Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Palette

   Tom Ford's makeup is all about seductive, sensuous, rich and luxurious looks and products. The collection hones in on facial definition, saturated colour and amplifying a woman's features. If we understand the architecture of our face, he says, we will understand which features to accentuate and which to play down and minimise. 
   Continuing the adoration for Tom Ford's cosmetics range, I bring you a whistle stop review of the Shade & Illuminate palette. The concept is seamless, natural sculpting of the face using a blending brush and beautifully textured cream product. Beginning with packaging, the compact is on the hefty side but gives ultimate, quality feel with the suede pocket to protect it. Attention to this detail of quality of packaging just adds to the luxurious feel of the product itself. This palette comes in two intensities, catering for those of darker or fairer skin tones and admittedly can look a little orange in the pan. Do not let this put you off, with the right amount of product (read: do not overload) and attention to blending, the result is beautiful. To get to grips with contouring, take a look at my ode to Kevyn Aucoin here where I explain in more depth where to pop darker and lighter shades in order to give the illusion of precisely sculpted facial bone structure.
   Both intensities share the same cream highlight which, at first glance is nothing to be singing praise from the roof tops. I found the most effective way to apply the highlighter is to dab along my cheek bones, down the bridge of my nose and across my cupids bow with my fingers, then blend and work the product into the skin with my foundation blending brush. The aim of this highlighter is not to create a wash of shimmer and glitter, rather, a light reflecting sheen and pearlescent glow is achieved. 
  In terms of application Mr Ford offers us two choices; the Shade & Illuminate brush, designed to be coupled with the palette or the Cream Foundation Brush. After a bit of trial and error with the suitably chiseled and sharply dressed male assistant, I decided to go for the cream foundation brush as it gave a more natural and polished look and distributes the product evenly. The Shade & Illiminate brush had fewer and shorter hairs, densely packed together. This gave a sharp and precise line of contour which, whilst beautiful in it's own right, I found to be less wearable thus, less easy to use on a regular basis. All brushes within the collection are made with natural hair, they wash brilliantly and remain soft after each time.
  The creamy consistency of the product is so silky on the skin and I find it blends with my foundation amazingly, as a result I find it's durability better than that of a powder and the choice to buff it down to a subtle shadow or build up into a strong contour is entirely yours and extremely easy. This is my go-to contour palette for evenings out and I imagine will be my holy grail product throughout summer as it gives a glowing, radiant look when hit by light.
   Tools and products alike, Tom's cosmetics range is one that has me weak at the knees. The very best colours, textures and finishes characterise the range and make it 100% value for money. To see Shade & Illuminate in action, watch make up artist Charlotte Tilbury recreate her Paris Vogue cover here and working her magic once more in a haven of Tom Ford, recreating the glossy and dramatic A/W13 look here.


  1. Your really pretty and your photographs look awesome!!

  2. If this was the same price as Kevyn Aucoin's powder which would you prefer?

    Following you on Bloglovin-
    Jillian/ Jillicious Cosmetics

    1. Hello Jillian,

      I tend to opt for Kevyn Aucoin during the day and Tom Ford if I'm going out in the evening. Kevyn Aucoin is more subtle and cool toned, so creates more of a 'natural shadow' effect. Tom Ford is warmer, still lovely to use as it's a cream product so fuses with foundation really well but I would say requires a more time and effort in terms of precision and the outcome is more dramatic/noticeable than Kevyn Aucoin.

      Looking forward to checking out your blog!

    2. Thanks for your help. I had no idea it would be so hard to get hold of though! I called around to several Saks (non of them carried it or had it in stock) but finally someone from the the counter in NYC shipped it to me today. Saks doesn't sell it online and Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf are all back-ordered. Crazy!