When you combine “Tom Ford“, “cheek/blush“, “palette“, and “limited edition” together, there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop me from buying the product! I knew before I even saw swatches that I would grab at least one of the two Contouring Cheek Color Duos as soon as they become available. There is so much hype around it and I am glad I was able to grab one, but am I thoroughly happy with the product now that I have had some time to play with it? My review may surprise you! :)
Newly released as part of the Tom Ford Fall 2014 Collection is the Contouring Cheek Color Duo which is basically a palette with a highlighting (top half) and contouring (bottom half) powder. The presentation has the same arrangement as the Shade & Illuminate palette. The outer packaging has a signature Tom Ford style — dark mahogany casing with a reflective gold bar on the front. There is a mirror inside and the top lid opens and closes with a magnetic force. There are no brush applicators included but a suede protective pouch is provided to keep the palette scratch-free during travel and storage.
There are 2 color options for the Contouring Cheek Color Duo: Softcore and Stroked.
Softcore is a darker option containing a deep berry contouring powder and a pinkish highlighter.
Stroked (the one I'm reviewing today) is a lighter option containing a medium brown-based burnt orange contouring powder and a peachy champagne highlighter.
Stroked – Highlighter
This is a very beautiful peachy champagne highlighter with a super high-shine, almost frost finish! It actually took me by surprise when I first wore it because, judging from the color in the pan, I was expecting something a little more casual and subtle. Well, there's nothing subtle about this highlighter at all. I find myself carefully placing it strategically on my cheeks so that it doesn't emphasize pores and fine lines. With a light hand, you can create some really soft and luminous effect without being too loud. But be cautious for those whose skin is oily as I have a feeling that the high sheen effect from this highlighter will most likely emphasize the oiliness.
Texture-wise, the powder is incredibly finely-milled and very easy to blend. It feels creamy to the touch and basically just glides onto the skin. The staying power is excellent as it lasts well on my skin from morning to evening hours.
Stroked – Contouring powder
Though touted as a contouring shade, I think this is more for sculpting, adding definition, and enhancing the structure of the cheeks rather than creating shadows on the face. The brown-based orange pigment contains some really really fine shimmer (gold), which luckily upon application becomes almost invisible leaving only a touch of soft glow with a satin finish on the cheeks. I actually quite like the effect!
I am fine with the fact that the powder is not matte. I am fine with the fact that it provides (soft) glow. But what I'm not too crazy about is how the color turns up on my skin. I was hoping for a pretty orange seen in the pan but on me, it turns into this burnt brownish orange instead. Together with the super pigmented formula, this is not an easy swipe-and-go color. Just like the highlighter, I find myself being super careful with the amount and place I apply. I have a lot of hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars on my cheeks and if I overapply, it is likely to accentuate those areas.
The contouring powder is also finely-milled and feels smooth to the touch. However, I don't think it is as easy to blend and sheer out as the highlighter. Since it is so pigmented, I find myself going a little crazy with the blending step to make sure there are no visible hard edges. I also make sure to use a stippling brush to apply and help diffuse the look.
The lasting power is in sync with the highlighter. It lasts well from the morning hour when I apply to late night where I remove my makeup.
If I were to be honest, I can't say I am completely in love with this duo. For me, I'm all about subtle, natural-looking cheeks and I prefer products that are not so pigmented from the get-go. I like being able to build the intensity easily as I please rather than having to be careful with it. It's just my personal preference.
The highlighter is nice, I can see myself wearing it often, but the contouring powder — not so much. It leans a little too warm for my liking and even when I apply it sheer, it still looks overapplied somehow. I'm just not having an easy time with this shade.
Price-wise, I think this is a good deal (as good as Tom Ford products go) since you are getting two full-sized cheek products in the palette. The Cheek Color alone is already priced at $57 and here for $20 more you get a highlighter, too. I'm actually surprised that they weren't priced in the $80-90 range.
Have you picked up anything from the Tom Ford Fall Collection? Is Stroked something you'd like to try?