If there's one thing I've learnt in my past year of makeup exploration, it's that (for pale girls especially) a bronzer is not the best choice of product to use to contour. A bronzer serves to give warmth and glow to the face - so will typically lean a little on the orange side and contain iridescent particles - not contouring material at all. The ideal contouring powder should be a few shades darker than your natural colouring, and present a matte, slightly grey-toned finish. I'd previously settled with Benefit's Hoola bronzer - a shade which (when applied very lightly) was a close enough match to my complexion, but did cause me to break out on my cheeks.
Despite the name, Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze & Glow is essentially a contouring kit with bronzing capabilities. I was initially sceptical at the idea of a 'one shade suits all' product - especially as I am super pale and have previously struggled to find a contouring powder which really works for my colouring. However, my previous experience with Charlotte Tilbury's products has taught me that if anything, the lady knows her stuff (and must have put a serious amount of work into perfecting her makeup range because they really work). I love that the range is the result of Charlotte's years of experience within the beauty industry and that she's clearly pulled together the best features of her favourite products in order to compile that one perfect item - all boxes ticked (which is especially evident in Bronze & Glow).
The sculpt shade is a perfectly matte grey-toned powder, which has almost a little pink to it and is neither too orange nor too muddy. Upon initial glance it does appear ominously dark in the palette, but it is actually much less pigmented upon application. A light dusting into the hollows of the cheeks, over the temples, and along the jawline provides the subtlest 'barely there' shadow - which for those with darker skintones could easily be built up to a stronger colour. I've used and struggled with many a contour powder before, but this really is foolproof. Providing you use an appropriate brush (I use the Real Techniques Contour Brush), and don't go in too heavy-handed, even a novice to contouring would be hard-pressed to mess up.
The highlight shade is actually less of a highlighter and more of a candlelit glow in powder form. A warm golden-toned shade, this provides in seconds what a week on a Caribbean island could take weeks to perfect. A soft, healthy glow which gives a lit from within radiance and an instant boost of life to even the most wan, winter-worn complexions (trust me, I have one). So long January blues, indeed.
If you're trying to justify the price-tag, then allow me... This really is something of a 4-in-1 product. Aside from its A+++ sculpting and highlighting abilities, the shades also make for an ideal impromptu eyeshadow duo (can't you tell I'm a neutrals gal??), and for those who do like their bronzer, a large bronzing brush dusted across the entire palette provides an all-over sun-kissed glow. Essentially, if you're serious about your makeup and really will stop at nothing to find the perfect contour shade then this will save you a lot of time/money in the long run.
If you've previously been attempting to contour with a bronzing brush and a powder which looks and smells like a chocolate bar then here's the real deal. The foolproof step to contouring finesse.
What are your thoughts on Bronze & Glow?