Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate

If you know me at all you'll know I'm obsessed with contouring and highlighting. It's a bit of a problem. I have enough highlighters and shimmer powders to adorn the faces of a small continent and my contouring product inventory is starting to reach those same epic proportions. Ergo, we have Tom Ford's Shade & Illuminate, a brilliant little compact that combines both a fabulous cream highlight as well as a cream contour, perfect for professional or personal use.

\Let me preface by saying that I think cream highlighters/contours are totally underrated in the beauty community. No matter how many powder varieties of these I try, nothing melts into the skin and creates the most natural, ethereal look than creams. Because most of us use a liquid or cream foundation it makes sense to use the same texture in contouring and highlighting products-there is no textural difference visible on the skin. In fact I personally have started to consider the art of sculpting the face a part of my foundation routine rather than a separate component altogether.

Tom Ford knows his makeup. He loves luxury, quality products- it is extremely apparent based on the design of this compact. The aesthetic is to die for, a delicious dark chocolate shell with gilded edging etched with the "Tom Ford" logo. It is weighty and feels substantial, a necessity for me when buying a higher end makeup item. Sorry, but I do in a way judge a book by its cover- I don't want my makeup to feel like I picked it up at CVS if I put a good chunk of money towards it. It arrives in a suede pouch that is so soft and fluffy I actually kept it to preserve the safety of my compact. What is inside, you ask? Well just the most perfect cream sculpting duo you've probably ever encountered!

We'll start with the cream contour. A scary, muddy color in the pan, it translates into a mid-tone brown with just the tiniest whisper of grey on the skin. It is also much sheerer than it looks in the compact which makes it usable for a wide range of skin tones- even the fairest of the fair. I have Shade 1, there is though a Shade 2 that is slightly deeper for darker skinned beauties. It's translucency means it truly melds with your foundation, giving your cheeks a gorgeous natural definition you wish you'd been born with.

The cream highlight is also a gem. It has no shimmer in it. Zero, zilch, zeid. None. What it does have is a beautiful, almost "wet"- looking sheen that, when strategically placed in moderation around the face, gives a dewy, believable glow. It makes the skin look as though you've doused it in the most luxurious, fabulous moisturizer. It's easy to go overboard on this stuff- I suggest using fingers rather than a foundation brush for a more precise application. I use it just on the top of my upper cheekbone, on the apex of my brow-bone, and along the arch of my cupid's bow. Because of it's reflective nature I do not recommend using it along the nose, forehead, or chin unless your skin is fiercely dehydrated. A "glowing" skin can quickly turn into a grease-face as the day wears on, so do be careful. This is a wonderful highlight but one must be dainty and delicate in its application.

Shade & Illuminate in action

Swatched heavily

In sunlight

Blended out

Is this a product I consider worth $75.00? Yes, yes, and yes. It is a wonderful product for me, personally, but also one I will get miles of use out of in my kit. In a way, it is the quintessential one-size-fits-all cosmetic. You also get a hefty amount of product- 14 grams. It's travel-friendly and totally luxurious- a product I'll use till I'm scraping the very last remnants of it out of the pan.



  1. Great review Seth! I'd love to see you demo it in a video!! I've been wanting this product!! Perhaps it should go on my Xmas list!!

  2. This product looks amazing! I love Tom Ford and i'll definitely be purchasing this cream highlighter/contour thanks to your fantastic review! You're the best!! xoxo J & K