Stila Shape & Shade Custom Contour Duo in Medium - review and swatches

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You may have seen that I'm using this little cream contour kit as part of my Project Dent 2016 series: it's the product I've picked out for June to make a good dent in, because I've had it for over six months now and I've barely made a hole in it, even though I use it often enough.

Contouring is one of those things that I can't normally be bothered with - except when it comes to my hooded eyes - and I do count myself lucky that I have an ok natural cheekbone shape, so contouring is not something that I feel is desperately needed anywhere on my face except my said eyes (eh, you win some, you lose some ; ) ).

Having said this, I do tend to puff up very easily and I'm pregnant at the moment, which means I've lost my jawline a bit so this little kit has been coming in rather handy!


I purchased the product on a whim from Beautybay around this time last year, when contouring was bigger than it is now and strobing hadn't yet taken over - and I bet I'm not the only one who fought the contouring hype and eventually failed miserably.

I didn't open the kit until around Christmas-time because I do like to draw out the pleasure of opening new products, and since then I've been using it perhaps every second day, purely because I have it and I don't like things going to waste.

Throughout June, however, I've been using it every day and I must say that I've started to enjoy the process of making myself look a little more chiselled - especially around the nose area, something I'd never have considered if I didn't have a dedicated contouring kit.

But enough preamble. Let's have a look : )


Stila claims/product details:
  • This ultra-creamy, super-soft contour and highlight duo is the perfect contouring solution for all skintones (available in three shades)
  • Melts into the skin and has a matte finish that blends beautifully with soft focus, line-filling properties that instantly blur imperfections
  • Leaves skin looking so smooth and naturally sculpted, you won't know it's makeup!
  • Buildable, sheer coverage
  • Matte contour shades give a natural, sculpted look that won't accentuate oily skin or fine lines 
  • Matte highlighter is the modern way to enhance and bring light to features
  • Long-wear, non-transfer, waterproof and sweat-proof
  • RRP $59 AUD



There are the two shades, photographed in direct sunlight above and in natural light below (I took these shots before I'd stuck my finger into the product and ruined it - it certainly doesn't look this way now ; )).


Light and heavy swatches of each shade, direct sunlight:


Same shot, indirect sunlight:


And in natural light:


Below I've applied it down the side of my nose and underneath my cheekbone (click on any image to enlarge it). 

Note the natural shadow you can see on my nose, next to my eye area: I haven't applied product here but it almost looks like I have because the colour of the shadow is very close to the product itself (you can see the product down the side of my nose).


There we are again below: you can see where I've placed it beneath my cheekbone. 

Note that I've applied it more heavily than I normally would and haven't finished blending it - otherwise you can't see it in photos.


And below I've popped it both underneath my cheekbone and jawline; again, I've applied it more heavily so you can see it and I haven't finished blending it out.


Verdict

This is a decent product but it's not perfect and I would definitely shop around before buying it again.

I do like that Stila's colour range is divided into three separate compacts, so you don't have to buy one of those six-pan palettes and then wind up with three or four shades that you won't use. This is a huge plus I reckon because I personally don't think it's useful to have eg three different contour shades in one kit unless you're a makeup artist - but of course it all comes down to what you think you'll use.

I also like that this is a cream product: this is my first foray into cream contouring (I've used powders up until now) and it really shouldn't be because I do have dry skin and of course creams tend to work better for those of us who are dry, so that's worth factoring into your decision if your skin is like mine.

One thing I've learned while using this duo, however - and I wouldn't have learned it unless I'd owned the kit - is that I really have no use for a plain highlight shade like this. It may be that this particular shade just doesn't work for me (more on that in a minute), but I do think that if I'm going to highlight, I'm more likely to use something with a slight sheen because I don't feel that I get enough 'lift' from a matte highlight, or at least I don't from this one.

On that, I don't think the two shades in this set are exactly the same formula, or at least they don't behave that way on my skin. While the darker shade blends and disappears into my skin beautifully, the highlight shade is harder to work with: not only does it take extra effort to blend (and even then it can look a little streaky), but it also sits in pores and clings to dry patches. While this doesn't bother me too much because I don't use it anyway, it's worth noting and I think you should really give the kit a proper test if you've got your eye on it.

I haven't had those issues with the contour shade, and I do think it's the better product in the kit. You can see from the above photos that it mimics the natural shadows on my face pretty well, so it's a good shade-match for me. I can't say the same for the highlight shade: it's not light enough for my skin to be a successful highlight, and even if it was, I probably wouldn't use it anyway for the reasons mentioned above.

Throughout June I've been playing around with this to see just how I can use it, and I've found that the contour shade doesn't work for me as a bronzer because it's too cool (eh, worth a try ; )), and while the paler shade makes an ok concealer for touch ups, it doesn't offer enough coverage to be used that way alone - and in any event, it has the tendency to slip into lines so do be careful about where you place it.

Also, do note that a little goes a long way with the contour shade, so it should last for absolutely ages. Good news is, if you do go overboard on the application, it can blend away into almost-nothingness if you need it to so I've never wound up with too much gunk on my face that I've had to remove. That's a huge plus for me because I'm liable to overdo my products when I'm in a rush, so it's been good to know that I don't need to be too careful with this because I can fix any errors with very little effort.

I guess the final thing to note is that the product stays in place well throughout the day, although I have dry skin so whatever I put on my face seems to cling anyway and stay put, so I can't speak to whether this lasts well on oily skin.

All in all, I think this product is good and I'm glad I own it, but I wouldn't buy it again because I'm sure I can do better - particularly at this price point. I also think I'm better off buying a stand-alone contour product because I have no use for the highlight shade, but of course everyone's different and some may love a matte highlight like this.

Decent but not amazing.


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