Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette

Hello again! This post was supposed to be up like two days ago but I decided to get all creative and try to change the layout on here and TOTALLY messed everything up, so that took forever to fix… My bad!

Anyway, the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette has been out for a little while now, but I just got it about two weeks ago… I’ve been using it the whole time so I’ve been able to do lots of testing and I really dig it! It works well for fair to medium dark skin tones, depending on how deep and defined you like your contour to be. It’s really well pigmented, so I would say it could be used by anyone up to about a MAC NC42-45, though I haven’t been able to try it out on anyone else just yet. All of these colors have a matte to natural matte/almost satin finish, which I’ll go into more detail about in the individual reviews. The contour shades in this palette aren’t terribly warm or orange/bronze, making them perfect for even the lightest of skin tones! I’m a MAC NC15, so it’s usually difficult for me to find the perfect contour color but this palette works well… The highlight colors are neutral, warm, and cool, and the colors sort of transform, depending on your squinting, so you can use them on different areas of the face, especially using a slightly warmer tone under the eyes to set your concealer and help to further brighten and correct any darkness. I’ll explain in the review for each color where I like to use them, and for which skin tones they’re ideal for!

Side note: As soon as my lighting gets here and I play around with my editing software, I’ll be making a highlight and contour video, so I can show you my techniques for using a highlight and contour palette like this! SO EXCITING!

Shade + Light Face Palette 1

This is a powder highlight and contour palette, so it’s easy to use and blend out, especially if you’re just getting into highlighting and contouring. You’ll want to use these after you’ve applied the rest of your face makeup, but before your blush… I usually like to do my liquids and creams, then setting powder, then contour/bronzer, highlight, then blush. While it’s not a huge deal if you do the highlight before or after blush, you want to do your contour first so you can blend your blush back into the line of the contour color, softening it and making everything look more natural. To apply the contour shades, I like to use something like a MAC 109, Sigma F05, or Real Techniques Contour Brush… You want a brush that’s dense and slightly tapered or round enough to fit into the hollows of your cheeks, but soft enough to swirl around and blend with. If you find that either one of those are too intense for you, you can also try an angled face brush like a MAC 168. I know a lot of people who use that to contour with, and I used to use the 168, but now I prefer it for blush! To me, it’s just bigger and more difficult to control when I want a more defined contour, but it will give it a more diffused look if you aren’t wanting too much intensity… To contour your nose, try something smaller, like a MAC 224 or 217 eye shadow brush. For the highlighters, you’ll want to use something fluffier and less dense like a MAC 165 (discontinued… sad face), Sigma F35 (same as the 165), or a Real Techniques Setting Brush. You can also use a MAC 224 for smaller areas like your nose, cupid’s bow, or under the eye if you just need a light dusting of product.

The packaging for this palette is nice and is made of a heavyweight, matte black, cardboard-ish stuff, just like the Contour Kit from Anastasia Beverly Hills… Now if you’re like me and you mainly keep this in a drawer or makeup bag, packaging isn’t a big concern because it’s safely stowed away and will be handled with care. However, if you are using this in a professional makeup kit or travel a lot and might be tossing this palette around, it may not hold up as well. While the packaging itself and magnets that hold it together are sturdy, it might get a little beat up and not stay closed if it takes too much torture. One major plus with this packaging is the mirror… It’s big and not the cheap, plastic stuff that gets scuffed up and cracks, so you can easily see that beautiful face of yours! On the front it has “Shade + Light” in shiny black with a silver outline. On the back, it has the names of the colors as they are in the packaging, going left to right (as in the colors don’t match up with what’s in front of it, so it’s backwards I guess?), in silver.

Shade + Light Contour Palette Packaging Front

Shade + Light Contour Palette Packaging Back

The Shade + Light Contour Palette is permanent and is available exclusively at Sephora and through Sephora’s website. It sells for $36, though the Kat Von D website says $36-$46? (Not sure why)… It contains a grand total of 20.4g / 0.72 oz of product, with each highlight color being 2.3g / 0.08oz and each contour color being 4.5g / 0.16oz. MAC’s Sculpt and Shape powders (available online and at PRO stores), as well as their blushes, contain 6g / 0.17 oz and sell for $17 each in the refill pan form, so you get more for your money with this palette, but you don’t get as much of each color as you would if you just bought it individually in the form of Sculpt and Shape powders or blushes from MAC. Since you can get the MAC powders for contouring and highlighting individually, you may want to do that if you don’t feel like you’ll use 6 different colors, plus you can get any of them in palette form and pop them into your blush palette, making them just as easy to store and travel with. Personally, I like having a few options for contour and highlight colors, but as I mentioned, I use different ones on different areas of the face… That may not be something you need or want to do if you’re just starting out, or if you aren’t as much of a makeup hoarder as I am!

Another comparable contour/highlight palette is the one from Anastasia Beverly Hills, which sells for $40 (with or without a pro discount) and contains a total of 18.7g / 0.66oz (each containing 3.12g / 0.11oz), so that makes the Kat Von D Shade + Light Palette a better deal than the ABH Contour Kit. The original (Light to Medium) ABH kit also has a shimmery color for highlighting, while all of the powders in the KVD palette are matte. That said, you can choose three different shades in the Contour Kits available from ABH, so if you prefer to have something a little darker and better suited for your skin tone if you’re ohhhh say a NC30-35+, you might find that one of the ABH palettes is better for you! Also, like MAC, you can buy the contour and highlight powders from ABH individually in a palette refill pan, so you can customize your palette, or just get a couple of shades that you know you’ll use a lot… I do LOVE the Kat Von D Shade + Light palette, though, so for me personally, I would buy this over the ABH version, which you can get at Sephora, from the Anastasia Beverly Hills website, Ulta, and perhaps from Macy’s.

Oooookay that was a LOT more long winded than intended (ha! I made a rhyme), but I want you all to be able to find the perfect contour palette, especially when most are not super cheap. Anyway, I won’t keep the pretty photos from you any longer! Thanks for reading 🙂

Note: Soooo the weird thing about some of these pictures is that the colors look warmer in them than they do when I’m sitting here looking at them in the palette, even though I used really epic lighting when I took these… BUT they actually apply looking like the color they are in the pictures, rather than how they look in person… Gosh, I hope that made sense. Just a random observation… Okay, carry on!

Top: Lucid, Lyric, Levitation Bottom: Sombre, Shadowplay, Subconscious

Top: Lucid, Lyric, Levitation
Bottom: Sombre, Shadowplay, Subconscious

Photo taken outdoors in natural sunlight. Highlighters swatches on NC15 skin.

Photo taken outdoors in natural sunlight.
Highlight powders swatched on NC15 skin.

Lucid

Lucid

Lucid:   This color is described as a “pinky nude” and is a pale, slightly warm toned beige with a pinkish undertone. It has a natural matte finish that’s not completely flat, which makes it work well to brighten the face, including the under eye area. This is the one that I use, being that I’m quite fair and it’s the lightest highlight in this palette. If you’re someone who prefers a cooler, more yellow toned highlight under the eyes like Lyric, you can still use Lucid to highlight other areas of your face like the tops of your cheekbones, nose, chin, etc. I probably wouldn’t use this on anyone deeper than about a NC30, due to the fact that it can wash you out.

The texture of this powder is very smooth and silky, making it easy to apply and blend without it looking too heavy. If you have a drier under eye area, make sure you apply this sparingly, or lightly dust it OVER a translucent setting powder. Even though these highlight powders are incredibly smooth, they’re also a little powdery and super pigmented, so it can emphasize creases under the eyes if your skin is dry or if you have many lines to begin with. Color payoff is warmer than it looks in the palette, but like I said, they’re highly pigmented, so that makes up for the difference in color. Coverage is great and you don’t need to use much product at all. As far as wear time goes, Lucid lasted for over 8 hours before I start to notice any fading, maybe more like 6-7 on the under eye area on days it’s been hot and humid outside.

Dupes:   Vanilla from Anastasia Beverly Hills is a little lighter and less pink. Emphasize Shape Powder from MAC PRO is lighter, not as pigmented (not a bad thing, though), and is a cooler cream color with less pink tones. It also has a more satiny/pearl finish. Ben Nye Cameo Luxury Powder is similar, but a little lighter.

Overall Rating:   4.5 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  5

Color Payoff:   4

Texture:   4

Wear Time:   5

Packaging:   5

Lyric

Lyric

Lyric:   Lyric is a “yellow beige”… It’s a light, creamy, yellow beige with neutral to warm undertones (the cooler your skin, the cooler toned this color looks). It has a natural matte, almost satiny finish that’s really nice, especially on the tops of the cheekbones and higher planes of the face. While I can use this color on my cheekbones and to highlight my face, it’s a little too yellow under my eyes. On anyone with skin that’s NC25, maybe even 20, and darker, it would be more suitable to highlight with!

The texture of Lyric felt a little more powdery than Lucid, but it’s still very finely milled and smooth. Color payoff is almost exactly how it looks in the palette and it’s highly pigmented. Coverage is also great. I got about 8 hours of wear with this highlighter.

Dupes:   Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder is a little more yellow and darker, but it’s pretty close. Banana from Anastasia Beverly Hills (part of the original or Light to Medium Contour Kit), is also similar, but is a hint darker. Thank you, Kat Von D, for not naming this color “banana”.

Overall Rating:   4.7 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  5

Color Payoff:   5

Texture:   4

Wear Time:   5

Packaging:   5

Levitation

Levitation

Levitation:   This is a “soft peach” and is the deepest of the three highlight colors in this palette… It’s a light peach with warm undertones and a more satiny finish than the other two highlighters, but it’s not satiny to the point of having a noticeable shine, it just looks like naturally glowy skin. While I can’t quite use this under my eyes (it’s a little too dark), I have tried it on my cheekbones, but it’s almost a little warm for a NC15 like myself. This is the perfect color to counteract darkness under the eye and add a beautiful, warm highlight to anyone who is NC25-30 to NC40-NC42ish.

It seems like the more satiny the finish, the more powdery the texture, because Levitation had the most lightweight, powdery feel out of all the highlight colors… Plus side is that it makes it easy to blend and apply lightly, which is perfect for the under eye area. Color payoff is just about how it looks in the pan. Coverage was not as heavy as the other two highlight colors, but it’s super pigmented… That seems like an odd combination, but I promise it makes sense when you try it out! I got around 8 hours of wear before I noticed any fading.

Dupes:   Accentuate Shape Powder from MAC PRO is super close, though maybe a liiiiiitle bit peachier. The texture is very similar, though.

Overall Rating:   4.5 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  4

Color Payoff:   5

Texture:   4

Wear Time:   5

Packaging:   5

Photo taken outdoors in natural sunlight. Contour powders swatched on NC15 skin.

Photo taken outdoors in natural sunlight.
Contour powders swatched on NC15 skin.

Sombre

Sombre

Sombre:   This contour is a “true taupe” and is the lightest of the contour shades in the palette… It’s a light cool taupe in the pan, but applies with more neutral to warm undertones. Even though it looks a little warmer on the skin, it has no orange or bronze to it, so it won’t make you look like an oompa-loompa no matter how fair you are! It’s less satiny than the highlight powders in this palette are, but it’s not quite matte… It has more of a natural matte, skin-like finish to it. This is the contour that I use most often… It’s perfect for even the pastiest of pale skin tones (like me) to use all over. Sombre is also great for a nose contour, even if you’re up to an NC35+ or so, because it’s more neutral and lighter than the other two contour shades in this palette, so it won’t look crazy dark and dramatic on your cute little nose!

The contour shades feel slightly less powdery than the highlights in this palette do, but are still silky smooth when applied. I found this texture very easy to blend out with no harsh or noticeable lines to be seen. Color payoff, as I mentioned, is warmer on the skin than it is in the pan, and it’s SUPER pigmented, so don’t go nuts with this right from the start! You can apply a VERY small amount and it will go a long way… That said, if you do accidentally apply more than intended, don’t worry, it blends out really well. I know because I did that the first time I used it haha. Coverage with this shade is wonderful too. Sombre wore for over 8 hours on me before I saw any fading.

Dupes:   Java from Anastasia Beverly Hills is pretty close, maybe a little darker. Harmony blush from MAC is a near perfect dupe. Also from MAC, Taupe blush is slightly cooler toned (which I prefer), but close. Sculpt Sculpt powder from MAC PRO is also similar, but has more neutral to cool undertones.

Overall Rating:   4.8 / 5

Application:   5

Coverage:  5

Color Payoff:   4

Texture:   5

Wear Time:   5

Packaging:   5

Shadowplay

Shadowplay

Shadowplay:   Shadowplay is described as a “soft brown”… It’s a medium, warm toned brown with a natural matte finish. It’s a little more satiny than Sombre is, but still lacks a true sheen. On me, and I would imagine on most people, this shade works best as a subtle bronzer, rather than a true contour. It’s not orange and intense like a lot of bronzers are, which I like, so I mostly use this to add a little bit of color around my hairline on my forehead (or fivehead in my case) and I blend this into my contour color on my cheeks, just so I look like I may have actually been out in the sun for a little while and got some color in my skin! To apply this, I like using a bigger fluffier, tapered bronzing brush like a MAC 138, or you can use an angled contour brush like a MAC 168.

The texture of this contour shade was super smooth and easy to apply. Color payoff is nearly a perfect match to how it looks in the pan, maybe a little warmer once it’s on the skin for some people. Coverage wasn’t as good as the other two contours in this palette, but I’m glad, because the intensity might get a little out of hand and look way too warm if it was as pigmented as the other contours are! I got 7 hours of wear with Shadowplay.

Dupes:   This is sort of in between Java and Havana, both from Anastasia Beverly Hills, and both of which are in the original Light to Medium Contour Kit… Java is lighter and cooler, while Havana is a bit deeper and even warmer/more orange. Shadester Sculpt Powder from MAC PRO is similar, maybe darker and more neutral. Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (Light/Medium) from Too Faced is slightly lighter, but has about the same tone. It’s also more intense, so these two actually look really close on my face anyway.

Overall Rating:   4.5 / 5

Application:   4

Coverage:  4

Color Payoff:   4

Texture:   5

Wear Time:   5

Packaging:   5

Subconscious

Subconscious
This looks a little darker in the photo than it does in person… No clue why.

Subconscious:   This contour is a “deep brown” and has a satin finish… I’m assuming this is because a lot of darker brown powders tend to look dry and unnatural on pretty much anyone’s skin if they’re too matte, so I do love the finish for this color. It’s a dark, chocolate brown with warm undertones. It looks dark, especially in the swatch on my skin, but it’s also extremely blendable, so if you are in need of a darker contour just in the hollows of your cheeks, you can use it as long as you apply it VERY lightly! I actually use this after I apply Sombre, just to deepen the part of my cheek contour closest to my ear. To do so, I use one of the brushes I would normally use to apply my highlight with (MAC 165, Sigma F35, or Real Techniques Setting Brush)… That way, it’s more diffused and not too dramatic. If you have a skintone between about a MAC NC35 and NC45ish, you can probably get away with this as your cheek/face contour as well.

The texture of Subconscious felt the smoothest out of all the contour shades, which is good since it makes it easier to blend out if you make an oops. Color payoff is super close to how it looks in the palette, and coverage was totally opaque with very little product used, so start out light-handed with this one and build it up! Wear time is excellent. I didn’t notice any fading until about 8 and a half hours into having this contour on.

Dupes:   Blunt Blush from MAC is cooler and a bit lighter. Definitive Sculpt Powder from MAC PRO is very similar, though it’s not as pigmented. I believe there is a similar shade from Anastasia Beverly Hills, but I would have to see it again in person to confirm that! It’s not part of any of the three Contour Kits, though.

Overall Rating:   5 / 5

Application:   5

Coverage:  5

Color Payoff:   5

Texture:   5

Wear Time:   5

Packaging:   5

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3 comments
  1. ebk94 said:

    Do you know when the individual pans are coming out??

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