Category Archives: Contouring Products

NARS Olympia Contour Blush Review & Swatches

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NARS Olympia Contour Blush

NARS Olympia Contour Blush

Good morning! I saw this morning that NARS has released information about their new Contour blushes. There are three shades, and each retails for $42; they’re currently available for pre-order at Nordstrom. Here’s a little collage of the shades so you can see them side by side (images from Nordstrom).

NARS contour blush

click to enlarge

I was lucky enough to recieve Olympia at The Makeup Show – I’ve actually been waiting to hear more about the product before posting this – and have swatches and a review for you today! Continue reading

Contour Powder Swatches, Comparisons, Photos

Contouring / Sculpting powders

Top row: NYX Taupe blush, NYX Haywire matte eyeshadow,
Bottom row: Inglot 363M eyeshadow, Inglot 342M eyeshadow, MAC Sculpting powder in Scupt

I’ve done a roundup of contour powder swatches before, but since I have some different products I’m using to contour these days, here’s an update.   Seeing swatches of Chanel Notorious contouring powder inspired me to experiment with using purple-grey eyeshadow to contour, with fantastic results.  If you haven’t seen swatches of Chanel Notorious yet, the lovely Karima of Shameless Fripperies has a fantastic comparison post with a swatch here.

 MAC Sculpt, NYX Taupe, Inglot 342M, Inglot 363M, NYX Haywire Swatches
Contour powder swatches – with flash:
MAC Sculpt, NYX Taupe, Inglot 342M, Inglot 363M, NYX Haywire

MAC Sculpting Powder in Sculpt (a pro product, now available online) is my go-to contour product – the pigmentation is at the right level to make it easy to work with, and it adds definition without ever looking muddy.

I recently re-purchased NYX Taupe after getting rid of it – it really is a great contouring color, but I think it’s better suited to someone who is paler than I am

I love the coolness and depth of Inglot 342 Matte, but if I’m not careful about blending, it can make me look dirty – so I only use it when I have extra time to play.  It is quite pigmented (since it’s an eyeshadow), which also makes it a bit harder to work with, but means that the finish is quite natural, since very little product is needed.

Inglot 363 Matte is a cool grey-purple-taupe, and works well as a contour product, though again it is quite pigmented and I need to be careful with application (I often use a stippling brush).

NYX Haywire matte eyeshadow actually isn’t perfectly matte – it has a very slight sheen, but it still works well as a contour product – the sheen disappears when applied lightly.  It’s another grey-purple-taupe, slightly greyer and cooler than Inglot 363M. I’d love to see it swatched side by side with Chanel Notorious (any takers?) – they seem similar to me, but it’s hard to tell.   This is less pigmented than the Inglot eyeshadows, and thus easier to work with as a contour product.

On days I want an extra-sculpted face, my go-to routine is to use MAC Sculpt first (placing it everywhere I normally contour), then add some NYX Haywire under my cheekbones only.


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ELF St. Lucia Contouring Blush & Bronzing Cream Review & Swatches

ELF St. Lucia Cream Blush / Bronzer

ELF St. Lucia Cream Blush / Bronzer

I recently placed an ELF order, which consisted of several brushes and one makeup item – the new Contouring Blush & Bronzing Cream, which comes in one color, St. Lucia.  ELF’s original Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder is also named St. Lucia – so this is probably meant to be a cream version of that, though in the powder version both the blush & bronzer are shimmery, and neither of the cream products have any shimmer.

The blush and bronzer are housed in ELF’s standard black compact; I quite like ELF’s packaging, as it’s sturdy, sleek, and functional. You can see some beads of moisture on both the blush and bronzer, which is completely normal – almost all cream products have this when purchased.

The texture of these creams is nice – they’re quite pigmented, but no so pigmented that they’re hard to work with. They’re very blendable if your skin is moisturized, but tricky to blend on dry skin. They dry down quite slowly – you don’t need to worry about taking your time blending. I powdered over, and ended up with a natural finish – powdering over worked well, no caking or problems. I’m happy with the texture.

St. Lucia Cream blush swatch

St. Lucia Cream blush – one swipe / blended

St. Lucia cream bronzer swatch

St. Lucia cream bronzer – one swipe / blended

The blush is really great shade – it’s a very natural, easy-to-wear dusty pink – I think it would look good on fair to medium skintones.  The bronzer, however, is a difficult shade; it leans sort of yellow/orange, and it’s hard to image it working well on just about anyone as a bronzer (and definitely wouldn’t work on anyone as a contour shade).  Then, I tried layering them, with this result:

ELF St. Lucia Cream Blush swatches

blush, bronzer, both layered

I love the layered shade – it has just the right amount of pink and brown, and is very wearable and neutral.   So, even though I can’t see myself wearing the bronzer alone, I still have two great shades in this duo – the blush alone, and the two shades mixed.

Here’s a full face photo; I’m wearing both shades in this, applied quite lightly – no eye makeup at all because I’m on the way to the eye doctor. The blush is subtle, but it’s definitely there.

Wear time is around four hours, which is typical for me for cream blushes – they just don’t last well on me, especially since I tend to apply so lightly.  I’m sure I could get longer wear with a heavier application.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this duo for anyone with fair to medium skin – it’s a fantastic value, and one of the best products I have tried from ELF.


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Mac Coffee Walnut Pro Sculpting Cream Review & Swatches

MAC Coffee Walnut Pro Sculpting Cream

I’ve been looking for a good cream contour product for a while now, so I was excited when I heard that MAC would be releasing six cream contours, called the Pro Sculpting Creams, as part of the Face & Body collection.  However, once I saw photos, I was a bit disappointed – most of the shades looked too warm to work as a contour, which should generally have some gray in it to mimic shadows. The one shade that looked like a possibility was Coffee Walnut, so I decided to order it.  This post is a first impressions review – it’ll take a couple weeks before I know if I love / like / hate it, but I wanted to get the swatches up since it’s limited edition.

Coffee Walnut Pro Sculpting Cream is packaged exactly like a MAC blush.  I like MAC’s packaging because it’s compact, functional, and allows me to see the product inside.

I like the texture of the product – it’s sort of a dry cream (rather than a greasy cream), and it is very easy to blend.   You have plenty of time to work with it and blend; it doesn’t dry down right away. In fact, I can’t tell whether it dries down to a powder or not, because I’m using such a small amount. It is very pigmented, but easy to sheer down to a wearable level.

MAC Coffee Walnut – heavy swatch, blended swatch

I’m sort of unsure about the color; it’s very different than my go-to contour product, which is MAC Sculpting powder in sculpt.  Coffee Walnut is sort of olive – gray – brown, and seems to have some yellow tones in it too.  MAC Sculpt is more of a soft cool brown. Here’s a comparison of the two – these are medium to heavy swatches.

MAC Coffee Walnut; MAC Sculpt – natural light

MAC Coffee Walnut, MAC Sculpt – flash

When I applied Coffee Walnut, I found that if I wasn’t careful with my placement and blending, it made me look sort of dirty.  However, once applied, it seems to work as a contour – creating shadows on my face.  In the photo below, I have applied Coffee Walnut below my cheekbones, on the sides of my nose, and below my jawline.

lipstick: essence red carpet

So, I’m undecided.  I like the texture and the pigmentation level, but I’m not completely sure about the color.  If you know your way around contouring products, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit 2 Review, Swatches, Photos

On a recent trip to the Make Up For Ever boutique, I picked up MUFE’s Sculpting Kit in #2 (it comes in four shades).  The duo consists of two matte powders; one to contour, and one to highlight.

MUFE’s Sculpting Kit is packaged in a very simple plastic palette with a clear cover.  It is very functional – it’s easy to see what you’re working with – though not particularly beautiful.

Both of the powders are very high quality. The textures are great – soft, silky, and blendable. They last very well on my normal to dry skin.  They have just the right level of pigmentation for contouring / highlighting products; the first layer is sheer, but they’re buildable to any level of depth that I want.

Heavy swatches:

Overall, I really like this kit, and I’m happy to own it. I’ve been using it every day since I bought it.  However, if you’re on a budget, I would suggest buying the MAC Pro Sculpting powder in Sculpt, which is extremely similar (or whichever sculpting powder is best for your skintone), then using a matte offwhite eyeshadow to highlight. This will give you an identical, or at least very similar, look for less cost.

I bought the MUFE Sculping Kit at the Los Angeles MUFE store, but it’s also available at Sephora stores and

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MAC Sculpt Powder Review, Swatches, Photos

As I mentioned, I’m on a bit of a contour powder kick right now. Today, I have a full review of MAC Scupting powder in the shade “Sculpt” for you.

MAC Sculpt, which is permanently available at Pro stores & online, comes in pan form only.  I’ve placed mine into a small compact I bought at TKB Trading – I prefer to have contour products in a single, rather than in a large palette.

Sculpt has a good texture – it’s easy to blend, and it lasts quite well on my normal to dry skin.  The pigmentation level is just right. It goes on fairly sheer (which is what I want in my contour products), but is buildable to any level of depth that I might want.  I think it would work best on fair to medium skintones. MAC Pro carries several other sculpting powders that would be better suited for deeper skintones.

The color is great for a contour powder – much better than the matte bronzers that many use to contour, which are often too red-toned to be ideal.  It’s virtually identically to the powder in the MUFE Sculpting Kit #2; maybe a touch lighter.  If you want a contour powder in pan form, I would definitely recommend MAC Sculpt.

MAC Sculpt is available at Pro stores only, but if you don’t have a Pro store near you, you can call them to place an order (flat rate shipping). U.S. 1-800-387-6707; Canada 1-800-387-6707 ext. 8555. You can read more about MAC Pro on Temptalia.

MAC Sculpt is now available online at


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved. This post contains affiliate links.