Contouring isn't a new makeup artist technique, but it's one that has experienced a resurgence in the cosmetics industry, and Too-Faced adds to the growing number of contouring options with its Cocoa Contour Chiseled to Perfection Palette. While there are some positives with this palette, ultimately it doesn't have enough going for it to make it a must-have, which is why it earns an average, two-star rating.
Cocoa Contour Chiseled to Perfection comes in a cardboard container with a mirrored, flip-up lid, four powders in equal-sized squares pans of product, and a small, angled kabuki-style brush. It's cute and convenient packaging, though not without some issues (which we'll get to in a moment).
The four powders are different colors intended to be used for different aspects of contouring. Light Cocoa, Medium Cocoa, and Deep Cocoa all have matte finishes, while Pop of Light has a sparkle finish. Each shade is soft and silky, and is easy to pick up on a brush. There is some powderiness to all the shades, which can result in powder from one shade getting into another shade, especially since they're housed so close together (it's best to clean the edges of the shades after application to keep this from happening). The included brush, which Too-Faced calls its "Contour Buki Brush," is a small kabuki brush with an easy-to-hold handle and soft, angled bristles that work well for contouring. It's especially convenient for key contour areas like under cheekbones and on the sides of the nose, and the softness of its bristles make it easy to buff out any color that's applied too heavily.
As for the powders themselves, Light Cocoa is a soft beige designed as a highlighter. On medium to deep skin tones it will serve that purpose, but on fair to light skin you won't see it at all, so it mainly functions for people who fall into that category as a shade to buff out the darker shades. It sets to a soft matte finish.
Medium Cocoa is this palette's standout shade. True to its name, it's a medium brown that leans more toward taupe, and is neutral enough to do a good job mimicking the appearance of natural shadows that would appear under cheeks or on the sides of the nose. It has a matte finish and a lot of pigment, so those with fair skin will want to apply this with a light hand, then build up color. If you do overdo it, its texture allows it to be sheered out easily with a soft brush. The color wears well for about eight hours without fading.
Deep Cocoa is a trickier shade to work with, since it has strong warm undertones and is more reddish-brown. Those with warm undertones can work with it, but it could appear ruddy or even orange on people with cool or neutral tones, which limits its appeal. As far as performance, it's similar to Medium Cocoa in its pigment and wear time.
Pop of Light is intended to add luminosity to skin, but for the most part only adds sparkle. This is a soft peachy shade flecked with large sparkle particles. It applies smoothly, but the underlying peach shade is barely noticeable; you'll only see it in direct sunlight or under bright lights. Most of what appears on the face is the glitter, which travels during the day (while we wore it, we noticed sparkles had made it all the way into our hair!).
Another note: Too-Faced makes a point that they all contain the brand's "Exclusive Cocoa Complex," which it says is rich in antioxidants. Each powder does contain cocoa, though because of the packaging you won't be getting much antioxidant benefit from it (due to these powders being exposed to light and air). The chocolate smell that comes with these powders is also the result of added fragrance, not the cocoa itself (fragrance is higher on each powder's ingredient list than cocoa). The fact that these powders are fragranced should be a consideration for those with sensitive skin, since fragrance can be a potential skin irritant.
Overall, while this palette does have some items in the plus column, the limited appeal of the shades included, plus the fallout from the Pop of Light shade, makes this one we don't recommend. We suggest instead checking out Kat von D's excellent Shade + Light Contour Palette.
Too Faced At-A-Glance
Too Faced is the brainchild of Jerrod Blandino, who got his start in the cosmetics industry as a department store makeup artist in the '90s. According to brand lore, Blandino's clients sought him out for his lighthearted, playful approach to beauty, which led him to create his own line. Soon he teamed up with business partner Jeremy Johnson, and launched Too Faced. The brand caught on quickly, getting distribution in stores like Nordstorm and Sephora.
Too Faced's biggest hook is its emphasis on a feminine persona that seeks to make beauty seem fun. There are several food- and scent-themed palettes, and many products bear trendy or cheeky monikers. The brand offers some top-notch performers, including some great powder products and its top-selling Better Than Sex Mascara, though there are some mis-steps as well (see our individual reviews for more information).
Note: In November 2016, cosmetics giant Estee Lauder bought Too Faced for $1.45 billion. Despite the fact that Estee Lauder sells products in China, where animal testing is in some cases required by law, Too Faced's founders say they maintain their commitment to no animal testing (and there are no plans so far to sell Too Faced products in China).
For more information about Too Faced Cosmetics call (949) 553-4431 or visit the Web site at www.toofaced.com.
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