1 June 2016

essence Contour Powder Palettes Review & Swatches

*This post contains PR samples.

Happy June! Now that it's really supposed to be summer, why not start the month off with bronzers? I wasn't going to review these releases from essence at all, but I've noticed that I've reached for them a lot over the past month. If that's not a sign I like something, then I don't know what is!

essence released these contour powder palettes as part of their spring/summer 2016 launch in Canada, way back when. You're going to notice I swap between "contour" and "bronzer" throughout this review, and once you see the swatches you'll understand why. But first, let me talk about the product.

These contour powders are circular pans with two products in them: a contour shade and a highlight shade. The contour powder makes a half-moon shape around the highlighter, and there is no divider between the two powders. The product comes in two shades: Light and Medium.

Light has a warm, fairly orange contour shade, paired with a golden highlighter. Medium has a cooler contour, and a pale pink highlighter. My skin tone works best with the gold highlighter and the cool contour, making both palettes something I reach for.

The "contour" shade in Light is honestly really orange, so much so that on paler people than I it would definitely look Oompa Loompa-esque. But it's slightly less orange than my Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Bronze, which means I can reasonably wear it without looking way too fake.

Left: essence contour powder in Light
Right: essence contour powder in Medium

In both palettes, the contour shades kick up quite a bit of powder even though it's hard to do any sort of "swirling" of the brush in it because then it'd mix with the highlighter. And I think that's the number one drawback of these palettes' design: there's nothing preventing the contour shade from mixing with the highlight shade. It's super awkward to pick up powder from the contour side, though it's not nearly as bad when using the highlight.

The biggest indicator that these palettes are truly on the lower end of the price range is that significant difference between the two highlight shades. The gold behaves like the contours: kicking up powder but feeling super soft and silky. On the other hand, the pink highlight is quite hard and really difficult to pick up product from. It almost feels dried out. You can see in the above swatches that the pink is barely visible on the far right. I like the gold because it gives like a dewy look to my makeup, without the bright "check out my highlight" that my beloved Becca Moonstone does.

Even though the essence contour powders are not perfect, I still reach for them almost every day. I love using either contour as a bronzer, though I definitely have to go in with a light hand if I use the Medium shade, and the gold highlight is honestly really great for everyday wear.

What are your favourite bronzers? Give me some suggestions!

*This post contains PR samples.

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