| Review | Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in Flicker

| Review | Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in Flicker 

If you have been following for a while or even from the beginning of this year, you will have seen me mention the Moodlight Duo several times in favorite and on my Instagram. This first color-way came put many years ago as a limited edition item and with all popular products in the range, it became a permanent addition. Well, now Tom Ford has decided to expand on this formula with some new shades. This most recent addition is definitely made for deeper skin tones but seems to differ in formula and texture from my beloved Moodlight Duo. Keep reading to find out more.

The Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in Flicker retails for $85.00 USD and is available at Nordstrom and other retailers. This cheek duo is housed in the very classic magnetic cognac and gold compact. It doesn't come with any brushes or applicators, which I don't mind but if you're one of the few people who actually use the included applicator, you may need to steal one from another compact or carry around a travel brush. The compact is sturdy, lightweight, and looks very sophisticated. It's really the contents of the compact that really matter. 


There are now actually three different color-ways in this formula Moodlight, Flicker, and Incandescent. Each of the duos contains, obviously, two tones - a highlight and a cheek shade. I say cheek shade because it isn't necessarily a blush but it can be used to sculpt or contour. The two shades contained in this duo are: 

Highlight - The highlight shade in this duo is a very strong and very true intense gold. Perfect for someone with olive to deep skin. On a medium to fairer skin tone, it will appear very gold. If you like that look, it's perfect for you but I find it a bit harder to wear and more of an editorial look. If I wear this shade as a highlighter, I wear it very sheer, applying it with a fan brush to disperse the color and shimmer. This shade has quite a strong shimmer but the particles are quite fine and can be easily blended into the skin, offering a beautiful glow. This shade can of course also be used on the eyes, which can look stunning on any skin tone. 

Cheek Color - The cheek color in this palette is a very deep cool chocolate brown shade. Like I mentioned in the intro of this review, this duo is really meant for a deep skin tone. A deep skin tone will be able to use this as a beautiful natural contour. On anyone fairer that a deep skin tone, it takes A LOT of work to make this shade work but you can use the tiniest bit as a contour or contour enhancer. This powder is very pigmented and it also has fine micro-shimmers throughout the powder, which are not fine enough to be incorporated into the powder so it makes the powder a bit gritty-looking on the skin. Also,  because the color is so deep, it can make medium to fair skin tones look dirty very easily. Again, like the gold shade, it makes a beautiful eyeshadow color. 

Swatched heavily on the left and a blended swatch on the right


Here is Flicker swatched next to Moodlight. You can see how much more golden the highlighter is in Flicker than in Moodlight. The Moodlight highlighter is more of a white gold shade. The Cheek Color on Moodlight is a very light bronzey rose gold shade, whereas the FLicker Cheek Color is a true deep bronze shade. 


This formula is a baked gel-powder formula and is very similar to the Tom Ford Eye Color Quads in the same formula. While this is an exceptional and often well-loved formula, it can also have it's occasional issues. What I mean by this is the gritty texture. You won't feel it as you swatch the powder but you will notice how it picks up the texture on the skin like crazy! I believe this is because the shimmer particles are a deeper bronze than the powder, so they don't blend into the powder seamlessly and when blended out, they are even more apparent. This is an issue that can be worked around in an eyeshadow by layering more on but for a cheek product, you can't really layer on more to cover up inconsistencies or patchiness. The Cheek Color in this duo is extremely pigmented making it very difficult to pick up the appropriate amount of color for a medium to fair skin tone but then there are the little particles of shimmer that greatly enhance texture. Had they just omitted this, this would actually be a beautiful contour product. Unfortunately, there is this shimmer that doesn't blend well into the skin and seems to enhance every little bit of texture known to the naked eye! I don't even really have pores or texture on my skin but I do have "peach fuzz" and this product can really enhance the peach fuzz! Additionally, because the shade is so deep, it makes my cheeks look dirty very easily! 

I have found some tricks that make the application of the Cheek Color more wearable and easier to work with but it is still not perfect. First of all, let's talk about the best brushes for completing the task. I have found both natural and synthetic fibers to work very well in picking up this soft powder.  

I found that taking a tiny bit on my brush and working the product into the back of my hand helps with removing some of the excess gritty pigment and shimmer, as well as, help evenly distribute the product across the brush. This makes the product apply much more evenly and reduces the chance of patchiness. It also gives you just a minimal amount of product so you can slowly build up and work the product into the skin. It is very easy to go overboard and apply too much product because the product is so pigmented. Once you've applied too much, this very dark chocolate shade is not forgiving! Depending on your complexion, this shade can make you look like you've been rolling around in the dirt. 

I also find putting down a bronzer as a contouring base really helps transition from the deep shade to your skin tone. It makes the contrast not as stark, easing with the transition, and helps making it a smoother application. I don't understand why you put in little bits of mico-shimmer into a shade like this. This is clearly a contour shade, even for a deep skin tone, but with the inclusion of the 1himmers, it makes your skin look textured and horrible! It emphasizes any fine hair and pores you may have. I love the idea of an illuminating contour powder but this one was very poorly made and thought out. You can also mix the contour shade with a bit of bronzer to help with creating a smoother application. 

You can see in the swatches above how the bronze particles pick up on the very fine pores on my arm, making it look very uneven and gritty. 

I found the best way to apply this powder is actually under your foundation. I apply the contour shade heavily onto bare or primed skin. Warning: You will look like poorly done skeleton makeup at first. Then I apply bronzer heavily to blend out the edges of the contour. Finally, I go in with a sheer foundation and starting from the bare areas of my face, I apply the foundation and blend toward and over the bronzer and contour. This actually produces a very natural and beautifully sculpted look! It's subtle but you can definitely see a significant amount of structure and dimension to the face.

In this look, very little of the powder was applied on top of foundation and on top of bronzer.

In this look, the powder was applied heavily underneath foundation with the bronzer also applied heavily underneath. 

As for the highlighter, it actually has a beautifully smooth and shimmering formula. It applies very evenly and can be built up to add a lot of glow. This powder doesn't seem to have the annoying gritty particles of shimmer that the contour shade has. I don't know why they would make them so different. Had the contour shade been the same texture and finish of the highlighter, this duo would be a real winner. 

I have not tested this duo on a deeper skin tone but I would love to because I think this would look beautiful. Also, I think the gritty texture of the contour would not be an issue because, with a deep skin tone, you can really layer this shade on to its full potential and it would not be as patchy looking. The gold highlighter will also flatter a deep skin tone and really brighten a deeper skin tone up. 


I have to first say that this is REALLY not for every skin tone! This was very clearly made for a deeper skin tone and it makes it very difficult for other skin tones to use this product. However, even a deeper skin tone cannot fix the biggest issue, which is the texture of the Cheek Color in this duo. The gritty particles won't look any better on the intended skin tone as it would on another skin tone. They are just in general difficult to work with and cause an emphasis of texture on the skin, as well as adding texture to the skin. This is very unfortunate considering how beautiful this duo would be for a contour for all skin tones, if not for this formulation issue. The color combination is also very much directed toward men and women of color because it would really enhance and add a beautiful glow to this deeper skin tone. I still find it wearable for a medium to tan skin tone but it takes so much work because of how pigmented the shades are. It really isn't worth the effort. If you are looking for a good contour powder, I would stay away from this one and look toward another brand to suit your needs. 

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