This past week, I became fascinated with some of the looks created at New York Fashion Week, some of which used contouring rather than conventional blushes or bronzers. Here are some from Diane von Furstenberg:

Another, same show:

These were created  with MAC Face & Body Sculpting Creams ($20 each). Although there are a few reviews of these online, there aren’t many so I thought I’d post a few random thoughts. Unlike some reviews you read on Cafe Makeup, this one will seem a little unfinished because I’m still learning. At the bottom at the post are a number of resources that I found helpful.

MAC Sculpting Creams are a cream-to-powder finish, which means that these are creamy in the pot and dry to a powder. The lasting power is quite good, and the texture is very nice. These act like foundations each with distinct undertones, some warm, some cool, one red-based, and one intriguing color called Coffee Walnut (which I don’t have). Like foundation, there are no detectable shimmery bits or glitter in these.  All of the highlight/contour effect is done with color. There are many alternatives to MAC’s Sculpting Creams, so I’m not necessarily recommending that you investigate these–for example, you could likely get a very similar effect by using darker shades of a full-coverage foundation.

As an NC15/20 who runs warm, I tried a few shades:

  • Accentuate is a highlighter color (without any shimmer or shine)
  • Naturally Defined is nearly my skin color. When buffed into my skin, it runs from very subtle to almost invisible. Had I known how close it is to my own skintone, I would have skipped this one.
  • Pure Sculpture is the best “dark contour” shade for my skin tone. It runs very warm. Those with cool skin tones will find this looks quite orange on their skin.
  • Richly Honed is a dark color with a red base. I was hoping to sheer this out, but I’m going to have to mix it with something emollient and clear. When I try to blend it out now, the product still seems too muddy and dark.
  • MAC 163 brush is essentially a foundation brush that’s very stiff. It’s great for placing products on my cheek. I was able to buff out the contours really well with it. However, I understand that some like using the product for placement only, and they buff it out with other brushes. Before this brush arrived, I used my Chanel Foundation Brush, which worked remarkably well.


Here are swatches of these shades:

I’m still playing with these, but I’ve enjoyed the effect that these give. I don’t typically use blush with them, or maybe just a soft pink on the upper cheek. The combination of Accentuate and Pure Sculpture has given me the best effect so far. Having said that, Pure Sculpture is quite warm even on my golden-toned skin.  Pure Sculpture is in the same family as  Chanel Bronze Universel in tone and color.

I think that the same effect can be achieved using different tones of standard medium-to-full coverage foundations. Given that, I’m not sure you’ll want to invest in these MAC products (which I believe are limited edition). Other products that might be fun to explore are the Hourglass Bronze/Light Duo. Tom Ford has a Shade and Illuminate palette (reviewed here by The Best Things in Beauty) that has gotten rave reviews.

Helpful resources:

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