Shade & Illuminate
Tom Ford's Shade & Illuminate product has an interesting backstory. According to the makeup artist we spoke with, regardless of what other products they use, all Tom Ford artists are required to put this on their clients when they come to the counter. The reasoning is that Ford, who has a degree in architecture, appreciates structure, lines, and symmetry, and so this contouring cream is one of his cornerstone products.
History aside, this is a fairly basic cream contour/highlighting product in a compact. There are two shades available - one for light skin tones and one for medium - but the highlighting shade for both compacts is the same.
The formulas of both the contour shades and of the highlighter are quite creamy, which means they blend in easily as you spread them across the areas you want to contour, such as under the cheekbone areas or on the sides of your nose. The darker shades are natural-looking enough that they mimic the appearance of shadows on the face, and the lighter highlighting shade has a pearlescent sheen that highlights without being sparkly.
The problem is that the creamy formula is so emollient it tends to slide around after it's been applied, which for the darker shade can make your face look dirty. When contouring, it's critical that the color stays in place. The shades also fade after just a couple of hours, so your sculpting results are short-lived. For the price tag and performance, this product ends up not being that illuminating after all.
- Creamy formula blends easily.
- Contouring shades look natural.
- Highlighting shade is pearlescent without being sparkly.
- Formula of both products is so emollient that they slide around after being applied.
- Color fades after only a couple hours of wear.
- Expensive given its average performance.
Tom Ford is one of the world's hottest fashion designers. Coming to prominence in the mid-1990s, he became Creative Director at Gucci's fashion house, creating his own designer line in 2006 and five years later, followed in the footsteps of other high-fashion houses by launching a line of color cosmetics.
Housed in sleek black packaging with "Tom Ford" stamped in prominent gold-embossed lettering, the makeup certainly looks luxurious, and the pricing is definitely in the haute couture range. There are some great performers among Ford's small but well-edited makeup line, and were happy to say most of the products have minimal or no fragrance. There are a few exceptions which are noted in our individual reviews.
For more information about Tom Ford Beauty, visit www.tomford.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.