Beaute de Kose Esprique Precious Face Styling Powder (contour/ highlighter) review/ swatch

So I'm finally getting through my massive stockpile of skincare pictures and reviews so now I can look at more makeup and nail polishes again!

Here's a recent staple item in my makeup bag- Kose Esprique Precious "Face Styling Powder", shade is #00. (Currently I'm not aware of any other shades being released).

When I received this I was slightly disappointed and worried since it looks a bit dull- in the pan it looked like a plain beige vanilla highlighter and a probably too dark taupe brown looking contour powder.

It comes in a nice white compact with crystal designs on the corners.

Back of palette has instructions on suggested usage.

Contains 9g of product total and also a dual ended brush applicator is included.

Plastic separator on top:

Here's a closer look at the color. You are not mistaken- the contour side is matte so there's no visible shimmers. While on the highlighter side you can see subtle shimmers.

Brush is dual ended, one with longer bristles and the other with shorter. I can't read the back packaging but I'm sure they recommend the longer bristle for 1 product and shorter bristle for the other. I think it's a smart idea having a dual ended applicator since given highlighting and contouring are pretty much the opposite objectives, you really wouldn't be wanting to use the same brush to apply both!

For me personally, I use the short bristle side for highlighter since it allows more precise application, the long bristle end for contour since it's a larger area application and the longer bristles seems to pick up a bit less powder so I can build it gradually.

Here are the swatches. I had to swatch quite heavily to get more color payoff:

The vanilla beige side is rather soft and finely milled. There are some flecks of larger shimmers but they are not large like MAC mineralize blush or skinfinish sort of large, just comparatively larger. The base color is really quite finely milled.

The Contour shade does not have as much taupe as I imagined. Instead it's not "flat" matte either, it's more a very finely milled satiny shade of natural tan that you would see on Asian skintone if I was actually a bit more tanned. It applies so subtly that makes it excellent for contouring and building up to desired shadow (without looking dirty).

I know I don't sound like I'm giving glowing reviews above, but this is an excellent and compact highlighter/ contour in one. The highlighter shade is very nice on my NC15/NC20 skintone. (I wear about the lightest or 2nd lightest shade in most foundations).  It provides that extra glow and highlight and make me look really refreshed.   I swipe this on bridge of nose, just under eyes and above cheek, and on C-shaped zone outside brows along temple.

The contour shade helps with that morning bloated face that I sometimes get from too much fluid retention. I apply the contour shade at the edge of face where the face meets the neck- this is also great as my neck is a shade lighter than the face so when I wear foundations that actually match my skintone, it can look like it's actually too pale compared to the neck, what this does is seamlessly blending the edges together to make it look more natural.

I think the contour shade is extremely natural especially on pale Asian skintone. I generally do not contour as I had a bit of difficulty finding a right contour shade- a lot of Western brand bronzers tend to be too 'tanned' in base color and too pigmented to allow a really subtle, buildable application.

While there are probably better highlighters out there, you can't really beat the convenience factor of this one. (The highlighter in this compact probably beats most Japanese drugstore highlighters I've used like from Canmake or Fasio or even highlighter shade in Coffret D'or blush compacts, as most of the shimmers in other brands are usually too chunky or the base color is too white or silvery to look natural).

Rating is 4/5. This retails for 25-30USD depending on where you get it. There's also no scent, and not a lot of powder flyaway. It stays in place quite well throughout the day and great for the 'refreshed' look and office days.

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