Review: Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder
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Did you ever sit in front of your makeup table for half an hour creating perfect cheekbones, a chiseled jaw and a slimmer nose only to walk outside and discover that it looked like someone rubbed Cheeto dust on your face?
Yeah, me too.
In my experience, a really good contouring product is one of the hardest makeup items to find. Bronzers are meant to mimic a warm, sunkissed glow, not cool-toned shadows cast by killer cheekbones. Anything with shimmer is immediately out. Certain eyeshadows can work, but they come in (comparatively) teeny tiny pans. Having cooler-toned skin means that – on me, at least – anything warm-toned instantly looks orange. All that, my friends, is why I did a little happy dance when the order with my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder landed on my doorstep.
The compact is the same sleek red compact used for other KA powder products. While I appreciate the minimalism and symmetry of the compact design – the slot for brushes/sponges is the same size as the powder – the compact is essentially twice as large as it needs to be, since I almost always use my own brushes. Aside from that one minor complaint, I do love the packaging. The flat compact and rectangular shape make for easy stacking – very valuable if you like organized makeup drawers. One point in favor of the large size is that the lid is almost entirely covered by a mirror, which would be extremely handy if you’re using it on the go. It has a push-button closure that’s very secure, so I don’t worry about it popping open in my travel bag.
When I was first researching the product, I saw a lot of people mentioned that the sponge included with the Sculpting Powder wasn’t very useful for applying it. So I was a little bit surprised when I opened mine up and found a brush inside! Then I got the warm and fuzzies, because apparently someone is listening to consumer feedback. The brush itself is wider than a lot of included compact brushes, and it’s pretty flat – sort of like a miniature version of the NARS Ita or Hakuhodo Itabake brushes. The bristles are fairly stiff and not especially soft, but it definitely picks up a good amount of powder and deposits it nicely on the skin in a sharp line. I’ve only used it a few times to test it out since I prefer a softer contour, but I’ll be keeping it around to use if I want to achieve that dramatic, chiseled look.
Unlike bronzers, KA Sculpting Powder was created specifically as a contouring product. While it only comes in one color (Medium), the texture is extremely fine-milled and blendable – meaning it can be worn on fair skin tones with a very light application or built up for medium to dark skin, though I could imagine it not showing up well on the darkest skin tones. The powder is soft and picks up easily, but not so soft that there’s excess powder kickup during use. The product is just cool-toned enough to look like an actual shadow on your skin, and it’s completely matte. I’ve swatched it here next to Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer as a comparison, which was my go-to contouring product before the Sculpting Powder walked into my life. As you can see, Chocolate Soleil has a distinctly more red-orange tone in comparison.
The pigmentation is excellent, so only a little bit of product is needed. I apply it with a small, dense domed brush (Hakuhodo J212) and then blend it out with a larger, fluffier round brush (Hakuhodo 210). Wear time for me is a solid 10 hours before fading.
In Short: For powder contouring, this is my holy grail. Note: Since this review was first posted, the Sculpting Powder has been repackaged. The compact is much smaller now, but you get only about half the amount of product for $2 more. I understand the need for price increases, but this is pretty dramatic and I’m a bit peeved. I still love the Sculpting Powder though.