Illamasqua Sculpting Duo // Selfridges £26.00
So before I spill my thoughts on the Illamasqua Sculpting Duo (I bought the Heliopolis/Lumos version) I will confess I am rubbish at contouring. I don't do it daily and I have by no means mastered it. I'm no Charlotte Tilbury so if you're a contouring noob too then my thoughts on this duo may be more relevant to you than to a contouring expert.
I picked up this duo in Selfridges in the Trafford Centre just before Xmas without receiving any help from the sales staff. I just thought it looked nice. To be honest, although the counter was quiet there was a general air of 'we don't know our bums from our elbows' when I was there which I think is pretty unusual for an Illamasqua counter in general.
As usual I will comment on the packaging first before the contents-good points, very lightweight, big mirror and good separation of the powders. Bad point-has an opening mechanism that always chips my nail polish.
From what I can gather from the website there are two versions of this duo-Heliopolis (neutral matte soft brown) and Lumos (shimmering champagne gold) and then what appears to be a slightly darker version of Illuminate and Nefertiti. Fun fact-when I go to Cairo every month on business, Heliopolis is the suburb of Cairo I spend most of my time in.
This duo gets a big thumbs up from me for ease of use and the shades. For comparison purposes I have pale, pink undertoned skin-in MAC I am NW15 in foundation and in Illamsqua skin base I am 02. When first swatched I was worried the Heliopolis shade might be too orangey on me but I think it looks ok-what do you reckon? The powder is completely matte, very easy to work with and isn't chalky or too soft. I actually used an Illamasqua brush for the above photo to apply the contour, I have had it ages, it's the 'highlighter brush' which is a small headed fluffy brush perfect for this kind of malarky and for building up the colour slowly and subtly. NB the powder is very pigmented and I could have gone way more 'sculpted' if I had the skillz.
I love the highlighter. In the swatch on my hand it looks quite matte but it has the most beautiful sheen to it, a pale champagne gold-not too far from Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight. It's not glittery or overly shimmery as such and I really like it. It's gorgeously glowy. It's buildable and totally wearable for daytime with a light hand. The only downside is that the powder itself is very very soft. When you place your brush into the pan the powder kicks up quite a lot.
That said, I would recommend this duo as it seems to be pretty foolproof for contouring noobs like myself and I have been reaching for it a lot! My chipmunk like cheeks are looking slightly more chiselled!