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Thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian, we’ve learned that contouring can alter your face, just by some shading. With the right contouring products, you can instantly help your face appear to
be more three-dimensional, as New York City-based artist Benjamin Puckey tells Allure.
But what actually is contouring? According to Los Angeles-based artist Robin Black, contouring the face is a technique that creates the appearance of depth and shadow in
specific areas of the face. “You can emphasize features, make them appear smaller or larger, and even create the illusion of a totally different facial structure,” she says.
Keep in mind that contour should suit your individual features and the type of look you want to create. Black believes that the first step is to determine what features you want to emphasize or
reduce. “For example, if you want higher, more prominent-looking cheekbones, then you should place your contour just below your natural cheekbone and blend upward,” she adds.
When shopping for a contour product, the first thing you’ll want to determine is whether you wish to use a cream or powder formula, and then pick your shade. “You’ll want a color that works with
your natural undertone and is at least three shades deeper than your natural complexion. You can go darker based on how dramatic you want the final effect to be,” says Black.
So where do you start? Well, you came to the right place, now you just have to find the right products that work with your beauty routine. We rounded up the 19 best contour products in cream,
powder, stick, and palette categories for you to choose from.
New York City-based makeup artist Blair Petty loves using the Westman Atelier Face Trace Stick because of its ease of use and how seamlessly it blends into the skin. It even has skin-nourishing
ingredients in the formula like jojoba seed oil, and oil-absorbing kaolin clay, which helps the pigment stay in place.
The Fenty Beauty Match Stix are at the top of by Disco’s kit because she prefers a skin-like finish rather than a dewy finish. “These sticks maintain a longer-lasting contour that never picks
up like in an area where we want to create shadows,” she adds.
Black believes that Mario Dedivanovic, aka Kim Kardashian’s artist, is the master of contour — and we couldn’t agree more. “Of course, the Make by Mario Soft Sculpt Shaping Sticks
are brilliant. They are blendable, easy to use, and work equally as well over bare skin or foundation,” says Black.
The Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick is a dual-ended wand that features an illuminating cream stick on one end and a sculpting stick on the other. Both pigments melt into the cheeks and
are great for on-the-go use.
The Em Cosmetics So Soft Multi Faceplay Stick is a Best of Beauty-winning product in the bronzer category — but don’t be fooled, as this lightweight stick can certainly be used to chisel your face.
It’s made with squalane and vitamin E for a creamy texture with a skin-like finish.
For your drugstore pick, the Maybelline [NEW YORK!!! ADD IN TILE AS WELL] Master Contour V-Shade Duo Stick rings up at only $7 and has your contour and highlight needs covered in one
product. This two-in-one stick features a creamy contour and highlighter to enhance and define with ease. [is this being discontinued? the amazon seller isn’t legit and i can’t find it elsewhere
Disco loves the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder because it’s a super-blendable powder. “With just one swipe, it really mimics a shadow, making your cheekbones appear naturally sharp,” she says.
“These silky powders leave an even wash of natural-looking color that makes them ideal for both contour and creating a subtle glow,” says Black — and we think so, too. The Dior Forever Natural
Bronze Powder is super buildable in each of the eight hues it’s available in.
The Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Creme Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo is a favorite of senior commerce writer Angela Trakoshis. “This set features a powder and cream contour, so you’re getting the
best of both worlds,” she says. “I love starting with the cream and setting it in with the powder, to ensure nothing moves throughout the day.”
The KVD Vegan Beauty Shade + Light Contour Palette is quite unique because you can customize your palette to match all your tones. Take it from New York City-based makeup artist Christian
Makeup artist Billie Gene says that her favorite contour product is Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow. “This product is pure magic and the easiest to work with,” she says. “It comes in two
shades and allows the fairest to deep skin to sculpt, trim and highlight features.”
We consider the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit the perfect pick-up if you’re just learning how to master the technique. It has three deeper hues to sculpt and three lighter ones to highlight.
Each pan is super pigmented, so be gentle when you dip your brush in.
Similar to the one above, the NYX Professional Makeup Highlight & Contour Pro Face Palette has eight pressed powders designed for both highlighting and contouring. Coming in at $25, this is a
great and affordable drugstore pick — given how much product you get.
Whether you’re a contouring pro or a beginner, the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand is for everyone. The applicator is an easy-to-use cushion that dispenses color evenly onto the skin.
In the tube are pigments that create the appearance of shadows and definition, so you look sculpted every time you apply.
Black considers the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Palette the OG for super a super glowy contour and highlight. “You have probably seen it worn on every red carpet in the past decade,” she
says. “It works best on almost-bare skin, over a luminous or semi-matte foundation, and without any powder on top,” Black adds, noting that it’s perfect for the collarbones and décolleté when it
comes to putting together a sexier, nighttime look.
Both the E.L.F. Putty Bronzer and the Huda Beauty Tantour Contour & Bronzer Cream are what creamy contour dreams are made of. The Putty Bronzer is made with argan oil that moisturizes
skin and vitamin E that nourishes it. On the other hand, Tantour has dimethicone to moisturize the skin without clogging any pores.