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Contouring and highlighting are techniques commonly utilized by professional makeup artists for shaping, shading, and visibly defining the high points and shadows of the face. Whether you’re a contour queen or a busy mum, we’ve got options to help you create a gorgeous contour in a snap!

 

Which contour product is right for me?

Contouring and highlighting helps the best parts of your face take center stage- not the makeup itself, meaning precise tools for application are key to avoid a look that’s clownish and over the top.

For contouring, choose a smaller, precise powder brush. Sigma’s F04 Extreme Structure Contour Brush is a great choice, with a firm to dense head that deposits the product precisely. Youngblood’s Contour Brush is a great choice for beginners as it has an angled head, which follows the natural contours of the face.

Sigma’s F03 High Cheekbone Highlighter and theBalm’s Blend a Hand Brush are top choices for a light, effortless highlighter brush.

 

What contour products work best for my skin tone & type?

There are tons of contour palettes on the market, but which contour will work best for you? Contour can appear unnatural if it’s too dark, so choose a palette suited for your skin tone and type.

  • For lighter complexions, Designer Brands Contour Kit in Light Medium provides three shades that will flatter everyone from alabaster to lightly golden, providing shades with neutral to cool undertones to avoid a bold, unnatural finish.

  • For deeper complexions, finding contour shades deep enough to accentuate your features can be difficult. Luckily, Laura Mercier Flawless Contouring Palette offers a wide range of shades that will suit deeper tones.

  • Dry skin may benefit more from a cream contour kit, like PUR Cosmetics Cameo Contour Stick, as they’re more likely to appear natural and blended than a powder on top of a dryer skin.

  • Oily skin will work best with a powder kit, as it will help alleviate shine throughout the day and won’t slide off like a cream formula is likely to do. Nude By Nature’s Contour Palette is a great powder option.

What’s the best way to apply contour?

Contour and highlight are best applied after you’ve applied foundation. Once your base is perfected, take a look at your face’s natural contours. Anywhere shadows fall naturally is where your contour should be applied. This generally means the underside of the cheekbone, the outer eye area, the jawline, and areas close to the hair line. With contour, less is more- start by gently dipping your brush in your product and lightly sweeping the brush along these areas, gently building up your look without creating hard lines.

Highlight is a less precise application process, as it’s meant to diffuse light along the high points of the face, like the forehead, upper cheekbone, the bridge of the nose, and the chin. Just like with contour, less is more- start by blending lightly upward along these areas and build up to your desired beam from there. 

 

Following the steps above will have you contouring like a pro! Check out the options below to create an amazing, everyday contour that will help you bring this insider trick to your everyday look.

58 products found.

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M.A.C Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

$54.00

$54.00

4.8 of 39 reviews

Benefit Cheekleaders Bronze Squad

$99.00

$99.00

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4.7 of 3 reviews

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour

$42.00

$42.00

4.6 of 29 reviews

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Quickie Contour Stick

$49.00

$49.00

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4.6 of 72 reviews

Giorgio Armani Neo Nude A-Contour

$68.00

$68.00

5 of 6 reviews

Jane Iredale Mineral Bronzer Refill

$74.70 $83.00

$74.70 $83.00

5 of 6 reviews

Designer Brands Cream Contour Kit – Light Medium

$14.99

$14.99

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4.8 of 11 reviews

Napoleon Perdis Ultimate Contour Palette

$65.00

$65.00

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elf Contour Palette

$16.00

$16.00

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4.4 of 8 reviews

Designer Brands Vivid Glow Illuminator Palette - Champagne

$14.99

$14.99

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4.5 of 7 reviews

Designer Brands Brilliant Skin Bronzer and Illuminator Duo

$14.99

$14.99

3.7 of 6 reviews

Designer Brands Shape Up Contour & Concealer Duo

$19.99

$19.99

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4 of 3 reviews

Benefit Complexionista Palette

$55.00

$55.00

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4.4 of 25 reviews

RCMA Makeup Highlight and Contour Palette

$50.00

$50.00

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4.6 of 5 reviews

3INA The Bronzer Powder

$25.50

$25.50

Nude by Nature Contour Brush 04

$24.95

$24.95

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5 of 8 reviews

Mirenesse Tri-Contour V Face Sculpting Stick

$25.00

$25.00

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4 of 4 reviews

ICONIC London Cream Contour Palette

$65.00

$65.00

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3.9 of 8 reviews

Sigma F23 - Soft Angled Contour Brush

$36.00

$36.00

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Showing 20 products of 58.

Recent reviews on Contouring Makeup & Palettes products

Designer Brands
Designer Brands Contour Kit – Light Medium
$14.99

Great for the price

This was the first contour kit I bought and it was perfect while I was learning what this contour business was all about and didn't want to spend much money. It's easy to use, blends well and comes with handy instructions. It's not as pigmented as some of my others but personally I think that's ideal for a beginner as you don't want to end up putting on too much and looking muddy. I still keep this in my desk at work for touch ups- the highlighter is nice dabbed onto eyelids too.
Napoleon Perdis
Napoleon Perdis Ultimate Contour Palette
$65.00

Only for fair skin

Frustrating packaging - the size of the palette is very small and it's hard to dip into the matte contour without mixing it with blush. It can lead to muddiness on the face. The colours, while pretty in the pan, are impossibly sheer even in arm swatches. I wouldn't recommend for anyone other than very fair complexions.
Maybelline
Maybelline Face Studio Master Contour
$19.95

Great all-in-one palette

I bought this to take on a trip, as I didn't want to pack too many separate products or take anything too expensive that might end up broken or left behind somewhere. I was so impressed with it and have recommended it to everyone since then!

The contour is more of a bronze shade than a traditional cool grey-brown contour powder, but it's not overly orange - more like a cool-toned bronzer - and I actually prefer that for a subtle summer holiday look. The blush is a really pretty shade and the highlighter gives a lovely subtle shimmery glow. Some people have mentioned it's not very pigmented but I don't like my highlighter to have an obvious colour, at least not for a daytime look on holidays. I did find I could build it up for a big night out and get a great look. I found all the shades applied and blended nicely too.

If you're after a strong contour and blinding highlight this palette isn't for you, but if you want a subtle daytime look, or if you're a beginner or just not a big makeup person, this is fantastic! The sleek packaging is perfect for travel too, and I also use it on my eyes. The value for money is great but I think it holds its own with mid-range products too.