We Tried It: How Kim Kardashian's KKW Beauty Powder Contours Fared on 3 Different Skin Tones
Here's what happened.
What It Is: Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty Powder Contour Kits
Who Tried It: Jillian Ruffo, Associate Beauty Editor; Lydia Price,Digital Platforms and Specials Editorial Assistant; and Jackie Fields, Beauty Editor
Why We Tried It: When Kim Kardashian first launched her KKW Beauty line, we freaked. We were online with the rest of her fans, refreshing our browsers at the exact moment of her cream contour kit launch, and immediately had 7 editors try the products. So when the rising beauty guru released her powder kits, we couldn’t wait to see how they compared.
Level of Difficulty: 5-10, depending on your personal contouring expertise
Jillian Ruffo, Associate Beauty Editor
When I first opened up the nondescript KKW Beauty box, I was surprised to discover a few details about the product:
1. The palette’s weight. It’s heavier than many palettes in my arsenal, which gave it a high-quality feel and instantly gave me a glimmer of hope.
2. There’s a good amount of product. If I could name one thing that was wrong with Kim’s cream contour products, it’s that there was a lot of packaging, and not a lot of product. The tubes were much bigger than the actual contour sticks, and judging by how creamy they are, it’s easy to use them up quickly. But upon opening the powder palette, I was thrilled to see how big each shade was. Not only does it guarantee you a ton of uses, but it makes it a bit easier to justify the $52 price tag.
3. The shades. One brown shade looked like the contour product of my dreams, while another was a bit too orange. But I gave them a shot nonetheless…
Recently, I gave up using eye shadow on a daily basis, swapping in bronzer for my usual matte brown eye shadow. It’s a move that’s not only lightened up my makeup bag, but simplified my routine — and it’s so easy to do. The only problem I’ve come across is that many bronzer shades are a bit too orange, and don’t make for the best neutral eye shadow shade. But looking at the brown shade in Kim’s palette, I knew it was a match. It’s perfect on my cheeks, and adds a subtle, defined look to my lids, which is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I swiped the shade all over, topping it with the champagne highlighter shade on my cheekbones and the pinky tone on my lids.
I was also surprised to find how soft the bronzer pigments are. One tap with your brush leaves a huge amount of pigment on the bristles, so a little goes a very long way. That said, their soft texture does mean they’re easy to blend, which is a plus.
Now, for the not-so-great news. That orange-y shade? I’ll most likely never use it. While it’s probably great forsome light skin tones, it’s not right for mine — and there’s nothing that bugs me more than an unusable shade in a fancy palette. You can’t win them all — and I’ll add the kit to my daily rotation nonetheless.
RELATED VIDEO: We Tried It: Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty Cream Contour Kits
Lydia Price, Digital Platforms and Specials Editorial Assistant
As a contouring novice, I found the product a little intimidating to use at first. The powder looked so pigmented and obvious when I initially put it on that I looked a bit clownish and like a kid playing with her mother’s makeup. The contouring brush wasn’t helpful with this because it’s so big that precision was a challenge, even when I squeezed the head to make it smaller. I really wanted to go all in with my nose contour but felt like I couldn’t because of the brush size issue.
Despite these bumps, the product ended up blending beautifully and providing a natural look. The highlight made the most noticeable difference, giving me beachy, lit-from-within vibes. For someone with oily skin, the kit struck a nice balance and avoided looking either unnaturally matte or too shiny. The powder itself is a great, velvety texture.
I don’t know if the subtle contouring effect is enough to warrant putting the extra effort in my everyday routine, but swiping on some of the highlight in the morning or getting glam for a special event would definitely be doable. The $52 price tag feels like a steep investment, especially considering I only used two of the four shades in the kit and needed other brushes for backup. For a beginner, I would recommend the KKW crème contour over the powder, just because the smaller size made it more user-friendly and the contour had more of a dramatic effect.
Jackie Fields, Beauty Editor
The last time I tried Kim’s contouring palette, things didn’t go as smooth as I would have hoped. In all fairness, I assumed my designation as beauty editor would have better prepared me to blindly apply a packet full of dual-sided sticks, but I quickly realized the trend Kardashian-West practically invented was, much like her skin-care routine, on the high-maintenance side. So this time, I humbly googled the mogul’s YouTube tutorial to get a better sense of this process. Beginning minute 18:40, I got the download I needed to apply this palette.
But within seconds my application had already gone awry. I am not heavy-handed, so I was shocked when I swiped the brush across the deepest shade (bottom, right) only to dislodge a ton of powder. Moreover, even for a contour color, the shade was way, way, way too dark for me (I looked like what I could only imagine the stand-in model had before Kim stepped in to take this iconic pile of dirt photo). But not one to lose hope, I remembered Kim said, “I’m aggressive with it … but if I put on a little too much, sometimes I’ll take [my] brush, and I’ll put a little bit of foundation on it and go over it,” and I immediately began backtracking. A few more layers of foundation later, I had what I felt was a reasonable, not ridiculous sculpt. But already exhausted by the process, I applied a wash of the pink shimmer to my eyes and headed to my event.
I’ve played with the palette a few times since, and have happily come up with what I felt was a Kardashian-adjacent contour at east once or twice. However, like Jillian, there’s an entire pan in this $52 palette that’s off-limits. Also, powder on the whole is much less forgiving on my oily skin (the pretty shimmer turns to an unattractive shine) so as soon as I watch Kim’s créme contour tutorial, I am going to shelve the palette for her OG formula.
Have you tried Kim Kardashian’s new contouring products? Sound off below.