Happy Halloween! I hope you get sufficiently spooked today and also eat enough candies for a nice sugar high. 😛
Today’s Project Pan item is the NYX Powder Blush in Taupe #PB11:
It was not by accident that this item is featured today – if you’re in a pinch for ghoulish looking hollowed out cheeks for a costume, perhaps a contouring shade like this could help! 😉
This is the old version of the NYX Taupe – there is a new version when NYX replaced the whole blush line with the HD Blushes. It was a source of heated discussion when NYX reformulated this particular colour since it’s a much beloved shade. There are lots of opinions about which version is better: this video shows a comparison between the old versus new versions. She found the new one less pink, and another person found the new one warmer, another person found the new formula drier, but yet another person found the new powder to be much smoother.
Who to believe? Unfortunately, I do not have the new HD one to compare here for you (maybe one day). What I do know is that the original version, the one I own, has a nice cool undertone for contouring. Remember: contouring products should mimic natural shadows which is greyish in tone. Bronzers in gerneral are not good for contouring, they’re usually too orange. You want something with a taupe / grey rather than orange / brown tone.
Both the old and new version calls this a blush but it’s definitely a contouring colour. NYX now also offer a whack of contouring products (including the Highlighting and Contouring Pro Palette which I won from Sandie’s Stash giveaway a while back – still need to review that!) so I’m not sure why they kept this product as part of the blush collection. It’s confusing. 😕
This powder applies smoothly – it’s not too highly pigmented but I don’t mind because I want the contouring effect to be subtle. It’s very easy to blend out so there are no harsh lines.
Of all of the beauty routine “extras” such as highlighting / strobing, bronzing, etc, contouring is the thing I rarely do (I mentioned this in my 7 Deadly Sins Tag!). I do have naturally high cheekbones (not a boast, just describing my face structure) so I don’t need to contour. But, since contouring almost daily, I do think that doing this extra subtle step adds a nice definition to my face. I’ve been using my trusty Anna Sui Face Brush each time:
Since many of you asked about various contouring brushes in my Nars Kabuki Ita brush post, here’s a bunch that I own for comparison. I categorize contour brush into 2 types:
Flat contour brushes
These are great for creating a straight line, especially for the hollows of the cheeks.
Ecotools Deluxe Fan Brush – before the availability of actual flat contour brushes, fan brushes made for a nice soft diffusion of contour colour in the cheek hollows. This one is super large and has medium density.
Anna Sui Face Brush – my favourite brush for cheek contouring – the perfect mix of firm bristles and diffused edges to lay down precise placement and to blend.
Everyday Minerals Itahake Brush – way too dense and can’t blend worth crap. Makes a harsh line and then you’re stuck with it! This brush is slated to be purged.
Nars Kabuki Ita – not worth the money! See my review and comparison to a $2 knock off here.
Illamasqua Blush Up Brush – it’s the most compact, blunt and has the shortest bristles of all the ones I own. This creates a sharp line and is really good for blending out cream products (I own the Illamasqua cream blush in Zygomatic, which is a gorgeous contour shade).
Round contour brushes
These are great for contouring around the forehead, hairline, jawline, etc. I think these would be too large for nose contouring – you’re better off using an eye shadow blending brush for that purpose.
Quo Contour Brush – this was my first contour brush and it was fine for what it is. Now that I know better, it’s quite scratchy and it sheds a lot.
Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush – the newest addition to my contour brush stash. It’s a bit floppy to do targeted contouring but the pointed tip with the bulbous shape is great for diffusing colour. I like it for forehead contouring. It’s also very soft so it’s better served with very pigmented products.
Real Techniques Contour Brush – this doesn’t pick up powder pigment too well. I only use this for high pigment powders – mostly blushes.
MAC 109 Small Contour Brush – it’s too blunt for precise placement of contour, and it feels scratchy on the skin. I use this for powdery blushes that have low pigmentation.
Back to the NYX Powder Blush in Taupe – I won’t rate it since it’s not available any more, but I do really like its cool undertone as a contour product. And based on what I’ve seen online, I would recommend checking out the new HD Blush in Taupe. It’s an inexpensive option for a contour powder that’s not too orange or ashy.
In the interest of trying to use up this product for Project Pan (as if I’ll ever hit pan on this thing! I’ve had it for more than 5 years and the waffle pattern hasn’t even worn flat yet), I’ve started to use this as a contour for my eye shadows, blending out deeper shades in my crease. It also works wonderfully for that purpose, but I haven’t made a dent in the weight:
I’m still dutifully using every single item in my Project Pan, 5 days a week for my work face. I’m not sure why the Cargo powder didn’t change last week! 😦
Do you contour? What’s your favourite contouring product and brush?