There's no logical order to the shades in the palette, meaning you have to do your research. Essentially the first two are highlighters, the grey is to create shadows and the remaining three can be mixed to create the perfect contouring shade for your complexion. Illamasqua advise starting with the white highlighter, following with the grey shadow, filling in with your bronzing shade of choice and completing with the shimmering golden brown shade across the tops of cheeks and bridge of the nose. It sounds complicated, but once you get to grips with the layering it's actually a doddle; although I wouldn't use all of the tones on a daily basis, the unusual grey and the highlighting cream will definitely be coming out to play on weekends.
Each powder glides onto the skin effortlessly, allowing for swift blending and layering that makes a makeup artist out of even the least qualified among us. If you apply too much it's really easy to buff the pigment into skin for a more subtle approach, while you can easily layer and mix the shades together for a polished finish. In the picture below I've used four of the shades and little else - I haven't used any blush or traditional highlighter to showcase the result (which is probably a little more contrasting than I'd usually wear it, for the sake of the photo!) I'm loving how easy it is to use these powders and how I got to grips with them immediately.
The downsides come in the form of packaging and price. The cardboard container may be more sustainable, but it means it's easy to get in a mess and extremely hard to clean up; a plastic palette could just be wiped down, whereas this is going to get very dirty very quickly. Similarly, the size and shape of the powder pans mean it's quite tricky to pick up the pigment you want without disturbing the shade next door; you need a very small brush to get the product out effectively, which leaves you with a look that's too precise for my liking.
At £44.00 this isn't cheap either - especially as it's in a card case which consumers are more than likely to perceive to be less qualitative. If it was around the £30.00 I think it would provide much better value, but on a literal level it provides three times the quantity of the Sculpting Duo (£27.00) so therefore is a more than competitive price. Essentially it depends if you're an Illamasqua customer and love the brand, or if you're just after a great contouring palette - the price is definitely justifiable, it's just a big investment. I hope they break down the shades and offer them up as duos in the future, ensuring that many more will be able to justify a purchase that's really rather lovely.
What do you think of this new contouring palette from Illamasqua? Would you spend £44.00 on a sculpting palette, or would you prefer to turn to a more budget brand?
The Illamasqua Contouring Palette is available online and in store, priced £44.00.