Kim Kardashian’s Contour Kit is Great (So Long as You Don’t Leave the House)
08.18.17
Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage via Getty Images

The timing of Kim Kardashian’s contour kit seems off. Kim’s the queen of the internet and the queen of contouring, sure, but doesn’t it kind of seem like she’s hanging off the coattails of Kylie Jenner’s itty-bitty sweatshirt on this one? Seems literally so rude. Kylie capitalized on the art of the Instagram-promoted makeup line and is the star of her own E! show in the Keeping Up with the Kardashians slot now. Also, last May, Kim said she was over officially over contouring or, at the very least, was wearing less makeup and looking for a simpler routine.

So why now, Kiki? Are you watching your throne? Do you feel like the person you once were has been voided, that you can’t access her anymore, that you’ll do anything to get her back, including reverting to your younger self?

I get it, girl.

I watched makeup tutorials for pleasure before moving to New York, before Trump, before getting an MFA in freelance beauty writing. So, when Kim posted a video of her new contour sticks in action last month, it felt like seeing a high school acquaintance at a bar in the town I grew up in over Thanksgiving weekend, where the interaction is a little dreaded but there’s an undercurrent of smug glory in knowing I’ve changed and she hasn’t.

Contouring videos are mostly the same as they were in 2013. I suffered through 33 minutes of this Kim and PatrickStarrr video and thought about nihilism almost exclusively, until the very end, when I thought about Kim’s cheekbones. Remember how this used to be fun? I thought. Then I watched Kim and Mario Dedivanovic’s natural rapport in this video, and thought, Friendship used to be fun, too!

So, out of nostalgia and maybe sadness, I bought one for myself and one for my sister, who was “at her job” during launch and unable to surf the net for Kim’s fine wares. I somehow spent $104.95. Then I thought about overnighting my sister’s kit to her, but the UPS store told me it was $77, so instead I chose 10-day shipping, and still somehow spent $30 on it. I didn’t consult with my financial advisor (my dad), but I’m sure he’s proud of the frugality and common sense he instilled within his children.

What I received, fairly expediently, was a chic taupe-on-taupe-on-taupe plastic bag, which housed the kit. Nice product design! Should I start using this as a going out clutch, as Glossier suggests we do with its culty pink bubble bags? Inside was a double-ended cream (sorry, créme) contour stick in two shades, a double-ended highlight stick in matte and shimmer, and a double-ended brush with a kabuki brush and sponge (a friend of mine has pointed out that it looks exactly like a butt plug).

Briefly: Let’s talk about “kit” rhetoric. Can three pieces be a kit? Can Kylie Lip Kits, which are two pieces, be kits? No. This is insane.

When the kit came, I suddenly got nervous. Ever since I got a formal diagnosis of keratosis pilaris on my cheeks, I’ve been a freak about ingredients. So I panic-researched every ingredient on Beautypedia and, surprisingly, there’s nothing in here that will kill you, not even the common-but-terrifying-sounding “dimethicone.” That’s TWO cones of meth!

Alright, let me get out my HD web cam.

Here’s me without makeup. Though my hair has been washed recently, note that my eyebrows are tattooed onto my face. I look fine.

Here’s me with foundation and mascara on. I’m using Luminous Silk foundation because I know Kim likes it and Well People mascara, since I’m allergic to all mascara but allergic to this mascara the least. Would also love to note it is 7 a.m. on a Sunday at the time of writing.

And now, it’s time for the kit. Mario and Kim swear that this kit is all you need, and I followed their exact instructions in the aforementioned collaborative video, because it’s the least annoying of all the videos.

Mario recommends you start with the lighter end of the contour sticks and draw slashes down your cheekbones and forehead.

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Then, with the brush side, blend in small circular motions. Now might be a good time for me to remind everyone I’m generally pretty bad at doing makeup and barely wear it — not because I don’t need it, but because it usually ends up looking melted within two hours of application and I’d rather just have people see my hyper-pigmentation and mouth pimples at that point.

I also don’t know why I’m cradling my head in this fashion. This was hard for me.

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The sticks are creamier than they are waxy, which allows them to blend pretty easily, but they’re not silken. I can feel them on top of my skin like a slick of hardened bacon drippings. I’d compare their consistency to the Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour, which I own and use maybe once every month for the same reason. Though I love That Wet Look, I usually contour with powder kits because they blend better. My current favorite is the Lune + Aster Sunset Bronzer and Blush for light contouring because you don’t need to rub for 30 minutes trying to get it to blend. I also use RMS Living Luminizer if I feel I need a shimmer and have been living (“living”) for this RMS Signature Set in Mod lately. So cute! So glossy!

Mario says to, “Use the leftover from the brush to contour the nose to make it look natural,” but I found that very little of the leftover color from the brush transferred onto my nose. Also, my nose is fairly squat, so I find it almost impossible to contour in those straight parallel lines as he wants me to. Afterward, I looked the same.

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Mario says “the girls” love a monochrome look, so to apply that same contour color to the eyelids.

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Then he says to apply the shimmer highlights to all your pointy points to make them even pointier. Go for broke with a triangle-shaped face!

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Here’s a fun one! Use the contour stick under your lower lash line for a dark eye look, says Mario. Luckily, I come from a long line of women with prominent brow bones and dark shadows, so this was an enhancement for me rather than a trick.

This is where I started to panic. I wasn’t getting sexier, just grayer.

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And then when Mario told me to use the lighter contour on my lips, things got haunted.

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And there it is, I look exactly like Kim!

I would offer love and respect and blessings to Kim (who makes a lot of mistakes but seems to be open-minded about learning more and doing better) for making the color range fairly inclusive — three shades is better than one, I guess — but this didn’t work for my hot pink skin tone.

I’m getting a new license photo taken tomorrow and I was going to contour as a small joke to myself, but I fear I’d come out looking like I’m a misshapen rolled oat in my photo instead of a licensed driver in the state of New York.

By the time I finished KKW contouring, it was 7:12 a.m. on Sunday, and I was an all-dolled-up Weimaraner with nowhere to go. I lounged around my apartment eating eggs and trying to swallow big omega-3 pills for three hours in full contour, and I would argue that this is the exact purpose of the KKW Creme Contour Kit: Comedy contouring and highlighting for people who basically only apply makeup as a joke to themselves and to their Instagram followers.

This is not the kit for the girl about town, but if you’re looking for a $48 celebrity contour kit with cheap plastic handles that manages to flatten your face more than it was before, I suppose KKW Beauty isn’t a bad choice. It’s the kit for the girl in bed who wants to be like Kim (“rich”) without all the work of putting yourself out into this big, hellish world.

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  • Joana

    Loved the Weimaraner thing you did there

  • Halina

    The final lewk is what I imagine KKW would look like as a ghost, which I appreciate as a potential Halloween costume.

  • Hayley

    Brilliant.

  • Rachel

    I rarely wear foundation because it’s hard to find a good shade and I hate the feeling of makeup on my face since I get paranoid the whole day that I’m going to break out. So the idea of contouring to me is crazy unless it’s just for fun. I could never put that much time and effort into a daily makeup routine, let alone that much product!

    • Olivia Lauren Hawk Moore

      you should check out Jane Iredale’s make up! they have a full line and I SWEAR by the amazing base mineral powder. I skip foundation because I don’t like to feel cake on my face, and this powder covers it in ways that no other powder has. Plus, its formulated for rosacea and acne prone skin, so I can literally sleep in it without my face breaking out or getting any pinker.

    • ValiantlyVarnished

      Contouring for everyday regular people is actually pretty simple. I use contour on some days and I simply contour my cheeks. I use a $4.99 powder contour kit from Wet N’ Wild and it’s amazing. Takes less than 10 seconds to use blends wonderfully and it doesn’t look like your face has been chiseled like a piece of rock.

      • Lil

        I use this Wet n Wild kit too! A lot of beauty bloggers reccommend it for beginners and it used to just be $2.99 in my area before the hype. I use it more as a setting powder though, aka lighter foundation where I want highlight and darker for contour. Then Wet n Wild on top to set.

    • Just a friendly PSA: Nars Skin Tint with SPF 30 is my new fave. I too break out at everything. I also have awful skin that is super pink and then sometimes patchy and then sometimes oily, so anything I’ve ever used either makes my skin look an unnatural color or accentuates my patchy parts. Not this NARS skin tint. It actually goes on like foundation but it doesn’t feel gross on my face, doesn’t need powder to set and stay in place, doesn’t make me look like I have pancake face, and you know, that SPF thing is nice because I have so many steps in my skincare serum-wise these days that saving me a step is important. Also, I literally put it on Mon-Sat, 7a-late hours in the evening and I’ve never broken out.

  • So frickin good

  • Mellisa Scarlett

    This was amazing. lol

  • theysayshycity

    More Claire please, this is everything I’ve wanted from a makeup tutorial.

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    She doesn’t offer free shipping for spending a certain amount of $? Girl, bye. Even tiny little indie brands offer free shipping when you spend x amount of dollars. That’s cray. Not to mention that the product itself is overpriced crap. I live on YouTube (and tea) and have seen some hilarious reviews of these. And the general consensus is: 1. Kim is about two years behind the curve on this. and 2. the product is overpriced while the quality is mediocre.

    • Bmo

      I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS. Also why I hate shopping at anthropologie even though some of their clothes are cute. Their shipping costs actually get HIGHER as you spend more money!

    • Willa Konefał Davis

      Kim really is behind the curve on this, which is so surprising.

      • ValiantlyVarnished

        She was the QUEEN of contouring. She could have capitalized on it when it was so strongly associated with her. And before Kylie’s company blew up. Right now anything makeup related that she does just seems redundant.

        • Willa Konefał Davis

          Yes, and her era of being the “queen of contouring” feels so long ago, simply because of the recent makeup boom thanks to Instagram and YouTube. There are sooo many makeup gurus. Who looks at Kim for makeup inspo anymore? Not that she shouldn’t have made the kit, but beauty is moving very fast these days.

          She was an early adopter of social media as a focus group, so I’m curious about the lag.

  • Abby

    Holllyyyyy cow, so shiny! That would drive me insane, do not want.

  • Anna

    Quality aside, $48 is expensive for a newly-launched brand that sells a ‘kit’ consisting of 3 items. Unless it gives amazing results, i’ll pass.

    xo,
    Anna
    http://indiekd.blogspot.com/

  • grace

    can we talk about your “doomed by charm” panda poster in the background?

  • Britt

    So well said! I totally agree.

  • Emily

    You are very funny.

  • mapillski

    This is the most relatable tutorial ever. As much as I dislike my red face sans foundation, I prefer it to the Marie Antoinette look I usually get when I use contour kits.

  • Beatrice

    I’m dying. This is my favorite beauty review ever.

  • I was screaming by the end hahahahah you are damn hilarious!

  • Jane

    You had me at “that’s TWO cones of meth!”

  • Pterodactyl111

    Well I’m sold.

  • Lily

    Reading this at work and it’s too hard to not giggle uncontrollably. Great job, Claire!

  • starryhye

    OMG, dying! “I was going to contour as a small joke to myself, but I fear I’d come out looking like I’m a misshapen rolled oat in my photo instead of a licensed driver in the state of New York.” LOL

  • I too have hot pink skin tone. I hear ya.

  • Grace {littlebitofglow}

    This was hilarious. Well done! It’s true, you did end up looking more gray. Oh, man. lol. You looked better before the contouring sticks came out.

  • SE

    i love this and ESPECIALLY LOVE AND HOPE THAT IS AN EILEEN FISHER SHELL AFTER YOUR ARTICLE MADE ME GO BUY EVERYTHING EILEEN FISHER. 🙂

  • Christiana Jones

    Damn you look rough, but you know Kim does sometimes too. Kinda like old bacon or pickled pigs feetish. Idk just rough…

    • Sliceo’pie

      Why don’t you post a pic of yourself honey-especially at 7 am on Sunday. Easy to sit back from the safety of your crummy apartment or parents house and criticize.

  • Lauren

    This is AMAZING

  • sleepingonsnow

    Yo! Vitamin A cleared my kp after years of trying a bunch of stuff and nearly giving up

    • Lindsey

      Whoa, wait, how? As a pill, or did you get a cream of some kind? I have it on my arms and it is not beach chic.

      • sleepingonsnow

        I just take it as a pill. How’s your scalp? That’s another sign of a vitamin a deficiency – if it’s flaky. Vitamin A promotes skin cell turnover. So like how physical exfoliation helps with kp, this keeps the skin from building up in the first place.

        Depending on your diet, you should be able to get an adequate amount of vitamin a from food. It primarily comes from animal products. Although if you have compromised digestion, it might not be possible for you to process the nutrients out of the food. In general though, vitamin A, K, and D are all connected to each other. If you’re deficient in one, it’s likely that the others have something funky going on.

        If you’re nervous about it, or just curious, you can have your doctor run bloodwork to measure your levels. If you go that route, I would recommend getting your k and d checked as well.

        #notadoctor

        • Lindsey

          This is very helpful and interesting information! I was taking Vitamin A for a while, and just stopped. I’ll have to start that up again and see where it goes. Thanks!

    • this is great to kno! I’ve been on Tretinoin for about a month and it’s great. But my question is, where do I find Vitamin A pills?

  • Alexia Mickens

    Wow! Yeah I wasn’t going to try it anyway but definitely seems kinda like she’s riding her sisters coat. Very copycat.

    // stronger together
    born bred BE – a blog by Alexia

  • Jennifer

    Sorry but you look like a corpse! You are beautiful without all that grey, muting makeup. Thanks for doing the dirty work for the rest of us!

  • Thamsa

    This past weekend, while waiting for a friend, I decided to get a free contouring lesson at Sephora. The was my first contouring experience and I usually don’t wear makeup besides concealer under the eyes on my tired days. I didn’t like the results, I am a medium caramel skin tone and the make up she put on me looked super grey! My brother asked me later why my face was so shiny (LOL). I couldn’t even imagine spending any money on this! Sorry it didnt work out for you

  • “That’s TWO cones of meth!”

    Dying! Love it Claire

  • Lierjo

    Can you please do a Fenty beauty review?