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 makeup artist Benjamin Puckey tells Allure.
But what actually is contouring? According to Los Angeles-based makeup artist Robin Black, contouring the face with makeup 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 Makeup 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 makeup artist, is the master of contour — and we couldn’t agree more. “Of course, the Makeup 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.