Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tom Ford Beauty Shade & Illuminate

Tom Ford Beauty's Shade & Illuminate ($75) has become an iconic product in no time. My regular readers know that they have raved about it, and each time I've responded with, "I need to buy that." I didn't realize how badly I needed it until I had it in my hands.

The weekend before last, I found myself at the Saks Fifth Avenue Web site purchasing Le Métier de Beauté's On the Coast Kaleidoscope Eye Kit. Saks offers free shipping, but only with a purchase of $200 or more. I despise paying for shipping, particularly because I'm actually saving a company money by purchasing online - no commission to sales associates. I started browsing, and I thought about Eileen and many others who had advised me to buy Shade & Illuminate. So, you know the rest.

Now, it's mine in Intensity One, and I'm thrilled - much more so than I had expected.  There is an Intensity Two for those with darker skin.

From Tom Ford's point of view, the first step to beauty is understanding the architecture of your face and bringing balance and symmetry to your features. This duet of highlighting and shading creams is designed to make sculpting and contouring the face remarkably simple. The super-sheer, light shade can be used to draw light onto the skin to brighten and lift the face. The dark shade defines and contours bones while staying invisible to the naked eye. 

Does it ever! This is an intriguing product. The contrasts on the face are not nearly as stark as the contrasts in the compact. The brown is lighter, and the white isn't glaring, stark white. That's hard to explain; it's just the way it is.

Want cheekbones? The next best thing to having them is creating them with these two creamy products. Use the brown shade to contour under your cheekbones. It adds definition. You need to apply it carefully and with a light hand, particularly if you have fair skin. Although it's fairly forgiving, make sure your skin is well-moisturized; otherwise this marvelous cream won't have enough slip to blend easily. I'd also recommend you use a synthetic brush to apply the shades. It works much better than fingertips.

I applied both shades very heavily with a sponge-tipped applicator for my swatch photos, which were taken in full sun. While the brown contouring shade may look dark on my arm, it isn't when applied properly.

When you apply the white highlighter at the top of your cheekbones, it transforms into a shade that brightens, not whitens, the area you want to highlight. It's very sheer and leaves no shimmer or glitter. My swatch photos may make the white look shimmery (in full sun), but it's not on the face. It looks naturally bright.

Tom Ford's Shade & Illuminate is unique - I have no other product like it. I use bronzers to contour and highlighters or illuminators to illuminate. This all-in-one beauty is perfect. The fact that the shades are cream, not powder, adds to my glee. How did I live without Shade & Illuminate? I'm a very happy beauty enthusiast this week!

You can purchase Shade & Illuminate at the limited retail sources that sell Tom Ford Beauty, including Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus online, and select stores that have Tom Ford counters.

Photo at top courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman; other photos by Best Things in Beauty


Kate said...

Hi, Charlestongirl! I'm so glad you reviewed this. I was thinking of getting one but I have Chanel cream bronzer. AND I have tons of hightlighter. But I'm still tempted! How would you compare this with Chanel one? thx :)

❤ Love Passion MU

Katie said...

This is on my list because of all of the raves I've heard on your site!! I have a long, slim face do I need this? I don't usually contour as I feel it would make my face look even longer. Not sure if that's true or not - and I still want it! Any contouring experts out there? ;-)

Charlestongirl said...

Hey there, Love Passion & Makeup,

Looks like Blogger is having ampersand issues. :)

Which Chanel one? The new powder? No comparison.

Charlestongirl said...

Katie, using this product correctly and bringing "out" your cheekbones can actually shorten the appearance of your face. Also, if you use it judiciously (lightly) on the outer jaw lines, you can make them recede, also shortening the way your face looks. Try it with a bronzer to see what you think.

lovethescents said...

This is such an amazing product, indeed! I'd need lessons on how to apply it, though, as this takes a very skilled hand and takes technique as well. One day!

Style de Nude said...

I have been wanting to try this forever but a bit scared of it! Did you get the brush that goes with it as well?

Judith DM said...

I have also read raves about Kevin Aucoin's Sculpting Powder. Have you tried this, and if yes, could you or anyone else give me an idea of the differences or which you would recommend? Many thanks!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Lovethescents,

If I don't have a Tom Ford counter, you probably don't either. Bummer, huh?

Charlestongirl said...

Hi ProductDoc!

I did not buy a brush. With the hundreds of brushes I have here, it seemed like an unnecessary extravagance.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Judith,

I've bought one KA product since he died. There's something about buying makeup from a guy who is dead that gives me the creeps.

Dlori said...

Can you also use this product on your lips over lipstick to either make the color color or warmer. The brown making it warmer and the silver, cooler? 3CC has a product just released that looks just like this but may not be able to be used in a similar manner. I was just wandering. Also, my skin is as fair as yours. Do you find the bronzer too dark for your skin and how do you use it, where do you apply it on your face to help sculpt it? I never really knew how to do that and it would be great if on one of your daily blogs, you could do a tutorial on contouring for the face or mastering the cat eye look or the smokey eye. Just a make up lesson in general. You don't have to do a video. Just a step by step text would be great. Would you consider doing that? Oh and thank you for making your words below so easy toi read. I'll never understand why so many blogs make it virtually impossible to read those things and you have to keep on trying over and over again until either you rip your hair out, rip someone else's hair out or simply give up.Thanks

kleimanlaw at aol dot com

Katie said...

Thank you! I will definitely try that - i appreciate the tip! :)

Eileen said...

Hi Katie, Hi Lvethescents,

Wayne of Gossmakeupartist has some great instructional videos on contouring on YouTube. There are three or four of them and none of them are repeats! The man is a great teacher.

Contouring is an art and so many people are afraid of those terrible racing stripes of the 70's-80's (Dynasty anyone? :-) ) A good contouring product correctly used will not do that. The purpose of S&I is to create the illusion of symmetry and bring balance to the facial contours. It is supposed to be subtle and replicate natural contours--unless, of course, you're Kim Kardashian! :-D

Hi Love Passion,

This is nothing like a bronzer. The brown blends out and merges with your skin tone to create a subtle shadow just under the cheekbones, along the jaw line, or wherever you want the area to recede. The white becomes invisible except for the gorgeous, natural sheen that it imparts to the cheekbones, Cupid's bow, or any area you want to spotlight. Both colors are quite sheer and let the natural skin tone show through. Properly applied, they shape your face; they don't replicate a tan.

Hi Dlori,

This is not a lip product. It is entirely too subtle. See my comment to Love Passion about how these work.

Hi Productdoctor,

You don't need the brush that goes with this although it is genius. It is fairly small (about the width of a finger) and stiff and is nothing like a bronzer/blusher brush. It is perfectly designed to give you a lot of control over the size of the area you want to shade or illuminate. I use one side of the brush to apply the shade and then blend the edges with my fingers. I use the other side of the brush to apply the illuminate and blend with my fingers. I haven't had any issues with getting the colors mixed up in the compact nor have I had any problems with getting a muddied look on my face. Whether or not you get the brush just depends on what you've already got in your collection. I hope that helps.

Hi Everyone,

As you can tell, when it comes to S&I, I'm a huge and enthusiastic fan. I started out thinking I'd only use this for evening, but I find myself reaching for it during the day as well because, when properly applied, it is completely believable. I think the biggest mistake a novice might make is being too heavy handed with the brown: using too much and covering too large an area. Successful contouring requires a light hand and a good understanding of your bone structure. Once again, I refer everyone to Wayne's great videos.

I began wearing makeup in the 60's when contouring was elevate to an art. If you look at some of the incredible fashion shots of the era (often shot in black and white), you'll see what I mean. It was a sculpted look that featured high cheekbones, dramatically contoured eyes, and muted cheek and lip color. Beautiful!

bisbee said...

Wow...looks like this will be winging it's way to me soon! I need it!

katie said...

Thank you Eileen! Off to watch the videos and, I'm sure, to order the shade and illuminate!!!

Katie said...

One more thing Charleston Girl and Eileen, would you both recommend getting shade #1 (I am very fair but neutral, not at all pink). I noticed that #2 was used in Karla Sugar's Tom Ford makeover even though she is quite fair...that is the only reason I ask. Thank you, Lovely Ladies!!xx

Eileen said...

Hi Katie,

I saw Karla's picture and read her account of the TF makeup application. I think the darker shade on fair skin would just require a bit more know-how to pull off. The gal who used the darker shade on Karla was an accomplished and talented MA who had worked on Karla before. I think that needs to be taken into consideration. I'm fair, too, and the lighter shade of S&I is dark enough to give me a believable contour. What do you think, Charlestongirl?

yesplease1816 said...

I had never really considered cream bronzers before until recently. Then with the release of Laura Mercier's Sheer Creme Colour, I became obsessed. I have been looking at Hourglass's similar Illumine (I think that's what it's called) compact duo. Now I'm torn!!!

Charlestongirl said...

I think fair ones should stick to Intensity One. MUAs can work magic that most of us don't have time for. :)

Charlestongirl said...

Good reason to go play at a store, Yesplease! :)

Kate said...

Hi Charlestongirl!

Yay! I am so glad you got it! I use this product every single day. I have made a serious dent in the illuminate shade, and I am about to hit pan. I think it is a genius product, and I definintely want to try Shade Two.

For those readers that are hesitant because they think it will be tricky, it really isn't. It is a dream to apply and blends very easily. I think the hardest part is just figuring where to place the product. But the video Eileen recommended is genius. Messy Wands also did a contouring tutorial, just using powdered products.

So glad you finally got this. Not one of TF's products has disappointed me. I will probably post a rave in tomorrow's Friday Forum about Cognac Sable!


Katie said...

Thank you for the great advice Eileen and charleston girl! Shade #1 it is, and I was going to order the brush but after reading your description of it I'm thinking that my Bobbi brown touch up brush might fit the bill. xx

Eileen said...

Hi Katie,

When I first bought S&I I thought I had a brush that would work, but as it turned out the brush I was planning to use just wasn't suited to the product. Definitely try what you've got first before buying the TF brush. If your BB brush doesn't work out, though, and you do decide to get TF's, know that it is excellent Hakuhodo quality.

Good luck with S&I.

Hi Kate,

Wouldn't it be great if TF made just the illuminate available? :-) Because I already have slight hollows under my cheekbones, I find I'm using more illuminate than shade.

SignatureRoom said...

It's September & TF shade & illuminate Intensity 1 is still on backorder nearly everywhere it's sold.
Goss The makeup artist on youtube gives a GREAT tutorial on how to apply Intensity 2 and he prefers I2 to I1 ( he feels it has a more neutral tone) , he applies I2 on light skin and it looks amazing. I purchased I2 myself so if anyone else who wants this was wondering if I2 was too dark , I hope this helps.