If you’re here, reading a makeup blog, you’ve most likely heard all about the iconic Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder. Up until recently, this pricey little contour powder only came in one shade, Medium. I have a semantic dispute with the word “Medium” being used for the only shade in a line, as surely “Medium” implies that it’s between two ends of a spectrum, but never mind! I managed to resist the allure of the Medium Sculpting Powder if only because it’s famously expensive and because I already had a contour product which I enjoyed.
However, recently Kevyn Aucoin launched two more shades, Light and Deep, and my interest was most decidedly piqued. Finally, armed with a Sephora gift card, I bit the bullet in early January and purchased it. I’ve been using my Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow – another very popular contour product, especially for pale skin – for over two years now, and, well, cream products don’t last forever. It’s looking crusty, guys.
I have to say, at $53 CAD this is definitely an expensive powder. But I think that at this point in my makeup-wearing days I’m used to rising makeup prices and the Canadian markup, so when I actually researched this product and saw the price I wasn’t particularly shocked. L’Oreal is charging 30 bucks for an eyeshadow palette and 16 for a mascara, $53 for a product from a high-end brand is kind of not that alarming. (Maybe that’s a sign that I need to stop buying makeup?)
When it comes to contouring products, the colour is maybe more important than the texture. Here I’ve compared the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light to Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow and NYX HD Blush in Taupe (which I “decluttered”, aka banished to a bag that one day I will let my friends root through):
You can see that the Sculpting Powder in Light is lighter than NYX Taupe, though slightly darker than Illamasqua Hollow.
Though colour is really important in a contour product, texture isn’t irrelevant. Part of my issue with NYX Taupe was that it blended quite poorly. The Sculpting Powder is very soft. It’s necessary to tap off your brush when applying it as it does kick up a lot of powder, which you can see in my pictures. However, I wouldn’t call the texture “powdery” – it’s smooth and super pigmented. A little goes a long way. Though this is the light shade, I think it would be easy to go heavy-handed with this product on my skintone, which makes me really glad that I never purchased the original Sculpting Powder in Medium. I find Illamasqua Hollow easier to build up, whereas the Sculpting Powder in Light goes on pretty strong.
After several weeks of experimentation, I’ve found that the best way to apply it is to tap my brush very lightly into it and start by applying the product far back (almost at my ears) and slowly blending it forward. It gives the most natural look to me. Now that I’ve worked with this product for awhile I find it delightful to use and love the results it gives me, but it did have a bit of a learning curve when compared to my Illamasqua Hollow. (I would really coat my brush with Hollow; it’s quite sheer and buildable, so it wasn’t necessary to exercise caution when sticking my brush into it.)
Although I do like how foolproof Hollow is to apply and the fact that it can be built up to desired pigmentation, I have to say that the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light beats it in two ways: firstly, I think the rosy taupe colour works a bit better on my complexion than Hollow’s taupe-with-yellow-undertones. Secondly, although it costs a pretty penny, this is a product that I can truly use up to get my money’s worth, as it’s a powder and won’t go bad unless something really wild happens. (It also probably won’t look as icky after two years of daily use.)
The packaging of this product isn’t my personal aesthetic, but it’s no doubt a luxury product. It looks and feels expensive, at least. I do like how it opens: you press the little gold edge and the compact pops open. It’s neat, makes me feel better about the money I spent, and secure for things like travelling. I like that the packaging is slim and that there’s no space wasted with something like a shitty brush that if my friend accidentally drops it into a glass of wine I won’t be upset about at all because I wasn’t going to use it anyway even though she felt really bad and bought me a tequila shot as an apology which was probably a bad idea. (True story!) Basically, the packaging is functional, unobtrusive, kind of cool, and not ugly, which is all good in my books. It does collect fingerprints easily, but I can live with that. (If I were a real beauty blogger I’d have wiped it down before photographing it, but I’m a fraud.)
Here it is on my face, sans blush, bronzer, or highlighter:
I think it gives a nice, natural look. Achieving this look requires a tad more blending than with my Illamasqua Hollow, but the end result is really lovely. When paired with blush my face looks alive and lightly defined.
So far, the Sculpting Powder in Light is definitely one of my top picks for contouring on my skintone. I won’t be keeping Hollow anymore as it’s gotten old and I don’t need two contouring products, but I will say that they’re not exactly the same type of product. One is a sheer, buildable cream; one is an opaque, full-colour powder. They both serve the same function, but do so a bit differently, so I don’t think they’re interchangeable. However, compared to most bronzers as well as NYX HD Blush in Taupe, a pale person contour staple which I didn’t get on with, the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light is right up there!
The Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light retails for $53 CAD or $44 USD for 0.11oz of product. That makes it $481.82 CAD or $400 USD per oz. It can be purchased Sephora, Nordstrom, SpaceNK, Mecca, and online at websites like Beauty Bay and Cult Beauty.
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