If you have never had a Color Tattoo, you should know that they come in little glass pots. You can either stick your fingers right in the products like a finger-painting toddler and/or me, or you can be an adult and use a brush.
The product is cool-toned as fuck and extremely opaque. It almost reads more like a purple-ish gray than a taupe color, although there is definitely some taupe-y brown to be found when you blend it out a little bit. The texture is very firm and dry. It feels almost like you are using slightly-dried out clay as a beauty product.
I divided my review into each of the potential purposes for this product:
Tough as Taupe as Eyeshadow
Given that Maybelline is advertizing this as a part of their "Eyestudio" line, one would imagine that this ought to make a pretty kickass eyeshadow. And... well... it's fine. There's nothing wrong with it. The color is just boring as hell! The good news is that if you like the color, it has excellent pigmentation, it's not unreasonably difficult to blend, and it has very good staying power for a cream eyeshadow.
|Maybelline's Tough as Taupe as Eyeshadow|
Tough as Taupe for Contouring
The next possible function of this product is contouring! There is a serious dearth of acceptable drugstore contouring products. Contouring has exploded in popularity thanks to the internet machine, but most good taupe-y contouring products are mid-range or high-end. As a result, people who are contouring with drugstore products are frequently using bronzer as a contour. The fact is, that is just not the most flattering contour option on most people. Although I do suspect that drugstore brands will "catch up", for the time being, most drugstore buyers are up shit creek without a paddle if they want a natural-looking contour. I was hoping that this product might help fill that gap.
Tough as Taupe is a good level-of-coolness to work as a contour. Unfortunately, it is very dark. (Scroll up, check out that swatch again, and imagine that swiped across your cheek in a big line!) It takes the subtlest hand of all time to get the right amount of product on your face. And, even then, blending is really patchy and tricky. I imagine that women with darker skin than I (medium skin would be preferable) will like this better than I do, but you can make it work on fair skin with a little invested effort. However, no matter what your skintone, it is so difficult to work with that I would not recommend this to anyone who is thinking, "Hm. Contouring. That is something I should try for the first time!". This would probably be best for people who are really experienced with contouring, but can't fit their chosen contour product into their budget anymore.
I don't hate it as a contour. I actually like the final effect, even though I feel that I have to struggle a little to get there. When I travel, I like to use products that don't need brushes (so I can pack less) and that are cheap enough that I don't care if I lose them. This has been the contour product I grabbed on my last few trips out-of-town. It's not a solution to the lack of acceptable drugstore contouring products, but it is definitely something that can work for the right people in the right circumstances.
|Maybelline's Tough as Taupe as a Contour|
Tough as Taupe for Eyebrows
Finally, I frequently hear that this is a great option for filling in light brown eyebrows. For those of you who don't already know, I am a really big fan of cream eyebrow products because I find them really easy to work with. Thus, Tough as Taupe won some extra points for that alone.
Sadly, this didn't work for me at all. Although my skin leans cool, my hair is pretty warm-toned. As a result, Tough as Taupe is too gray; it just reads as "gray eyebrows" when I use it. It fills the brows in nicely and it is easy to use, so if you have very cool-toned hair, it might be a decent choice for you.
Here's how I look with no eyebrow product on:
Here is how I look with Tough as Taupe filling in my brows:
|Maybelline's Tough as Taupe as a Brow Filler|
For me, this product comes close, but is a miss on all three potential uses. I definitely think that there are people who this can work for. If you like the eyeshadow color and/or think that it will go nicely with your other cream eyeshadows, you might want to pick it up as a shadow. If you are medium-toned and experienced in contouring, it might work well as a contour product. And, last but not least, if you have very cool-toned light brown hair, you might like this as an eyebrow product. If you're not one of those people, I think it's less likely that you will find that it suits your purposes. (Still, it is inexpensive enough that for most budgets, it won't be a huge regret, even if you don't love it!)
Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoos retail for $6.99 for 0.14oz, putting them at $49.93 per ounce.