Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo Review & Swatches

When you combine “Tom Ford“, “cheek/blush“, “palette“, and “limited edition” together, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop me from buying the product! I knew before I even saw swatches that I would grab at least one of the two Contouring Cheek Color Duos as soon as they become available. There is so much hype around it and I am glad I was able to grab one, but am I thoroughly happy with the product now that I have had some time to play with it? My review may surprise you! :)

Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo

Newly released as part of the Tom Ford Fall 2014 Collection is the Contouring Cheek Color Duo which is basically a palette with a highlighting (top half) and contouring (bottom half) powder. The presentation has the same arrangement as the Shade & Illuminate palette. The outer packaging has a signature Tom Ford style — dark mahogany casing with a reflective gold bar on the front. There is a mirror inside and the top lid opens and closes with a magnetic force. There are no brush applicators included but a suede protective pouch is provided to keep the palette scratch-free during travel and storage.

Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo

There are 2 color options for the Contouring Cheek Color Duo: Softcore and Stroked.

Softcore is a darker option containing a deep berry contouring powder and a pinkish highlighter.

Stroked (the one I’m reviewing today) is a lighter option containing a medium brown-based burnt orange contouring powder and a peachy champagne highlighter.

Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo


Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo; L: highlighter built up and sheered out; R: contouring powder built up and sheered out
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo; L: highlighter built up and sheered out; R: contouring powder built up and sheered out

Stroked – Highlighter

This is a very beautiful peachy champagne highlighter with a super high-shine, almost frost finish! It actually took me by surprise when I first wore it because, judging from the color in the pan, I was expecting something a little more casual and subtle. Well, there’s nothing subtle about this highlighter at all. I find myself carefully placing it strategically on my cheeks so that it doesn’t emphasize pores and fine lines. With a light hand, you can create some really soft and luminous effect without being too loud. But be cautious for those whose skin is oily as I have a feeling that the high sheen effect from this highlighter will most likely emphasize the oiliness.

Texture-wise, the powder is incredibly finely-milled and very easy to blend. It feels creamy to the touch and basically just glides onto the skin. The staying power is excellent as it lasts well on my skin from morning to evening hours.

Stroked – Contouring powder

Though touted as a contouring shade, I think this is more for sculpting, adding definition, and enhancing the structure of the cheeks rather than creating shadows on the face. The brown-based orange pigment contains some really really fine shimmer (gold), which luckily upon application becomes almost invisible leaving only a touch of soft glow with a satin finish on the cheeks. I actually quite like the effect!

I am fine with the fact that the powder is not matte. I am fine with the fact that it provides (soft) glow. But what I’m not too crazy about is how the color turns up on my skin. I was hoping for a pretty orange seen in the pan but on me, it turns into this burnt brownish orange instead. Together with the super pigmented formula, this is not an easy swipe-and-go color. Just like the highlighter, I find myself being super careful with the amount and place I apply. I have a lot of hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars on my cheeks and if I overapply, it is likely to accentuate those areas.

The contouring powder is also finely-milled and feels smooth to the touch. However, I don’t think it is as easy to blend and sheer out as the highlighter. Since it is so pigmented, I find myself going a little crazy with the blending step to make sure there are no visible hard edges. I also make sure to use a stippling brush to apply and help diffuse the look.

The lasting power is in sync with the highlighter. It lasts well from the morning hour when I apply to late night where I remove my makeup.

Wearing Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Wearing Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo

If I were to be honest, I can’t say I am completely in love with this duo. For me, I’m all about subtle, natural-looking cheeks and I prefer products that are not so pigmented from the get-go. I like being able to build the intensity easily as I please rather than having to be careful with it. It’s just my personal preference.

The highlighter is nice, I can see myself wearing it often, but the contouring powder — not so much. It leans a little too warm for my liking and even when I apply it sheer, it still looks overapplied somehow. I’m just not having an easy time with this shade.

Price-wise, I think this is a good deal (as good as Tom Ford products go) since you are getting two full-sized cheek products in the palette. The Cheek Color alone is already priced at $57 and here for $20 more you get a highlighter, too. I’m actually surprised that they weren’t priced in the $80-90 range.

Have you picked up anything from the Tom Ford Fall Collection? Is Stroked something you’d like to try?


US$77 at NordstromSaks

At Tom Ford counters

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  1. says: Liz

    Oh, I bet they’re $80-90 here in Canada, lol! I was actually looking for it this past weekend but I don’t think it’s here yet. They still had the summer collection testers out – so odd.

    I actually really like the look of that contour shade and think you wear it well, but I have a major thing for burnt terracotta shades. They’re especially nice with a little tan, so maybe bronze up with it and see how that fares?

      1. says: Jaa

        Good idea, Liz! Yeah, that way it wouldn’t look too stark on my skin! :) I think I’ll use the Liquid Summer Bronzer from Giorgio Armani that I’ve been loving this summer as a base to warm up my skin a little. Thanks for the tip! :)

  2. says: Sunny

    Hey Jaa, Stroked looks great on you! Very autumn-y! I think I’ll pass though. I can’t do frosty highlighters, and a strong cheek color isn’t really my thing, either. That’s money saved for other goodies :)

    1. says: Jaa

      Thanks, Sunny! I really don’t mind the highlighter. I actually think it’s quite pretty and you can apply with a light hand to avoid the frost finish. But the contouring powder… it takes some serious skills. LOL.

      Glad to help (you save $$$)! ;D

  3. says: Erin

    I think is a more summer/early fall look for you. It’s a bit too warm for winter and spring I think. I love that you have used a light hand here making it workable. Where I think they will sing is on darker skin tones! Are they eye safe? you might be able to get some more use out of them as shadows.

  4. says: Sylirael

    …Nope, sorry, you get another one of these for that photo of you, {{{{{Jaa}}}}} ;-) You can totally give me one back, but it will be unjustified as my photos/makeup skills are totally un-enviable, LOL! Muahahaha!


    On topic: I like the effect you achieved, and the product itself is very elegant (more of that adult shimmer, eh?), but I know what you mean by the frustration that comes with products that require a lot of work to get a civilised effect. On the one hand, lots of pigmentation means it wil last a long time, but on the other, things that are difficult to blend out are just a stumbling block in one’s morning routine…

    1. says: Jaa

      What are you talking about? Do you remember your latest creation? The blue eye with fish tail liner?! YOU HAVE DA SKILLZ that is totally enviable!!!!! So here we go: {{{{{{{{{{<<>>}}}}}}}}}} <-- mine has the "< >” inside, too!! ;D ;D

      Not quite the adult shimmer on this one. The highlighter is almost frosty. The cheek color has shimmer but much less in quantity than the regular Cheek Colors. It sure takes time to create a “wearable” finish in the a.m.!

  5. says: Grace

    Hi Jaa, what a great price! I bet you we won’t hear this kind of comment on TF products often:) I don’t think I will splurge on this any time soon as I have too many other ‘Jaa recommendations’ on my to buy list Lol x

      1. says: Grace

        Tom Ford blush brush, Love Lust, Dior Healthy Glow, Dior Star, YSL blush and Lorac palette I won’t buy them all but when I am in duty free I certainly will get a few:) If my husband tell me off I will just blame it on you, Lol

  6. says: Carolyn

    Hi Jaa! Thanks so much for this review as always. I just got back from my trip to NY and haven’t had the chance to even unbox the TF Stroked palette yet, and after reading your review, I think this is going right back to the store! Thanks for being honest :). Something that is difficult to work with is an easy pass for me these days, especially at this price point!

    1. says: Jaa

      Oh no don’t send it right back just yet! You have to at least try it once! ;D Who knows, it might work fabulously on you!!! :D I’d also like to read your thoughts on it on your blog!

      How was the trip? I hope you had a great time!

  7. says: Samantha Q

    I totally agree about being able to build up the intensity. The colors are absolutely gorgeous though and TF is pure luxury! xx

          1. says: Samantha Q

            I know!! I’ve been super busy and haven’t really had time to sit down and check out all my favorite blogs haha. Can’t help it sometimes and have to sneak in some time ;)
            I’ve been doing well though! Can’t complain. How about you? xx

            1. says: Jaa

              I’ve been super busy as well! Between my blog and my full-time job I barely have time for myself! Not complaining of course since I love what I’m doing! :D

              Don’t disappear again. Check back to say hello once in a while OK? :D :D

  8. says: Dee

    Hmmm I can see why you don’t like that it’s so pigmented from the get go but honestly it looks so pretty on you Jaa!! Im digging the green eyeliner too:)

  9. says: Lily

    I think this duo works well on you – you look great! I don’t apply highlighters much so I personally won’t be splurging on this one. I also have something against frosty highlighters which I think it just too much for hot and humid weather here. LOL!

    1. says: Jaa

      Oh I understand completely! I think I’d have a hard time wearing this in Thailand, too! My face would look all oily and shiny. ;D

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