6 Best Contour Makeup

6 Best Contour Makeup

16
Hours
Researched
82
Products
Evaluated

After 16 hours of research evaluating 82 products, we picked Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit as our top choice.

Why contour makeup? Well, let's be real. Most of us would love more defined cheekbones, a slimmer nose, or a more chiseled jaw; however, few people have the desire (or finances) to permanently alter their appearance. 

Tell me more:

Contouring has come a long way in recent years. These days, the recommendation is to select a color about three shades darker than your natural complexion and focus on hollowing out cheekbones, slimming your nose, and defining your jawbone and hairline. 

In terms of the order in which you want to apply your makeup, it might surprise you to hear that most beauty experts recommend to first apply a highlight over your cheekbones, blend your foundation, and then apply contour last. Of course you can always contour without the highlight, but why not emphasize those gorgeous freshly chiseled features?

What's the bottom line?

Even if you're a makeup newbie, you should really consider making contour a part of your beauty routine. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, we've included something for everyone on our list of the best contour makeup out there and highly recommend you check it out.

If you're still not quite sure about contouring, checkout our best foundation, blush, or bronzer to create that perfect everyday look. No matter what your beauty routine looks like, we promise, we've got you covered.

6 Best Contour Makeup

  • 6. Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand
  • 5. NYX Professional Makeup Highlight & Contour Pro Palette
  • 4. Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Cream-to-Powder Quickie Contour Stick
  • 3. Kat Von D Kitten Mini Shade + Light Contour Duo
  • 2. Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit
  • 1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

Best Contour Makeup for Beginners

#6

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand

Best Contour Makeup for Beginners: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand
26 Bought
Formula
8.5
Application
8.5
Value
8.0
Overall
83%
83 % Editor Score
80 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Sponge applicator makes contouring easy, even for beginners
  • Dries instantly upon application for flawless blending
  • Blendable and buildable

Charlotte Tilbury does it again, folks! The Hollywood Contour Wand features a cushiony sponge applicator that makes it easy to create gorgeous, sculpted looks in minutes. The gorgeous rose gold packaging (Charlotte Tilbury’s signature) is just an added bonus.

$38 for a single color contour is pretty pricey, especially since reviewers report that it doesn’t last long with regular use.

Expert Ratings

Formula

8.5 / 10

The formula is a soft-focus, semi-matte cream that is lightweight an dries instantly upon application. The color is highly pigmented, more so than any of the compact powders or creams on our list, and it adheres with uniformity to create shadows and define features naturally.

It comes in two different shades, light and dark, and it’s also formulated without parabens or sulfates—which feels good too.

Application

8.5 / 10

Use the sponge at the end of the wand to apply a small squeeze to cheek hollows, nose, temples, and jawline. After applying, blend it out (upwards on your cheeks and temples and downwards on your nose and jaw) with a contour brush or beauty blender. Goes on evenly thanks to the uniquely designed sponge applicator. The result?? A beautifully sculpted, natural look.

Value

8.0 / 10

Like we said above, $38 for a single shade contour makes this one of the most expensive products on our list. Charlotte Tilbury offers a similar highlighting wand, but that’s sold separately. Additionally, if you’re spending a lot of time contouring daily, the tube will not last very long. This product is best for beginners that only plan to do a small amount of contouring on occasion.

Overall Editor Score

8.3 / 10

Best Drugstore Contour Makeup

#5

NYX Professional Makeup Highlight & Contour Pro Palette

Best Drugstore Contour Makeup: NYX Professional Makeup Highlight & Contour Pro Palette
24 Bought
Formula
8.0
Application
8.5
Value
9.0
Overall
85%
85 % Editor Score
82 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Great for contour, highlighting, and even eye color!
  • Easy to use and great for everyday use
  • Looks very natural and blends like a dream

The NYX Professional Makeup Highlight & Contour Pro Palette allows you to easily enhance features like cheekbones, nose, and hair and jawline—all at a drugstore price!

Some reviewers report QA issues with palettes arriving broken or colors not looking the same as pictured, so, if you’re unsure, maybe stop by your local drugstore and pick one up in person.

Expert Ratings

Formula

8.0 / 10

This is a powder-based formula with a palette of colors perfect for all complexions. It’s great for beginners, but, what we love most about this product is that each of the 8 removable and refillable pans pops out of the palette with ease and are perfect for building your own customized pro palette.

The shades are all highly pigmented and, while some have a bit more fallout than others, with a light tap of the brush you should end up with the right amount of product for a flawless contour.

Application

8.5 / 10

Of course you will first want to apply foundation and bronzer, if desired, but then start with the deeper contouring shades to the areas you would like a bit of definition (brow bones, sides of the nose, hair and jaw line, for example) and blend with a brush or beauty blender. (Side note: if you’re looking for a budget friendly option, check out this sculpt kit by elf—which can also be found at your local drugstore!)

Finally, apply one of the lighter shades over any areas you would like to emphasize with highlight.

Value

9.0 / 10

Since this is our best drugstore pick there’s no surprise it’s also one of the best values on our list. At just under $20 this isn’t incredibly cheap, but, given that it is a highlight and contour in one and will last for an extended period of time, it is still a great value for what you get.

Some reviewers even said that they traded in their Kat Von D Shade + Light Palette for this product, which comes in just under $50. For a product of similar quality that is about $30 less, we think the NYX Professional makeup Highlight & Contour Palette is worth every penny.

However, if you’re looking for something even cheaper, the elf Cream Contour Palette is another great drugstore option for under $10.

Overall Editor Score

8.5 / 10

Best Contour Makeup Stick

#4

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Cream-to-Powder Quickie Contour Stick

Best Contour Makeup Stick: Benefit Cosmetics  Hoola Cream-to-Powder Quickie Contour Stick
28 Bought
Formula
9.0
Application
8.5
Value
8.5
Overall
87%
87 % Editor Score
86 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Makes contouring easy
  • Blends well and lasts all day
  • Cream to powder concept is amazing

The Hoola Quickie Contour Stick brought to you by Benefit is a soft bronze cream-to-powder stick that allows you to easily define, sculpt, and shape with clarity and confidence.

Make sure you store this in a cool, dry place, also be careful when you first open the product, because some reviewers indicate that the entire stick of product fell out of the tube.

Expert Ratings

Formula

9.0 / 10

This is a soft bronze cream-to-powder contour stick with a dome shape tip that ensures smooth, targeted application every time. The matte formula allows you to easily define cheekbones and nose, while providing all over sculpting with just a few swipes.

Hoola Quickie Contour Stick is buildable and blendable for a totally natural look that, with the long wear formula, will last from morning tonight without needed to be touched up or reapplied.

Application

8.5 / 10

For defined cheekbones, apply several swipes under your cheekbones and blend up towards your ears with a blending brush or sponge. For a chiseled nose, apply a swipe or two along each side and blend outward towards your cheeks. And if you’re going for an allover sculpted took, try applying a few swipes below your hairline, blending upward, and a few more along your jawline, blending downward.

Check out this Ulta how-to for a step-by-step contour guide! Or, if you’re more interested in achieving an allover glow, check out the Hoola Matte Bronzer for a flawless base to

Value

8.5 / 10

Available on Amazon Prime with free shipping for $38, or buy it from Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstrom for about $10 (but remember to factor in shipping). Regardless, this contour stick is not the cheapest on our list, but reviewers advise that it will last you a LONG time.

Overall Editor Score

8.7 / 10

Best Contour Makeup Duo

#3

Kat Von D Kitten Mini Shade + Light Contour Duo

Best Contour Makeup Duo: Kat Von D Kitten Mini Shade + Light Contour Duo
27 Bought
Formula
9.0
Application
8.5
Value
9.5
Overall
90%
90 % Editor Score
89 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Effortlessly sculpt, chisel, shape, and slenderize your features for enhanced definition
  • Available in three shade combos: Light, Medium, and Deep
  • Perfect size, fantastic formula, best shades

The Shade + Light Contour Palette by Kat Von D has gotten quite a bit of attention, but were currently crushing on the Kitten Mini Shade + Light Contour Duo. Inspired by the Shade + Light Contour Palette, these mini duos allow you to take your favorite highlight and contour shades on the go. With over 10,000 likes on Sephora, you know you can’t go wrong with this beloved contour makeup.

Many reviewers state that the Deep shade is not great for really dark skin tones, so keep that in mind if you’re darker complected.

Expert Ratings

Formula

9.0 / 10

Kat Von D really knows her stuff when it comes to contouring, so why go mini, you may ask? Well, first of all, with these duos you are getting everything you need to create the perfect contour, at a size and price anyone can get onboard with. Additionally, you can mix and match your favorite shades from the 6-pan Shade + Light Contour Palette so that you’re never wasting product (and in turn wasting money).

This product is also vegan and cruelty-free, which is even better.

Application

8.5 / 10

Use the contour shades to recede facial features and add depth to your face, while imparting a soft luminosity for amplified dimension of your best angles.  

For best results, try with Kat Von D’s Powder Contour Brush #2 and Powder Highlight Brush #4.

Value

9.5 / 10

At $23, this is one of the cheapest contour products on our list.

For half the price of the Shade + Light Contour Palette you are getting everything you need to create dimension and accentuate features without any of the waste that may come with the larger palette. If you’re a contouring pro and need a wide range of shades, maybe look elsewhere. But if you’re on the market for a go to highlight and contour for every day, these duos will be your new best friend.

Overall Editor Score

9.0 / 10

Best Contour Makeup Kit

#2

Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit

Best Contour Makeup Kit: Smashbox  Step-By-Step Contour Kit
17 Bought
Formula
9.0
Application
9.5
Value
9.0
Overall
92%
92 % Editor Score
93 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Easy to build and very natural
  • On the go contouring with this travel size compact
  • Appropriate for all skill levels

New to contour? Well Smashbox designed a starter palette equipped with all the essentials, including a tutorial that walks you through a step-by-step of how to contour cheek bones, nose, and jaw line.

Some reviewers indicate the colors were not as pigmented or blendable as advertised.

Expert Ratings

Formula

9.0 / 10

The kit features one contour, one bronzer, and one highlighter that make the perfect contour achievable for all skill levels. The colors are highly pigmented, blendable, and buildable, and the palette is available in two shades—Light/Medium and Medium/Ark. Both palettes flatter a range of skins tones and complexions.

The product itself is formulated without parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, and fragrance—plus, it’s cruelty free!

Application

9.5 / 10

This user friendly palette even comes with its own contour brush, which means you will achieve a perfectly even application each and every time .Additionally, while the palette itself comes with a pretty fool-proof how-to guide, below are some tips to give you an idea of just how easy it really is.

For the nose, use the contour shade to apply a stroke down each side of your nose and blend for a slimming effect, as a finishing touch use the highlighting shade to accentuate by applying a thin line from the top of your nose and blend.

For the cheeks, suck in your cheeks to help you determine exactly where shadow, and then using the contour shade apply along this line—blend upward to create the illusion of lifted, sculpted cheeks. Add a stroke of blush right above the contour line to create a naturally flushed look.

And, for the jaw line, apply contour underneath your law line to square off your chin, for an instantly sculpted look.

Value

9.0 / 10

Find this contour kit on Amazon for right around $30, including Prime shipping! A pretty good value for a contour, bronzer, highlight, and contour brush all in one!

Overall Editor Score

9.2 / 10

Best Contour Makeup Overall

#1

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

Best Contour Makeup Overall: Anastasia Beverly Hills  Contour Kit
20 Bought
Formula
9.5
Application
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
95%
95 % Editor Score
96 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Pans are removable and refillable
  • Flawless, satin finish that lasts all day
  • Palettes available in three separate shades

There’s a reason this product is consistently rated the best of the best by beauty authorities like Refinery 29 and Best Products. The Contour Kit by Anastasia Beverly Hills is versatile and perfect for beginners and pros alike.

Reviewers report that the colors are a bit too warm for contouring on certain complexions, but do keep in mind there are three shade ranges to choose from. So make sure to find the correct range for your complexion.

Expert Ratings

Formula

9.5 / 10

With the Contour Kit, Anastasia Beverly Hills brings you a best-selling set of three powder highlights and three powder contours that come in removable and refillable pans, ranging from light to deep. Essentially, this kit includes everything you need for the perfect contour in one product.

The formula is blendable and also comes in a variety of shade ranges from Light/Medium to Medium/Tan to Deep, which ensures you will achieve the best match for your complexion regardless of your skin tone.

The staying power, however, is really where this product shines. Reviewers report this contour makeup will last you morning to night, even through rain, sweat, and tears. Use this kit to create a natural daytime look or a dramatic sculpt that is sure to turn heads without worrying that you will need to retouch throughout the day/night. The possibilities really are endless!

Application

9.5 / 10

Like we mentioned previously, the kit includes three contour shades and three highlights for sculpting and emphasizing cheekbones, nose, and jawline.

To begin, select a contour shade for the cheekbones, nose, and jawline. Suck in cheeks to find your natural cheekbones, apply a swipe of contour, and blend upwards with a contour brush or beauty blender. Next, apply contour to the sides of nose and blend outward for a sliming effect. Also apply contour below the jawline for a more sculpted appearance.

Finally, select a shade of highlight to apply over cheekbones, nose, and jawline for emphasis.

Value

9.5 / 10

$40 is pretty steep for one contour palette, but it includes both highlights and contours, requires little to no retouch on a daily basis, and a little goes a long way—even if you use this product daily (and we promise, you will) you can expect this palette to last you 3-4 months.

Overall Editor Score

9.5 / 10

Faveable Ratings: 6 Best Contour Makeup

6 Best Contour MakeupFormulaApplicationValueOverall
Anastasia Beverly Hills  Contour Kit Thumbnail
Best Contour Makeup Overall
#1Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit
9.5
9.5
9.5
95
Smashbox  Step-By-Step Contour Kit Thumbnail
Best Contour Makeup Kit
#2Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit
9.0
9.5
9.0
92
Kat Von D Kitten Mini Shade + Light Contour Duo Thumbnail
Best Contour Makeup Duo
#3Kat Von D Kitten Mini Shade + Light Contour Duo
9.0
8.5
9.5
90
Benefit Cosmetics  Hoola Cream-to-Powder Quickie Contour Stick Thumbnail
Best Contour Makeup Stick
#4Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Cream-to-Powder Quickie Contour Stick
9.0
8.5
8.5
87
NYX Professional Makeup Highlight & Contour Pro Palette Thumbnail
Best Drugstore Contour Makeup
#5NYX Professional Makeup Highlight & Contour Pro Palette
8.0
8.5
9.0
85
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand Thumbnail
Best Contour Makeup for Beginners
#6Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand
8.5
8.5
8.0
83

We value your feedback

What did you think of 6 Best Contour Makeup?
6 Best Contour Makeup
4.67 Stars (12 Votes)

Vote to enter our $100 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

Article Staff

Jenna is an Iowa native and former Chicago resident who is currently living her best life in the Tampa Bay area with her husband and fur baby. She has a BS in Political Science from the University of Iowa, as well a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Jenna has a passion for running, brunching, home decor and, of course, her beloved Iowa Hawkeyes. When she isn’t writing, Jenna loves to read just about anything she can get her hands on.

Jenna covers everything from health and beauty to home and lifestyle, you name the product, she’s likely tried it. So if you’re looking for ways to beef up your beauty regimen or enhance your humble abode, Jenna is your go to girl.

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

Join the conversation

6 Best Contour Makeup

Thanks for reading my article. I value your feedback and invite you to join the conversation:

  • Share your opinion on the list
  • Suggest an item for consideration
  • Review items you've tried
— Jenna Jenna Holtz

You May Also Like

See more in Beauty

Never make a dumb purchase again
Our tips in your mailbox:
for access to exclusive free content -- it's easy!
Newsletter signup