Showing posts with label Contour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contour. Show all posts

Friday, March 6, 2015

Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15

For spring Marc Jacobs Beauty released three contouring duos called the #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder ($49 each for 0.31 oz each side) along with the Shape and Contour Blush Brush No. 15 ($38). I've put these to the test for a few weeks now and can say that I am extremely impressed. The contouring duos are finely milled powders with a buttery soft texture that melt into the skin. They give a natural contour with medium buildable coverage. Both shades blend flawlessly into the skin without looking cakey, powdery or fake. There is enough color for the shades to be visible on the face but they are soft enough that you won't be left with any harsh edges.

Top to bottom, Dream Filter, Mirage Filter and Hi Fi Filter

When it comes to contouring I am usually not a fan. I find most powders or creams are good for photographs but in real life I simply find it too harsh (no matter how much I blend). I prefer a soft tan powder or bronzer applied in a 3-shape motion around the edges of my face from temples to chin to create soft dimension. I have friends who are very much into the contouring right now and their biggest challenges they have with contouring include powders darken too much after a few hours or they just end up looking too harsh. If you're not a contour pro and want something that will define and highlight, the Marc Jacobs #Instamarc duos are the solution to give a goof-proof contour that looks natural and flawless.

Each color has one highlight shade that naturally highlights in a non-shimmery way, and one contouring shade that helps add definition and dimension. Both sides melt into the skin and blend easily. The lighter colors help soften any harsh edges. There are three different colors, all three seem to be designed for the light to medium skin color spectrum:

Dream Filter is pink-toned described as a soft pink / medium bronze
Mirage Filter is cool-toned described as light gold / light bronze
Hi Fi Filter is the darkest with neutral tones described as warm peach / deep bronze

Dream Filter is a soft neutral pink. It resembles NARS Paloma Contour Blush which is more pink (the Marc Jacobs is more neutral and softer). On my skin this is the most natural. Both shades have a satiny finish. They look like mattes in the pan and on the face, but there appears to be a very slight satiny sheen which gives these dimension on the face. If you're afraid of shimmer, no need to worry, there is no shimmer on the face. On the flip side if you don't like mattes, these aren't your typical matte powders. They won't make the face look flat.

On my medium olive toned skin, Mirage Filter has the sharpest contrast since it has cool-tones. I was worried the light gold/yellow side would be too yellow, but it blends into the skin beautifully without making the skin look sallow. The darker contour side is what I think of when it comes to traditional contour, it's a cool-toned tan with a very slight hint of grey undertone.

Hi Fi Filter is the darkest option but on the skin it's the most neutral in tone. This one warms up the skin nicely. It's the warmest option so if you prefer warm tones on your skin, this is a good one.


Comparisons to some other contouring products and bronzers, below you can see how large the Marc Jacobs compacts are:

  • Chanel Les Beiges #40 (review here) is quite a bit warmer than any of the Marc Jacobs contouring duos, this one is good to add depth and warmth all over the face
  • MAC Emote (discontinued) is darker and cooler toned compared to any of the Marc Jacobs duos, it's also a full matte with no satiny sheen or texture
  • NARS Paloma Contour Blush (reviewed here) is a pinker darker version of Marc Jacobs Dream Filter, the texture is similar in that it's also buttery soft and easy to blend
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (review here and here) is warmer and significantly more blowy than any other bronzer or contour duo I've used without being orangey
  • Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer (worn here) is a really good warm bronzer, swatches below make it look orangey by comparison, but on the skin it's not orangey at all

In addition to the three powders, Marc Jacobs released a brush designed for contouring called The Shape Contour and Blush Brush #15. It's ultra soft with an extremely sturdy handle. This is the first brush I've tried from Marc Jacobs and I thought due to the synthetic material it would be somewhat problematic to use. The bristles are extremely soft but dense and work surprisingly well to pick up quite a bit of powder. It blends product nicely on the face and is soft enough for sensitive skin so there's no poking, tugging or harsh feeling if you blend.

These are definitely worth looking into. Do note that they swatch much better on the face than they do on the hands. On the hands swatched with fingers they can look a bit chalky. Once you apply with a brush on the face you will be surprised at how smooth they look. The above swatches show that these are on the neutral-cool side compared to some warm bronzers, so if you prefer warmer tones you may want to stick with your regular powder bronzer. Also if you can't do satiny mattes at all these will be a skip, although I will say you should still give these a look. They don't look flat, cakey and don't emphasize pores.

You don't need all three although I do like each one for different purposes. My top two picks are Dream Filter #20 and Hi Fi Filter #60. Mirage Filter is sharper on my skin because of the cool undertones, it works but I prefer something with a bit more warmth.

The #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powders retail for $49 each and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15 retails for $38. Both available now at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty. (PS right now there is a promo code for 2 minis with any $50+ order online at using code SPRING).

Have you tried these yet? If you're a contouring fan what's your favorite contour?

The Marc Jacobs contour duos and brush were provided courtesy of Marc Jacobs Beauty for review consideration. All other items purchased by me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sneak Peek: Marc Jacobs Beauty Spring 2015 New Nudes, (P)Outliner and #Instamarc

Here's a quick sneak peek at some new items from Marc Jacobs Beauty to which I have two words: nude perfection. In addition to the 20 shades of the Le Marc Lip Cremes released earlier this month, Marc Jacobs also has released a collection of items for lips and cheeks with a nude theme. The new spring items this season:

(P)Outliner Longwear Lip Pencil ($24 each)
  • Nude(ist) 300 - cafe au lait
  • Prim(rose) 304 - cocoa spice
  • Honey(bun) 302 - rosy nude
#Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder ($49 each)
  • Dream Filter 20 - soft pink/ medium bronze
  • Mirage Filter 40 - light gold/ light bronze
  • Hi Fi Filter 60 - warm peach/ deep bronze
New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel ($30 each)
  • Strange Magic 102 - warm nude pink
  • Have We Met? 108 - shimmering warm pink
  • Understudy 114 - terracotta pink
  • Eat Cake 150 - rosy nude
  • Role Play 110 - dusty rose
  • Anais 146 - spiced ginger
  • Moody Margot 106 - brownish nude
The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15 ($38)

I will say right now that when they call the lip liners "longwearing" it's no joke. They last a ridiculously long time and are ultra creamy with super rich pigment. Some of the New Nudes Sheer Lip Gels appear to be repromotes/repackaged shades of the original Lip Gels. I'll do a swatch comparison of the original vs new of the shades I have to see how close (or how different) they are. Also shown above is the Style Eye-Con 3 in The Ingenue 102 which isn't new but fit the nude theme so I've featured it above.

All available now online and in stores at Marc Jacobs Beauty and Sephora

Items above sent courtesy of Marc Jacobs for review consideration.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kevyn Aucoin Celestial & Sculpting Powders

I'm a newbie to the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line. I used to use his Celestial Powder in Candlelight a long time ago when it came in the large compact packaging and liked it for a soft glow, but after using it up never really explored much of the line. Recently I decided to give the brand a closer look. I ordered both of The Celestial Powders ($44 each for 3.1g/0.11 oz) in Starlight and Candlelight and The Sculpting Powder ($44 for 3.1g/0.11 oz) in Medium.

The Celestial Powders are small compacts of finely milled shimmery powders. Candlelight is a soft champagne color with a very smooth shimmer. In the pan it's neutral and almost has a slight yellow/gold tinge. On my olive/medium skin it pulls more cool-toned. The shimmer is apparent but very natural. It does give a lovely glow and I know it's reached cult status for many. For me it makes a lovely highlight and also can double as a shadow, but my heart still belongs to Hourglass Luminous Light as my favorite for a light powder highlighter. I favor the Hourglass because it glows more and the color is more luminous on my specific skin tone. If you want a cooler-toned or neutral champagne highlighter that glows but won't emphasize pores and is on the subtle side, this is a good option.

above, Candlelight

The Celestial Powder in Starlight is a soft warm pink highlighter with a medium level shimmer. On me this one has more visible shimmer and frost on the skin but the color is darker than your traditional highlighter. It has a lovely medium but soft pink base mixed with a hint of silver sheen. This one is just so beautiful on the skin. I don't think I have anything like it. It's hard to find a light to medium pink shimmer that isn't too dark or light. The shimmer in this one is more visible but not frosty.

above, Starlight

The Sculpting Powder in Medium has been one of the most-raved about contouring powders. I am not a contouring kind of person. I think the contouring process can result in really good photographs but in person/real life I find it often looks overdone and fake. That being said I am all for a subtle contour that looks natural. Medium is a medium color that is a neutral grey/taupe/tan. There's no orange undertone and no shimmer. It's pulls neutral-cool and is very finely milled. On my skin it blended beautifully with a very soft but layerable texture. The only problem for me is that I found it too grey and too brown. For contouring I need something softer or warmer, but I think I'm in the minority - I know many prefer the opposite wanting something cooler with good pigment.

above, Medium

Some comparisons below to some other shades for reference:

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Luminous Light (review)
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (glow portion, review)
Armani Fluid Sheer #2
NARS Illuminator in Adelaide (review)
NARS Multiple St. Lucia (review)

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (bronze portion, review)
NARS Contour Duo in Paloma (review)
Dolce & Gabbana Blush in Tan (review)
MAC Sheertone Blush in Tenderling

After testing these products I feel all three are very good and of high quality. The powders are smooth and blend nicely on the skin without streaking of fall out. The texture melds beautifully with the natural skin texture and they lasted all day without fading. I also found that the three powders photograph phenomenally well especially with a flash. In real life however, I found The Celestial Powder in Candlelight and The Sculpting Powder in Medium didn't fit what I was looking for, mainly because of how these worked with my skin tone. Candlelight is a bit too cool for me, Medium is a bit too dark and brown for my medium/olive Chanel B30/Tom Ford Bisque 04 skin. The price of these powders is on the steep side for the amount of product given. I think Starlight is worth the price tag for the unique color and formula. For the others, I'm not so sure.

You can find Kevyn Aucoin at a number of retailers. I bought my items from Nordstrom. Also online at Neiman Marcus, Beautylish, Net-A-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman.

Do you have any Kevyn Aucoin favorites? What do you recommend that I check out from the line?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tom Ford Contouring Cheek Color Duos in Softcore and Stroked

Tom Ford Contouring Cheek Color Duos ($77 for .70 oz/29 g) are new for fall and come in two shades: Softcore is the cool-toned option with a pale white pink highlighter and medium to deep terracotta pink while Stroked is the warm-toned duo with a soft peachy champagne highlighter and a medium bronzed coral. Both duos have blush/contour shades that are on the shimmery side with highlighters that have high shimmer.

Both duos sold out very quickly in stores and also online when they first launched. It seemed to be a blink and you might miss them kind of thing. Keep checking online because many retailers have restocked. I bought mine from Saks a little over a week ago. You can also find them online at Tom Ford, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Selfridges.

After testing these for over a week, I prefer these as a blush and highlighter duo rather than as a contouring set. The shimmer and color make both duos them more blush-like. Color-wise I adore Stroked (the warm one) and have lukewarm feelings about Softcore (the cool one). I wish the names didn't both start with a letter "s" though because I often get them mixed up.


Stroked is easy to wear (for me). The shimmer factor is on the medium/high side but it blends easily onto the skin and the color warms up the complexion. I found the blush color to be very unique with a mix of copper and bronze intertwined with the peachy coral base. The blush is very pigmented so I prefer to use a soft skunk brush to apply the color so I can build it up. The highlighter is also intense which I find best applied with a fluffy brush.


Softcore is very difficult for me to wear. It is cool-toned and cooler tones tend to clash with my warmer olive skin. The blush is very dark and the rich pigment make it very easy to overdo (even with a light hand) resulting in a sunburned or punched look (yes it makes me look like someone punched me in the cheeks). The highlighter is almost white on my skin and enhances pores if I swipe it one too many times and ends up looking too sharp and frosted. The quality and pigment are still very good, but the colors only work if I use an ultra light hand.


Swatches and comparisons: left Softcore, right Stroked

Comparisons to:

The blush side of the Stroked Duo is a mix between Love Lust, Ravish and Savage. If you swirled all three colors together, you would get something very similar to Stroked.

Bottom line I love Stroked. It's really flattering and brightens the face. I was worried it would be entirely orange based on some swatches I had seen online. I prefer applying with a lighter hand but even with a regular one, I don't find it turns orangey at all on my skin.

Softcore is hit or miss, for me it's been mostly a miss. I was able to get it to work on me a couple times, but most of the times I tried it, I found it looked too dark/harsh and too cool-toned. I ended up having to redo my makeup entirely, but I'm still determined to try and make it work. It looks better if I use only the blush side on the face and save the highlighter for the eyes. Still for cheeks, I need something that is easy to use, naturally flattering, easy to build - not something I need to be super careful with.

The Contouring Cheek Color Duos retail for $77 each. Both are limited-edition. They are online now at Saks, Tom Ford, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Selfridges.

Did you check out the Cheek Duos or purchase any of them? What did you think? Did they work for your skin tone?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NARS Paloma Contour Blush, Altai and Vientiane Matte Multiples and Contour Brush #21

NARS has been killing it with some amazing new releases this year. New items on my radar focus on contouring: Matte Multiples in Altai and Vientiane ($39 each for 7.5 g), Paloma Contour Blush ($42 for 8.2 g) and the new Contour Brush #21 ($42).

The new Contour Blushes are powder duos with shades that create dimension for the face while giving a luminous finish. Each compact has a deeper shade to create definition and contour and a lighter shade to highlight and blend. There are three color options and I picked the middle option Paloma. The powders are very similar in concept to the MAC Sculpt and Shape powders. I find the NARS slightly more velvety in texture. Paloma has a neutral cream powder with a neutral tan. It's described as having a rose undertone which is nice because it prevents the colors from turning too brown or orange on the skin. I found Paloma to be dark enough to show up on the skin but it is still very natural looking. I'm not a contour pro, but I like to apply contouring/bronzer powders in a 3 shape on each side of the face starting at the temples and down to the jawline. You could use this as a nude blush, however adding a swipe of a brighter blush on top like NARS Torrid really brightens the face after using the Contour Blush first.

Matte Multiples have been all the rage lately. I purchased a handful and have been really impressed with the velvety pigmented texture that is really easy to blend. The Matte Multiples have more pigment than the regular Multiples. The only downside is the new matte multiples are smaller in size than the regular versions and priced the same. Altai is the lightest bronze option which I find perfect for contouring. For those familiar with the older flesh-colored multiples from several years ago, Altai is a close duplicate for Tuomota. Vientiane is a darker warmer bronze. The NARS artist at the Melrose Boutique used this to contour my face in the temples, nose, cheek bone and jaw. The velvety texture of these adheres well to the skin and the formula allows for precise control of pigment. I found these to last on the cheeks quite well (much longer than the regular multiples).

I have swatches and also comparisons, first up swatches of the three new items  I purchased from NARS - Paloma Contour Blush, Altai Matte Multiple and Vientiane Matte Multiple:

Paloma Contour Blush comparisons to MAC Accentuate Shaping Powder, NARS Zen Blush, NARS Douceur Blush, MAC Sculpt Powder, Chanel Les Beiges in 30 and MAC Strada Blush.

Altai and Vientiane Matte Multiple comparisons to other cream contouring products (unfortunately I think all have been discontinued) St Barts Multiple, MAC Naturally Defined Pro Sculpting Cream, MAC Pure Sculpture Pro Sculpting Cream, NARS Tuomota Multiple and NARS Laguna Multiple:

Last item I wanted to feature includes one of the newly re-designed brushes: Contour Brush #21. This is a sturdy basic black angled blush. The bristles are very soft yet dense. It has a medium-sized handle that fits my hand well. It's not too short but not too long. It picks up powder really well and helps to apply it evenly on the face.

Dior Tra La La on the nails

Views of the Contour blush from different angles:

Overall really pleased with these new discoveries from NARS. You can find the items at NARS counters and boutiques now. Online now at Nordstrom (gift with purchase now), Bloomingdales (also has a gift with purchase now), Barneys and

What's your perfect contouring product or tool? Have you checked out the new Contouring Blushes or Matte Multiples? What did you pick up?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

MAC Pro Store Picks: Sculpt & Shape Powders

I had a girls-day-out last weekend at South Coast Plaza and stop #1 was the MAC Pro Store where I decided to pick up some of the Sculpting & Shaping Powders. I already had the Accentuate/Sculpt Duo that was released back in December of 2007. I've actually neglected this duo because I normally don't like split-colored powders - but I pulled this out recently and really like it for natural contouring and highlighting the eyes.

The Shaping Powders are the lighter colors with subtle pearl powders for a very subtle glow. The shimmer is very soft which is nice and is more natural than the MSF highlighter powder I've tried. Think along the lines of Chanel's Poudre Douces but not quite as subtle and I wouldn't recommend them for the entire face.

The Sculpting Powders are the matte darker colors that come in various shades of beige and brown. These are meant to be used for contouring to create shadow-like effects.

MAC has repromoted their Sculpt/Shape Duos for several collections since the original release, so if you missed out on the previous releases, there's a chance they might repromote it again in the future. If you're near a Pro Store and like natural beige/brown/flesh toned powders, I recommend you try and check these out!

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