This, dear readers, is the Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette (46.00 USD). It was the first thing I dropped into my shopping basket when I hit Sephora back in May and I had been ogling it online prior to that for months. I knew even before getting my hands on it that I would come to adore it. Its sister, the Face Contour Palette, seems to be the more popular of the two palettes, but I thought the idea of a contour palette for the eyes was much more interesting and original.
Plus: look at that packaging. How could anyone resist?
The palette features twelve eyeshadows housed in heavy reinforced cardboard packaging, with a mirror attached to the inner cover. It’s quite a large and heavy palette and as such wouldn’t fall under many people’s definitions of “travel friendly.” A negligible flaw considering how useful these eyeshadows are as additions to any makeup collection.
There is a good mix of warm and cool tones and although all of the shades look matte upon first glance, there are a few shades that have a satin finish.
A pamphlet that comes with the palette explains that the twelve eyeshadows are organised into three different “quads.” There’s a neutral, a cool, and a warm toned quad. The pamphlet also includes short instructions on how to use the eyeshadows to create certain looks. I haven’t actually attempted to recreate any of the looks yet because I like to mix the shades in the palette with other eyeshadows, but there are some pretty good tips in there for people who have no clue what “contouring the eyes” means.
The concept of eye contouring isn’t new in itself; it’s what most people are already doing with the eyeshadows they use everyday. Darker, matte shades go into places that you want to recede into the background and appear smaller, while lighter, highlighting shades go on parts that you want to bring forward or emphasise. Bad ass shade names at the back of the palette. I don’t like having to flip the palette over every time I want to remind myself of a shade’s name so I haven’t been referring to the shades by name at all — which is really weird for me. But I get how having coloured rectangles on the packaging would have ruined the aesthetic. Anyway, the three larger pans (base shades) contain 0.08 oz of product, while the smaller rectangles hold 0.04 oz each.
Swatched on my arm, with the three base shades beginning the row on the far left. The second row shades follow in order from L-R: Laetus (creamy nude), Lazarus (cool taupe), Ludwin (peachy bronze), Samael (dusty fawn), Solas (espresso brown), Lucius (soft beige), Saleos (smoky brown), Shax (jet black), Succubus (rich rust), Sytry (chocolate brown), Latinus (golden bisque)
You might think that these look disappointing in terms of pigmentation, but seriously: not all eyeshadows have to be totally opaque in one swipe to perform well on the eyes. Keep in mind that these shades are geared toward contouring and hardly any contour powders out there are ever opaque. That just doesn’t look natural. Sheer-but-buildable shades are the key to creating believable shadow and light.
I “contour” my eyes on a daily basis in a way that lifts my eyes and makes them appear slightly larger. I do this by adding “shadow” to the outer 1/3 of my eyelids to create the illusion of a deeper eye socket. On the center of my eyelid (the part that you can’t usually see when my eyes are open), I generally use lighter shades with a little bit of shimmer. On the lower lash line I apply the same shade I used on the upper outer eyelid on the outer 1/3 again to balance it out. Finally, I brighten the inner corner with either a light matte cream or a pretty light shimmer shade. Combined with lashings of mascara, this “technique” works to define my eyes in the way I prefer. Here’s a close up of the shading:
Of course I had been doing this even before I got my hands on the KVD Shade + Light Palette. Still, I like having all these perfect eye contour shades all in one place. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t tend to use these on their own. I take colour from other palettes and within this palette, I like to mix the shades together to get the perfect balance of warm and cool tones. It has everything I need to sculpt my eyes.
Going back to the formula: These are very smooth eye shadows that can come off chalky at first but are easily built up in light layers. I like that they’re not overly pigmented because that’s what helps in creating a very natural look. Of course you can also use these together with bright, colourful eyeshadows to polish a strong look. It’s a fantastic basic palette to have precisely because it’s so versatile. The shades in artificial light.
Overall, I think this is a great palette. I highly recommend it. People with light to medium skin tones will definitely get on better with it as some shades become quite chalky on deeper skin. That can be worked around though if you mix the shades properly (copper and peach should tone down grey on dark skin) and if you use a good base/primer.
Anyway, let me know how you contour your eyes. Do you like to make them look larger? smaller? Droopy? What are your tried and tested techniques for achieving that look?