having a gold hue like Indianwood, it actually seems to have a sort of silver hue to it. The color is so deep and pigmented that I feel like you don't even need a shadow to add on top of it, but if you choose to do so, UD's Smog or Mac's Woodwinked would do just fine. Slight warning though, this is extremely brown and opaque, so remember when applying this~ a little goes a long way (that goes for just about all paint pots/ cream shadows).
I also really wanted to show you guys what some of these looked like with shadows on top, so below, I've swatched UD's Half Baked and Smog by themselves and then both of those shadows on top of Mac's Indianwood.
I also did the same with UD's Sin and Benefit's RSVP (these two are like essentially dupes for one another by the way).
So last but not least, the last thing to know about paint pots is to store them UPSIDE DOWN! This prevents them from drying out and loosens them a bit so they don't become stuck to the sides of their glass containers. Here's just a snapshot of what they look like stored in one of my eye drawers in my little makeup armoire~
So point being, (finally.. right), I think cream shadows are totally brilliant and worth buying for they don't only enhance eyeshadow, they also can basically replace eyeshadow- which makes them super duper user-friendly.
Happy paint-potting? (errr)
"The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream"