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 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.
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.
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.
Mario says “the girls” love a monochrome look, so to apply that same contour color to the eyelids.
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!
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.
And then when Mario told me to use the lighter contour on my lips, things got haunted.
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.