Contouring has been all the rage since we first discovered that Kim Kardashian's makeup artist used the technique to create her flawless, chiseled look – but never has it been so widely accessible. My prediction: 2015 is the year of the contour craze. And it should come as no shock with beauty companies everywhere releasing contour palettes left, right, and center so that we can achieve our own version of perfection. Ahh society. As someone who struggles with a less than perfect nose and non-defined cheekbones, contouring has become an essential technique when getting ready for a night on the town. But I simply can't be bothered with blending three different shades of foundation to get the look – and forget about cream contour products, far too difficult and advanced. Instead I turn to powder palettes, like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit[*] or the Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit – these two palettes make faking it simple, even for beginners like myself.
If there was ever a palette to rule them all this would be the one. Composed of six pans, three to highlight and three to bronze/contour, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit[*] has it all, and is available in two shades, one for light/medium skin tones and the other for medium/tan. And you see those little notches? That's because this palette is completely customizable, removable and refillable – meaning if you run out of one shade you won't have to purchase the entire palette over again, simply that one pan (currently only available on the Anastasia Beverly Hills site). The shades themselves are super-pigmented, even verging on too deep for my skin tone, so I'm constantly reminding myself to use a fluffy brush with a small amount of product.
The highlighting shades include Vanilla, Banana, and Sand, with Sand being the only shade in the palette that features a shimmer finish. I've been mixing Vanilla and Banana to highlight and accentuate the contour below my cheekbones and along the center of my forehead, while Sand is perfect for highlighting above the cheekbone, down the center of my nose and along the brow bone. The contour/bronzing shades include Java, Fawn and Havana – Fawn has wonderful grey undertones to give that sullen cheek effect and Java has been my go-to for warming up my skin and blending out the contour. Unfortunately, Havana is far too dark and pigmented for me, but hopefully come summer I'll be tanned and able to use it more frequently. For only $50 CAD this palette is an absolute steal, and as an added bonus it's cruelty-free!
The Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit was the first contour palette I gravitated towards – it provides a step-by-step guide within the mirror for those of us daft when it comes to contouring, is travel friendly, and comes with the perfect fluffy contouring brush. The three powders are slightly larger than those featured in the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit and include a contour, bronzing and highlight shade. I find this palette simpler to use since it features less options, but seemingly more difficult at the same time as it doesn't match every skin tone. The shadows themselves are highly pigmented, finely milled and extremely blendable, so once again be sure to use a light hand and minimal product. The step-by-step guide makes application fool-proof, providing you with the distinct location that each shade should be applied, which I've found very helpful. However, I find myself longing for a highlight shade with a shimmer finish to further accentuate the contour, so I often have to turn to my MAC Mineralize SkinFinish in Soft n' Gentle or Lightscapade to fill the void. All-in-all it is a lovely palette, and I'll certainly bring it with me whenever I travel since it's a space saver, but it doesn't contain the same oomph as the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit, especially considering they are the same price.
With such a wide array of contour kits hitting retailers this year have you jumped onto the contour bandwagon?
[*]Some of the items in this post have been sent to THE PRETT¥ VAIN for purpose of review. All views expressed reflect my own opinion on the product. For additional information please see the Disclaimer.