Who needs plastic surgery when contouring can produce the same results for far less money, amirite? Of course, when it comes to makeup if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might end up going from pretty to pretty scary in a heartbeat. The same goes if you don’t get the best contour kit available. YouTube can take care of the first problem. As for the second? We’ve got you covered. Below are 9 best contour kits you can get in the market today.
Top 9 Contour Kits Of 2019 Reviewed
1. NYX Highlight & Contour Pro PaletteBest Contour Kit For Pale Skin
If you’re looking for the ultimate contour kit, then this one’s for you. The NYX Professional Makeup Highlight & Contour Pro Palette is our number one go-to contour kit. It comes with 8 shades that are great for most, if not all, skin tones. You’ve got a range of colors for highlighting, shading, and/or defining your facial features. Plus, the pans are all removable and refillable.
You can rearrange the palette based on your routine and easily refill whichever runs out first. For beginners, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a contour and highlighting guide located at the back of the box. We just wish it was on the back of the palette instead so you don’t have to keep the box with you. Two shades have a bit of shimmer while the rest are matte. Some of the colors don’t blend so well if you’re using a cream foundation. And it can look patchy after a few hours if your skin is oily.
- Suitable for most skin tones
- Refillable pans
- Not easy to blend with cream foundation
- Highlighter may lack shimmer for some
- Not for oily skin
2. Maybelline New York FaceStudio Master Contour & Highlight V-Shape Duo Stick
The Maybelline New York FaceStudio Master Contour & Highlight V-Shape Duo Stick is a 2-in-1 stick that allows you to do a bit of contouring in a flash. You don’t even have to switch between products; all you need to do is flip to the other side. The duo stick comes with a dark shade for contouring and a light one for highlighting. It glides easily due to its creamy matte formula. However, you do have to be careful to make sure that you don’t accidentally apply part of the other color. Also, unless you use both sides evenly, the stick will become uneven and that might make it trickier to use. In addition, it doesn’t last long.
- 2-in-1 stick; contouring on-the-go
- Very affordable
- Easy to apply
- Doesn’t seem to last long
- May become uneven
- Requires careful application (may apply the wrong color)
3. Lorac Pro Contour PaletteBest Contour Kit For Fair To Medium Skin
The LORAC Pro Contour Palette is admittedly a bit on the expensive side. But it can help you become your very own Michelangelo – able to perfectly sculpted features. The palette includes 2 matte highlights, 1 shimmer highlight, and 3 matte contour shades. The powders are all highly pigmented and fragrance-free. The palette even comes with a PRO contour brush as well as a guide to help you create a natural-looking finish. It can be a bit hard to blend if you use too much; a little goes a long way. While the shimmering highlight is not ideal for dark skin tones, it can work with very fair skin tones.
- Matte and shimmer highlights
- Comes with a brush and guide
- Perfect for light to deeper skin tones
- Maybe hard to blend
- Easy to go overboard due to high pigmentation
4. E.L.F. Cream Contour PaletteBest Contour Kit For Dry Skin
The e.l.f. Cream Contour Palette features 1 brightening shade and 3 bronzers for contouring. This goes on so smoothly and lasts hours before fading. The large mirror certainly helps you apply some contouring while on the go. The palette itself is thin and can easily fit inside any purse or makeup bag. And the drugstore price is awesome. However, these have warm undertones which may not work well with individuals who have cool undertones. Also, there aren’t other options for this palette, just this one. You might not be able to use this for contouring if you have really dark skin.
- Easy to apply
- Comes with a large mirror
- Not for dark skin
- Not for cool undertones
- No other shade options
5. Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour KitBest Contour Kit For Beginners
The Smashbox Step By Step Contour Kit is another great option if you’re new to contouring. It comes with an angled brush and guide to help you get started. One half of the cover is a mirror while the other half is the guide which makes it so much easier to follow. All three colors – light, medium, and dark – are all matte. If you like a shimmery highlight, you’re going to need something else. We like the fact that this comes in two shades – light and dark.
Also, there isn’t a lot of kick up when you pick up the powder using the brush. For some stones, the bronze might come off as a bit orangey. However, it is a bit expensive and the brush is only ideal for detail contouring. Also, the colors are set too near each other so any kick off can easily get mixed with another color.
- Great for beginners
- Comes in two shades
- Not a lot of kick up
- The small brush is only for detail contouring
- Slightly pricey
- Colors are set too near each other
6. Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting PowderBest Contour Kit For Dark Skin
The Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder features brown, gray and red pigments which allow the user to create a natural subtle shadow wherever you apply it. What does this mean? You can create a slimmer face or pop out your cheekbones while maintaining a realistic look. The unique formula makes it perfect for any skin type; it’s buildable so you can start light and see how intense you want to take it.
There are three shades to choose from – light, medium, and deep. However, this product isn’t cheap and the powder does kick up quite a bit. And this isn’t ideal for beginners as it doesn’t come with a guide and requires you to blend, blend, blend.
- Unique formula
- Creates a more realistic look
- Perfect for any skin type
- Very expensive
- Not for beginners
- Does kick up quite a bit of powder
7. Physicians Formula Bronze Booster ContourBest Contour Kit For Medium Skin
The Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Highlight & Contour Palette is perfect shade-wise if you want the Smashbox palette but don’t have the budget for it. This palette is ideal for contouring and creating dimension to your face because all colors are matte. The other type of Physicians Formula Highlight & Contour Palette is the Shimmer Strobing palette which is perfect for those who prefer to highlight using shimmery shades.
The formulas in both palettes are smooth, soft, and blendable. There’s even a brush hidden in a compartment under the pans. However, the case isn’t easy to open. You also need a light hand as well as a very soft brush.
- Smooth and blendable
- Comes with a mirror and brush
- Budget-friendly dupe of the Smashbox palette
- Not for beginners
- The case isn’t easy to open
- A bit bulky
8. Too Faced Cocoa Contour Chiseled to PerfectionBest Contour Kit For Brown Skin
This contour kit is too pretty for words. But that’s not why we picked it. It kind of smells like chocolate which is another bonus but not why this product is on our list. The Cocoa Contour is perfect for beginners (it comes with a very detailed guide) and those with fair to medium skin tones. The angled kabuki brush is very soft and three of the contour colors are great.
The highlight we could do without as it is very, very light and shimmery. It should only be used at nights out with friends and even then, only a very small amount. Also, there is no yellow shade that you often see in other contour kits. That being said, the powder is so soft that it easily applies to the skin, almost like a cream. Take note that this palette has a vegan formula.
- Finely milled powder
- Vegan formula
- Smells like chocolate
- One highlight is too shimmery/glittery
- No yellow shade included
- Very expensive
9. Sleek Makeup Face FormBest Contour Kit For Asian Skin
The Sleek Makeup Face Form has got everything you need to get ready to face the day – a contour shade, a highlight, and a blush. While this is not what you’d get if you want something dramatic, it’s what you need for everyday wear. It gives you that natural look, not a sculpted one. The best thing about this product is that it comes in 4 shades so you can definitely find one that fits your skin tone.
And have we mentioned that the blush is a dupe for NARS Orgasm? However, it isn’t recommended for acne-prone skin. There is a slight fragrance to the product which might not appeal to those who have sensitive noses. And this is not ideal for beginners since it is very pigmented and not easy to use.
- All-in-one contour kit
- Comes in 4 shades
- Long lasting
- Not for acne-prone skin
- Not fragrance-free
- Not for beginners
Contour Kit Buying Guide
Making the right features pop and becoming your very own modern Michelangelo is possible with a contour kit (many of them come with a brush). Of course, contouring isn’t as easy as it sounds or looks. It’s even harder if you’re using the wrong shades. But how does one find the right ones to use? If you’re new to the world of contouring, don’t fret. We’ve got you covered. Below is a short guide that should help you figure out what contour kit will work best for you.
Cream or Powder?
Either one is fine and the choice is mostly based on preference. However, if you’re not experienced with contouring, we recommend going for a powder contour kit like the NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette since it gives you more control over application than cream. Plus, using cream takes more effort.
Unless: Do you have dry skin?
Cream contour kits like the E.L.F. Cream Contour Palette is perfect for those with dry skin. Powder products can accentuate blemishes that you’d rather hide.
What color is your skin tone?
One of the most important factors in choosing a contour kit is the shade. This is because contouring is all about creating an illusion of shadows, giving your face a more chiseled appearance. The wrong colors can make you look like you have a spray tan gone wrong or just scary
Now, most contour kits will have a shade, giving you an idea of which skin tones they are ideal for. For example, the Sleek Makeup Face Form comes in 4 shades – fair, light, medium, and dark. Some contour kits are universal and used by individuals of different skin tones like the Lorac Pro Contour Palette.
If you’re not sure about your skin tone and what colors would work best, try them out. Test different colors on your skin to see what looks best. To choose a highlight, look for a color that is one to two shades lighter than your foundation. Your contour color should be one to two shades darker. Fair-skinned individuals should avoid any hint of orange as well as warm-toned colors.
Cool-toned colors taupe work great on this type of skin. With a medium skin tone, you can choose something bronze like Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Contour. Dark skin tones can go for deeper shades that have red undertones or a neutral contour shade that also features a neutral undertone (between warm and cool) so your complexion doesn’t come off as washed out.
Choose a matte product, not something shimmery
As we’ve mentioned, contouring is all about mimicking natural shadows in order to enhance your bone structure. Since you’re going to be creating shadows, you need to look for a matte product. While some bronzers can be used to contour your face, not all of them can. Plus, bronzing is all about bringing color back into your skin – to give you that glow. This is why a lot of them have shimmer. And you can’t create shadows using shimmer. It’ll make you look muddy and unnatural.
Blush is important
Putting some blush on your cheeks is a great way to soften your contoured look as well as adding some color. The Sleek Makeup Face Form features a blush that’s a dupe for NARS Orgasm which is a fan favorite.
Let’s talk about price
Some contour kits cost a pretty penny. And it’s partly because of the brand. But the quality of the product is also a factor. However, if you’re on a strict budget, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good contour kit as part of your makeup arsenal.
There are a lot of drugstore contour kits that are of good quality and actually perform quite similar to top brands. Also, investing in a good drugstore brand is your best bet if you’re a beginner. If it doesn’t work out for you, then you won’t have lost a good amount of money. The Maybelline New York FaceStudio Master Contour & Highlight V-Shape Duo Stick, for example, is pretty cheap and won’t make you feel bad if it doesn’t work well with your skin tone.