In My Makeup Kit: Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate

Tom Ford blew me away when he first came onto the scene at Gucci in the early 1990’s with his uber-luxe interpretations of the 70’s. It was the 70’s through a lens where everyone looked like they were partying it up at Studio 54, and his clothes and the images that accompanied them quickly became iconic.

When I heard he had moved into cosmetics with his collaboration with Estee Lauder a few years ago, I died a little bit and yes I will confess to quite a bit of feverish eBay buying to get my paws on parts of that collection. So when he created his beautiful lipstick line in 2010, the progression from clothes to makeup felt complete. But it wasn’t…yet. Now he has a full line of Tom Ford cosmetics that has just been released in London, and true to form, it is perfection in every sense of the word. The initial images featuring Lara Stone and utilising the not inconsiderable beauty talents of renowned English makeup artist, Charlotte Tilbury were tasters of what’s to come, and having tried the Shade and Illuminate contouring palette, I WILL be making room for more of his products in my kit.

The contour palette is available in two shades, a lighter version and a darker one (important as not everyone is one colour! One person’s shadow is another’s dirty GT racing stripe). I have it in Intensity 1, which is perfect for quite fair complexions. I used it on two shoots last week and fell more in love with it every time. It’s just a great, great colour, as it’s quite tan with a little bit of red in it, so it looks like a shadow but a glamorous shadow, if that makes sense. (Only Tom Ford could make shadows glamorous). If contour colours get too grey they can look muddy and dirty, but this one walks the right side of warm brown to create perfect, sculpted hollows just where you want them. It’s a very light cream so that it’s buildable, and has an almost transparent quality to it, but enough heft to give you cheekbones Scavullo would have loved. It works equally well with a brush or fingers, and blends gorgeously.

The pan size is huge so unless you’re doing serious Mount Rushmore work on your face every day it should last you ages, and it also has a clear white highlighter in the palette, so you can make those cheekbones pop. I love the highlighter too as it’s the same transparent cream and it has a gold effect to it as opposed to a pink pearl base which a lot of highlighters have. The whole effect is shimmery, amber-y gorgeousness. I also love that the packaging is so light – I know lots of bloggers have been finding this annoying as the price tag is high, and presumably they expect expensive makeup to feel like a block of obsidian. Thank you Mr Ford for not making it so! As a makeup artist, I actually have to take out luxe but heavy items (cough, Burberry, cough) as weight is an issue when you take a suitcase full of products with you to work every day.

It’s not cheap. But it’s about the same price point of other premium brands such as Chanel, Dior, Burberry, YSL etc. When you are buying a little slice of heaven you can expect to pay for it, but for me the quality is just so good I will be skimping on other things (like food, utilities, new shoes) to pay for it. This is a range worth getting in hock for, and I rarely say that! (Oh alright, when the new Chanel collection comes in I generally do, but who needs shoes or food when you can have new season designer makeup gorgeousness?)

I literally cannot wait to try the rest of the collection. Kay Montano was emailing me about it from London when she had a private viewing of it at the Dorchester (as you do, obvs) as it was just so amazing. Kay has tried pretty much every product on the planet and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of beauty, so for her to say that is a pretty big call.
Tom Ford Beauty is available now at Selfridges in London, and will be exclusively available at David Jones Sydney and Melbourne from November 13th, 2011.

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