I came across an email in my inbox (where else?) that caught my attention. It was a press release from a brand I’d not come across before and the more I continued to read on, the more intrigued I was. Holly Stevens Cosmetics was founded by an aerospace manufacturing project manager. Not your usual cosmetic start up story and after checking out their website, I was surprised to find that there was a full range of cosmetics, from eyeshadow palettes and lip glosses to mascaras and contouring palettes. If you want to find out more about the Holly Stevens story then there’s plenty on the website.
- 2 x matte highlights
- 1 x shimmer highlight
- 2 x matte contour powders
- 1 x matte bronzer
The biggest disappointment for me were the two contour shades. They are far too warm to create a natural looking shadow which is essentially what contouring is. My favourite contour powders are definitely very cool, grey based browns which mimic the hollows and depths of the face perfectly. The Sculpting Powder from Kevin Aucoin, the shade Sombre from the Kat Von D Shade & Light Contour palette and the contour powder in the Smashbox Step by Step Contour Kit are examples of brands that have nailed it when it comes to achieving that perfect shadow like grey. The two contour shades aren’t totally useless though as they can be used as bronzers to warm up the complexion. The powders are rather soft so does kick up a little so I would advise tapping off the excess before going in with the product onto the skin.
So my overall thoughts on the palette? As mentioned, it’s quite similar to the Anastasia Beverly Hills contour palette where is has 2 matte highlight shades, 1 shimmer highlight, 2 contour powders and 1 bronzer. Unfortunately I’ve not yet tried the ABH offering so I cannot compare the two. I will compare it to other palettes that I’ve tried and that’s the Kat Von D Shade & Light Contour palette and the Smashbox Step by Step Contour Kit. The Holly Stevens Pro Contouring palette, although soft in texture, is nowhere near as soft as the KVD palette. The KVD powders are so soft and lightweight that it glides on the skin super smooth and most importantly, it doesn’t look dry. The HS powders are a little drier in texture, particularly the highlighters, so it sits visibly on the skin causing the skin to look dry even when it isn’t, and dry skin has never been a good look. Another thing with the HS Pro Contouring palette is that it lacks the longevity of the higher end palettes. Both the KVD and the Smashbox palettes will pretty much last most the day on the skin whereas I noticed that every time I used the HS palette, it will start to fade (and rather patchily too) after only a few hours. So although the powders are high in pigment, the lasting power is not quite there (even when set with a setting spray). My main issue with the palette, however, are the contouring powders. Personally, for me, they are far too warm to sculpt the face naturally and therefore they would serve well as bronzers, but not for contouring.
high quality designer makeup without the designer price tag.