Despite the apparent withdrawal of contouring in favour of strobing, I'm still fascinated by it's concept of altering facial features with shading. It's nothing new in the make up world, but only in the past couple of years the majority of companies started coming out with palettes intended for contouring and highlighting. Among many brands and different formulas I decided to try the Shade + Light palette from Kat Von D.
Kat Von D Shade + Light palette comes in sturdy cardboard packaging with magnetic closure. The palette itself is quite large but still sleek. Inside there are 6 powders and a large mirror. The pans with product inside are divided as highlighting shades in the top row and contouring shades in the bottom row. Highlighting powders each contain 2,3 g of product and contouring shades contain almost twice as much, 4,5 g. The texture of the powders is smooth and silky, but (depending on the brush you use) can also be quite powdery. All of the powders inside are matte, but they still have a subtle sheen to them, so they don't look flat. They are very pigmented, blend out beautifully, are easy to work with and have a great staying powder.
The shades inside include:
1st row, L-R:
Lucid: pinkish nude (a brightening shade I use under my eyes to set the concealer; while it's nicely pigmented it also blends into the skin seamlessly and adds a subtle brightening effect)
Lyric: yellow beige (I use this powder on other areas I want to appear highlighted; it doesn't add color to the skin)
Levitation: soft peach
2nd row, L-R:
Sombre: true taupe (a perfect cool toned contouring shade)
Shadowplay: soft brown (a beautiful neutral/warm bronzer shade)
Subconscious: deep brown
The photo below shows the shades and undertones the most true to color. I uploaded it full size so feel free to click and enlarge it.
Swatches of all shades in different lightening (they will of course look more subtle applied to the face):
Attention to detail on the packaging (Kat Von D has stars tattooed on her face so she must really like them):
The palette comes with a useful pamphlet with instructions on how to use it. I'm almost certain her specialty when tattooing are portraits, so she knows a thing or two about shadows and shading.
When I first got this palette and started using it I had mixed feelings about it. My skin tone is fair/light and contouring products (and even less so palettes) aren't really designed with us in mind. Sometimes when I watch tutorials on youtube and see someone use a concealer as highlighter that is my 'normal' shade and possibly also the lightest one in the range it just gets kind of pointless even trying the technique out. At first I was only able to use the lightest two shades from the palette (Lucid and Sombre), but now in the summer I can also use the second two (Lyric and Shadowplay). Sombre is a perfect taupe shadow shade and Shadowplay is a beautiful color I use to bronze up my skin. All shades are easily blendable so they're hard to overdo. I'll never be tanned enough to use the last two shades, except on my eyes as eyeshadows - and they work great. They blend out smoothly and have a great staying power, even without a primer on. Sometimes when my self tanner is starting to wear off, I also dust a bit of Subconscious on my shoulders to add some color.
I don't regret getting this palette, but it is definitely more suited for someone with medium/medium-dark complexion. I'm really happy that it also wears beautifully on the eyes, making it a great all-in-one travel companion.
You can get the Kat Von D Contour Palette here.