Contour Like a Pro with James Cooper Compact Powder Cream Foundation

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james cooper cream foundationjames cooper cream foundation

Cheekbones, please!

I’ve hit major pan on my beloved NARS Laguna that I’ve been loyal to for how many years and counting. It’s the only product in my stash that I use to contour, nothing else. While I’d repurchase it in a heartbeat, I had an urge to try something new – particularly a cream formula that I felt would look more natural as compared to a powder one. So imagine my delight when I saw the the new NARS Matte Multiples that came in shades that looked perfect for contouring! However, upon reading reviews regarding it, my excitement kinda died down. Also, they aren’t out here in the Philippines till next month which further killed the anticipation. I didn’t want to order online blindly because I wanted to test which among the three possible contour shades would best suit me. So I dragged my ass off to the local beauty sections instead and hunted down a cream contour product to test out. jcooper5james cooper cream foundationjcooper4

The Lowdown

James Cooper Compact Powder Foundation Cream is a weird name – so are you a cream or a powder? Anyway, a short background – James Cooper is a Filipino makeup artist who (I didn’t know before now!) worked in Hollywood during the 80s and catered to stars like Farrah Fawcett, Victoria Principal, Barbara Carerra, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Maude Addams. He left the Hollywood lights to return to the Philippines in the mid-1980s which was when his makeup line was born. On to the product – this cream foundation is very thick and slightly heavy. I personally wouldn’t prefer to use this for my whole face on a daily basis. I do see why professional makeup artists would love this on their clients, though, because it’s a heavy duty foundation and covers up well when blended and applied properly.

Texture and Consistency

That said, the cream is slightly tacky and a tiny bit too sticky for my preference which makes blending much more laborious than I would like. My fusses aside, the shade I got is CP-FC01 which I believe is the darkest and I find it terrific as a contour shade. It is not at all orange (despite the photos below, it was just really sunny when I took them and I can’t color-correct for shit). It’s more of a taupe chocolate brown. I find that this oils up quite a bit (though not as much as I expected) at the 4-hour mark (sans primer or powder). So, I make sure to set this with loose powder after application to delay them oilies as much as possible. My only other gripe really is blendability. It’s really a pain to blend out because it’s not a smooth cream like how most blushes are formulated. It’s a bit drier and stiffer, so I use a dense synthetic brush like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush or Expert Face Brush to blend this one out.
james cooper cream foundation

Not totally blended on the right (your left) side to show intensity.


First thing I learned from this is that it’s pretty hard to come by a cream contour product in the local market that comes in this shade or any other dark shade, for that matter. I’ve been to both the SM and Landmark beauty sections and spent a good two and a half hour going from counter to counter to look for one. Most local foundation shades go only up to MAC NC40 and are still probably too light for most morenas in the country. Also, there is just no cream contour product in other brands! WHY. There are some that carry powders but are too light to even be called a contour shade, they’re more like warm-up shades. I think we can attribute this to the fact that most Filipinas are still hesitant to contour because it tends to ‘darkens the face’ and in a country where “white” skin is celebrated, I can see why most brands (international and local) aren’t bringing in the darker shades of their lines. Even those who are dark and tan insist on getting a foundation shade lighter than their natural skintones because of this skin whitening phenomenon in the country (we were under colonial rule for decades and were criticized for being dark-skinned, so I get where this insecurity developed). Anyway, as a final note, I am loving James Cooper Compact Powder Cream Foundation (can the name be any longer?) for my contouring needs. It comes off much “natural-looking” than powder and performs well despite the minor blending issue (buffing is key!). As mentioned above, it’s hard to come by a cream contour product in the market so I commend James Cooper for bringing in this product and making it available for Filipinas locally.
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  1. April 22, 2014 / 10:40 am

    I thought it will look like mud but with your blending skills, it looked good! asdfhjashdfshd you already!

    • April 23, 2014 / 1:31 pm

      To be fair – it didn’t look as appealing talaga in pan or in my arm swatch when I tried it in counter. I just told myself I’ll have to make it work on the face or else sayang, haha! Thanks Elle!!

  2. April 22, 2014 / 11:30 am

    Sorry but I thought it looked horrible on the swatch (next to Laguna). It looked kind of poopy and I didn’t think it could blend out believably. BUT!!! It’s so awesome when blended out pala! Whereas Laguna is a bronzier, brighter kind of contour, JC looks like an honest-to-goodness real shadow that would fall upon your face. Teach me how to contour huhu.

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:00 am

      Super poopish noh? Haha. I thought of that too when I first swatched it. Tapos the texture pa, medyo icky (esp on the tester!). I told myself nalang… GIRL, TRUST. And Tellie, your face is naturally well-contoured so minor contouring lang, keri na. I’m not an expert on this TBH as I’m still learning… we can learn together? 🙂

      • April 24, 2014 / 11:14 am

        Shapewise I’m already pointy, but I want to create cheekbones ’cause I think my face looks kinda flat! When learning, which is easier to work with: cream or powder?

  3. April 22, 2014 / 12:09 pm

    Ganda! I got a darker cream foundation for contouring, meron palang OK dito! Haha

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:01 am

      Which cream foundation is this, Carinz? And yah, this one has a tricky texture pero workable naman!

      • April 27, 2014 / 10:57 pm

        Illamasqua! They had a DC sale yata for some of the shades so it came to around £5 or something lang~

  4. Toni Elarmo
    April 22, 2014 / 12:20 pm

    I’ll say it again.. I die for your cheekbones!

    The packaging somewhat looks like the old packaging of the Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder (which I’ve been dying to try)! I’m glad that this has some sort of grey in it, which mimics shadows. I need to get one to practice my contouring skills, and well, it just might save me lots of money! Well at least until I can hold off buying the Kevyn Aucoin one. May I know how much is this? 🙂

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:03 am

      Now you know the secret to my faux cheekbones, Tonitones. Haha!

      Agree – I thought of Kevyn Aucoin’s packaging too when I first saw this. And agree again, the grey tones in this nails the shadowy contour we all want to achieve. This is Php799 for 12 whole grams!! Kevyn Aucoin only has 3.1 grams!

  5. Raven Ang
    April 22, 2014 / 1:13 pm

    Kuhang kuha ang subtle contouring! From the swatch, it looks like the James Cooper foundation is more taupe. It looks sort of grey-ish/purple-y. What lip color do you have on? 🙂

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:04 am

      Taupe/grey indeed which is why ahluvet!! The lip color is Orgeuil blotted 😉

  6. April 22, 2014 / 2:57 pm

    It looks good on you! I’ve never been inclined to try contouring before but now I’m a bit more interested!

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:08 am

      It’s fun~ hehe! Let me know how it goes for you when you do try it out.

  7. April 22, 2014 / 4:21 pm

    Hey Shari, now this is a pretty good contouring shade! I think “white” skin is celebrated pretty much all over Asia. Taiwan was never under Caucasian rule for long, but still we have that. I have problems explaining the concept of contouring and bronzing to the SAs there, and they constantly choose a paler and pinker foundation shade for me (the horror). Although I think people here have a different problem. I’ve been told that they tend to choose a darker foundation here. I guess people just want what they don’t have!

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:16 am

      Same here re: SAs recommending shades! I get so furious when I already know my shade but they tell me that ‘it’s too dark’ for me 😐 Don’t even get me started on one that I just walked away from because she kept on insisting.

      Regarding the “white” skin phenomenon, I agree though – it’s all over Asia! Upsetting is an understatement – I mean, we even have a feminine wash here that claims to whiten the external genitalia 😐 😐 😐

      • April 24, 2014 / 2:15 am

        Haha I know. Or deodorants that are supposed to whiten your armpits :p I guess if you slap “whitening” on anything, it’ll sell in Asia!

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:17 am

      Yes — because I’m round faced, I actually need some major contouring! Heehee

  8. April 22, 2014 / 8:48 pm

    Ooohh interesting I’ve never heard about James Cooper before! Love that you include tidbits of the brands’ history. 🙂

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:18 am

      I am a sucker for brand history talaga 🙂 James Cooper has been here for a long time na actually – shame that I’ve only tried them now!

  9. April 22, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    That’s seriously awesome that this line has such deep shades of foundation! I totally agree how ironic it is that you almost will never find tanner medium to deep shades of foundation in a lot of popular asian make up brands. Very hard. And the fact is half of us are very tan or golden brown or brown! That shade definitely works perfectly as a deep contour shade and you’ve worked it in very well! It’s a great cool tone contour on you!

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:26 am

      It’s really an Asian thing – always preferring lighter shades of foundation even if it’s not at all your color (or even undertone!!). I wish brands would still bring in darker shades despite this fact, though 🙁 I can imagine those who are a bit tanner finding it difficult to get shade-matched to some Asian brands.

  10. April 23, 2014 / 1:02 am

    this look like it works perfectly for you. i’m such a noob at contouring and at using cream products. this sort of scares me lol. i just need to practice!!

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:27 am

      It’s not scary, I promise! 🙂 LOL! I once was a total n00b too not knowing where to place it and how intense, I ended up ‘contouring’ my whole face aka made it foundation – now I’m just a half-n00b! 🙂

  11. April 23, 2014 / 1:02 am

    That’s a nice shade and affordable pa! I watched a YT video of whatwouldlizzydo, and based from her MAC training, they used MAC Paint Pot in Quite Natural for contour. Pricey nga lang yung MAC, pero konti lang naman yung gagamitin for contour. 🙂

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:29 am

      MAC Pro actually has this Sculpting Cream I was eyeing but didn’t pursue as it’s not easily accessible. And wow, I didn’t know a paint pot could actually be used to contour … that’s a great tip! Thanks Juvy! Soft Ochre is my cant-be-without base for eyeshadow looks! I can live without primer, but not without Soft Ochre. Love them paint pots!

  12. April 23, 2014 / 7:38 am

    parang ang hirap magblend kng cream ;( but the outcome look so great on you 😉 ive hit pan with the nars laguna too but same as u i wanted to try something new din….( although nars will still be my #besteverbronzer) ive tried the bronzer from naked flushed palette its good naman but i wanted somewhat more intense like this one kaso sana pressed powder cya 😉

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:31 am

      Actually, some creams are easy naman to blend out 🙂 There are those that are heavy in silicones so super effortless to blend. This one isn’t one of those, it needs some effort to buff out and perfect but once blended, super nice ng finish plus longer-lasting. Laguna didn’t last long on me, it fades easily. Also, when using powder, mas halata yung ‘contour’ job as compared to when it’s a cream, you can blend it with foundation so it looks seamless 🙂

  13. April 23, 2014 / 9:55 am

    This looks like something I would get but I just bought something :S

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:31 am

      WHAT DID YOU BUY!! Dessert, please! hehe

      • April 24, 2014 / 3:39 pm

        Something from kevyn aucoin. Surprise! I’ll try to write about it soon.

  14. April 24, 2014 / 12:56 am

    Cielo, it’s 799! 🙂

  15. April 24, 2014 / 1:18 am

    The brand has some good products in their line – I’m actually open to exploring more 🙂 Curious to find out your thoughts when you do get to try them! And hello Steph – nice hearing from you!!

  16. April 24, 2014 / 8:51 pm

    Bakit ang ganda ng pagkaka contour mo gurl. Huhu! Anyway, I checked out the James Cooper counter when I was at SM yesterday, but I didn’t see any cream foundations. Swatch ko sana. Oh well.

  17. Michelle
    April 25, 2014 / 11:34 am

    That’s a great find! and as always an excellent detailed review! 😀
    Like Philippines, Singapore has the whole white skin mentality too! preferring a fair face over some well sculpted cheekbones!
    I guess different strokes for different folks babe!

  18. April 25, 2014 / 12:06 pm

    I have yet to try a cream for contouring, but now I want to! I hope the lighter shade will suit me…

  19. April 25, 2014 / 3:38 pm

    Girl it looks so good on you! I’m too lazy to get something that can be a little hard to blend. But I’ll try to swatch this one the next time I see it.

  20. April 26, 2014 / 10:59 pm

    Ang ganda, Te Shari!!!! <3 I've never tried cream contours before kasi I was always scared of not being able to blend it out. You make it look so effortless! Hay! <3

  21. Diane Gonzales
    April 27, 2014 / 9:50 pm

    You have to try the RCMA contour and highlight palette. 🙂 it’s cream pero you dont have to make super effort to blend. Have heard lots of great things about it and well deserved naman. Got it from digital traincase. 🙂

  22. April 28, 2014 / 12:30 am

    Tried to contour using cream fondies, I looked really weird. Need more practice. But I like Jame Cooper’s cream foundation. I have it and I used to use it almost everyday. But it gives me a really bad whitecast. -____-

  23. nicole Paler
    August 9, 2014 / 4:23 pm

    how do you actually blend cream foundation? maybe a tutorial would be nice on how you do it.. 🙂


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