Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Saboteur, Impulse and Sublimate… review & dupes!

March 18, 2017

I’ve been wanting to get this review out to you for a long time , but time has been a real scarce resource lately.  With all the hype surrounding new lip offerings from the Summer 2017 Soleil Collection that has launched elsewhere in the world, I started having some doubts about the usefulness of another post on these Shade & Illuminate offerings from Tom Ford’s Spring 2017 Collection.  I had already swatched & provided my impressions on the entire collection last month, if you missed it, head on over here to check it out.  Judging from the responses to my posts, it seems that the most popular pieces from the collection are Saboteur, Impulse & Sublimate… and so I thought it might be interesting to show you a few different ways to wear them, and some potential dupes!

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Impulse & Sublimate

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Lips are a novel concept for lip colors, they consist of 2 complementary lip pigments housed in a slim palette the same size as their brow and cheek palettes.  Out of all the lip pigments that I’ve tried this season, Tom Ford’s version is the creamiest and most comfortable to wear, and does not leave my lips feeling parched and stripped at the end of the day.  The shades are chosen specifically to create an ombre lip, and could be worn either with the darker shade on the outside and lighter shade in the center; or the other way around.  One gives the impression of fuller lips whilst the latter creates the illusion of a smaller cherry pout.  Of course, you can choose to wear the shades on their own or blended together for a 3rd color.  So each palette is not only a single lipstick, but gives you the freedom to create 5 different looks!

Tom Ford Shade Illuminate Lips Impulse & Saboteur

When I first started looking at these Shade & Illuminate lips, I didn’t think I’d fall in love with Impulse as hard as I did.  Saboteur was the one that I knew straight off the bat that I’d get, and when I first applied it on my lips I just knew it was the one for me.  But on a day-to-day basis, I found Impulse to be the one that I’d reach for.  Even when I was dressing up recently for a formal dinner, I instinctively went for Impulse over all the multitude of offerings that I had on hand.

Some lip swatches of Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Lips in Impulse:

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Impulse lip swatches

  1. Left shade of Impulse worn all over lip
  2. Right shade of Impulse worn all over lip
  3. Left shade of Impulse all over lip + right shade layered in center of lip

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Cheeks Sublimate & Lips Impulse

Here is the full makeup look featuring Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Lips in Impulse, worn in a 4th way, i.e. right shade of Impulse all over lip followed by the left shade layered on in the center.  Because my lip area is rather small, I often feel ombre coloration does not show up quite so well in pictures.  Also partly because the hues in Impulse are so similar in tone and intensity, layering them in the center does not create quite as distinct a look.  I’m also wearing Shade & Illuminate Cheeks in Sublimate, and Tom Ford Cream & Powder Eye Color in Black Oyster.

Given how many Tom Ford lipsticks I’ve accumulated over the years, I thought I’d run through my stash to see if there are any dupes.

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Impulse left swatch comparisons

I don’t typically collect nudes and so I struggled a little to find a dupe for the left side shade of Impulse.  It belongs to the pinky nude family, but is not quite so pink and instead looks rather beige in the pan.  The closest I own is First Time (reviewed here) which is part of the Lip Color Matte range, but it contains a bit more brown than Impulse.  Frivolous (reviewed here) comes very close in terms of color, but it is a Lip Color Shine that seems to have been discontinued.

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Impulse right swatch comparisons

The shade on the right of Impulse is a dark reddened brown, and I was pleased to find it is a spot on match for Show It Off [reviewed here].  The latter is a limited edition offering from Fall 2016, but is still available online.

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Sabouteur lip swatches

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Lips in Saboteur is a crowd favourite and used on this season’s campaign photos because of its alluring and brightening hues.  The swatches above are done in the following order:

  1. Left shade of Saboteur worn all over lip
  2. Right shade of Saboteur worn all over lip
  3. Right shade of Saboteur worn all over lip + left shade layered in the center
  4. Left shade of Saboteur worn all over lip + right shade layered in the center

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Cheeks Sublimate & Lips Sabouteur

Whichever way you choose to wear Saboteur, it is an edgy selection and bound to stand out.  In the makeup look above, I had worn it in the style #3 shown in the lip swatches above, with the darker shade forming the all over base and the lighter in the middle.  The same Shade & Illuminate Cheek in Sublimate on cheeks… more on that later.

On to some comparison swatches for Saboteur!

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Sabouteur left shade comparison swatches

I was surprised to find how many dupes I had for both shades of Saboteur.  I don’t typically set out to pick up such a bright shade of fuchsia, and I reckon we don’t see many luxury brands turning out this many fuchsia lipsticks.  Every one of the dupes I have here are limited edition – Francesco, Logan and Kingston are all from the Lips & Boys collections over the years (reviewed here, here, and here); whereas I’ll Teach You is another of the Lip Contour Duos from Fall 2016 (here).  Regardless, I think Saboteur left has much more blue in its base than any of the others shown here.

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Sabouteur right shade comparison swatches

The right side shade of Saboteur is a little more unique as it is a dark plum that also has some warm tints in the base without pulling too red.  It is in essence a perfect marriage between Nicholas and Black Orchid, the latter is limited edition of course and notoriously difficult to get hold of until it was recently relaunched as part of the Orchid Collection.  Nicholas is part of the current Lips and Boys offerings so you may want to check it out.

Tom Ford Shade Illuminate Cheeks Sublimate

Lastly, I wanted to give you another look at Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Cheeks in Sublimate.  Having used this for a good part of the last 3 weeks, I have to say that the blush shade is much more pigmented than I had initially expected.  It has quite a bit of slip to it, so it tends to sheer out too much when swatched with a finger.  However, when applied with a dense and firm brush like the Tom Ford Cream Foundation brush 02, the color shows up easily and blends beautifully into the skin as you have already seen in the 2 full-faced makeup looks above.  It has decent longevity, lasting about 8 hours on me before fading gently.  But I do live in a more humid & hot climate, and my foundation tends to oxidize, so if you don’t typically have those issues to deal with you may experience better longevity.

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Sublimate blush shade comparison swatches

I don’t have many blushes of this hue, and both Ravish and Softcore are quite different as you can see from the swatch comparison above.  I think the closest shade from the Tom Ford family would be the new Cheek Color in Gratuitous that was recently released [swatched here] although I feel Sublimate is warmer.

I hope you had enjoyed this long post, and found the various dupe comparisons useful.  The point of it all is of course if you already have a substantial Tom Ford collection and are still on the fence about these new offerings, you may be gratified to find you perhaps already own something similar.  On the other hand, if you missed out on some of the limited editions mentioned in this post, this may be your chance at redemption.  Whichever way you look at it, it has been fun for me to run through my own stash!  Have a happy weekend!

xo Linda

This post featured products that had been generously provided for my consideration.  Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest unbiased views.

11 responses to “Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Saboteur, Impulse and Sublimate… review & dupes!”

  1. Lyna says:

    Both look gorgeous on you! But Saboteur is my fave! I m not really a nudist.. 😂
    Can’t wait for TF soleil to be released here, my wishlist is.. LONG!!

  2. Kédidja says:

    Oh my gosh !!! Need to splurge in TF makeup soon ! Love so much both of your look ! Thanks for sharing 😉 Have a great week !

    Kédidja ~

  3. Alison says:

    Fun post. I knew you would at some point do a blog with Saboteur. And have been awaiting. Love the comparisons too. I was looking at Didier as close to the right of Saboteur but that warmer brown tone has come in more recently and Saboteur has a little of that warmth. Beautiful. BTW: I came across and swatched Lilac Dream and it was like, “What was I thinking about? These are my colors!” I know I’m a few seasons behind but what they hey– will wear it this Spring.

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Alison, good catch! I don’t have Didier so I can’t compare… I can’t pull off warm browns/reds well, so that plummy tint helps. I love how Saboteur is a good mix of both… really interesting shade.

      I went back and looked at your past comment on Lilac Dream! So did you manage to get past the pink being so shimmery and unpigmented? I re-read my review too, and I think I should pull out my Lavender Lust and play with it a little again. Actually dreaming of the new Visearts now!!

      • Alison says:

        I hear you on the Visearts. The pink in Lilac Dream is fine. I am currently using a neutral eye primer for color correction over the lid and crease area to just banish those darker undertones and I am wearing a brighter lid overall now. So that sets up the pink and I use the other shades in the crease. The glitter shade is minimally useful. But that is okay.

  4. Regina says:

    Thanks for the swatches! These look so lovely, though the price tag makes me hesitate to buy them!


  5. Lily says:

    What an extensive post, Linda! You must have spent a lot of time on it, so thank you for your hard work 🙂
    And you know what? Your photo of Pink Haze (or is it Golden Peach?) eye shadow duo makes me want it all over again. If it is relaunched for this year’s Summer collection, I’d need to get it. LOL!

    • silverkis says:

      Thanks Lily, i’m not completely satisfied with the way the lip swatches turned out though…. i seem to have some trouble getting the different colors to show up. But it is what it is, and there’s no time to go back and redo the full set.
      I was scratching my head wondering where did you see Golden Peach… and then I realized it was in the opening image! LOL! Yes, I think it’ll be back this summer, that’s why my thoughts turned to it. Didn’t you already pick it up last summer though?

  6. Elena says:

    I love Unabashed, such a beautiful shade. Good to know the dupes, I’ve decided to skip the lip palettes as I cannot see myself wearing these when I’m on the go. Thanks for the thorough review and btw i LOVE both of your dresses! 🙂

    • silverkis says:

      Thanks Elena! I love those Lip Shines so much, I wish TF would focus on them again soon…. it’s kind of fallen by the way side, and the formula is so much better than those lip sheers!

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