The best contour kits for every skill level

Fri, 9 December 2016 1:56PM


Source: Ania Milczarczyk

By now, there surely isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t at least understand the basic premise of contouring. What was once just something the Kardashian family did is now totally mainstream. But while everyone is relatively across the chiselled-cheekbone concept, actually knowing how to replicate it for yourself is something else, right? Contouring products are totally affordable now – every major brand has one, it seems – but if you buy that professional contour kit, will you actually use it? How do you know whether to get a cream, powder, or stick formulation? How do you get it on your face without looking like a preschooler who went to town with a brown crayon?

Here’s our guide to choosing the right contour tools.

Contour level: Completely clueless

If you feel completely lost when it comes to the contouring trend, anything with more than one colour is going to send you into a fit of anxiety. And don’t even go near cream formulations – they require blending skills you probably don’t feel confident about yet! Instead, try placing your daily bronzer in the hollow of your cheek – suck them in to find this – instead of just brushing across your entire cheek area.


Nars @ Mecca Bronzing Powder in Laguna, $57

Contour level: Kinda got it

If you’re tentatively confident about your contouring technique, but still a little hesitant, you could move on to a cream formula. Although contour kits these days usually come with great instructional content, they’re still best left to those in the know. The rise of contour sticks though is a godsend for anyone who feels like they can take on the trend officially, but still don’t feel like a full kit is something they can manage.


Models Prefer @ Priceline Contour Collection Contouring Stick, $9.99

The stick shape means foolproof application, every time – just suck in your cheeks, and draw a line running from your ear down the hollow you’ve made, stopping when you’re in line with your iris. You can then blend the shade in with your fingers, or for an even more flawless finish, use a blending brush (more on those over here).

Contour level: Mid-weight

Time for a full kit! Contour kits, as we covered before, now come with great instructional diagrams or notes. If you’re feeling confident enough to get into multiple shades and highlight contrasts, go for a powder kit. Powder is easy to blend and easy to start light and go darker if you need, whereas cream formulas can be a bit trickier to work with, especially when you’re adding with a brush.


Australis AC On Tour Powder Contouring and Highlighting Palette in Medium, $16.95

Another benefit to kits is getting multiple shades from light to dark. This means it works year-round if you have the kind of skin tone that is significantly lighter in winter than summer.

Contour level: Pro

If you’re at the point where mastering the light and shade technique comes with ease, a cream kit is going to be your new best friend. Cream formulations, when you know how to blend them, give a gorgeous, natural finish that doesn’t fade through the day. Plus, the illuminators pack a meaner punch, meaning extra glowy cheekbones can be yours.


Anastasia Beverly Hills @ Sephora Contour Cream Kit, $70

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit is much hyped, and lives up to all of it. The shades are perfectly natural looking, the illuminators shimmery without giving any unnatural glitter finishes, and it blends like a dream.

And finally… let’s talk brushes


Artiste Contour Brush, $22.99

There are quite a few contouring brushes on the market, designed specifically to apply your contour cream and powder flawlessly. Most will have very dense bristles, and either be a sort of oval or rectangle shape with a completely flat top. It is definitely worth investing if you’re serious about contouring – the dense bristles are what will give you the seamless finish – vital for a perfect contour.

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  • Posted by: DebstarDesigns Master Fan // Tue, 13 December 2016 01:24pm

    I bought the Australis Pallette awhile ago, have used it once! Thanks for reminding me about it, will be playing with it tonight now!!!

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Thu, 2 February 2017 10:37am

    My daughter is into contouring, she owns a few different palettes. I will show her this how to.

  • Posted by: Bijoux Master Fan // Fri, 10 February 2017 12:42pm

    I am clueless when it comes to contouring! It looks too much like face painting for my liking!

  • Posted by: cottoncandy19 Master Fan // Mon, 13 February 2017 11:49pm

    I have the basic highlighting and contouring palettes and those are good enough for me

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