Contouring: it’s proven itself to be much more value than “just another beauty trend.” This popular cosmetics technique is a fool-proof way to create faux-natural sculpted cheekbones, narrow noses, and crisp jawlines. With the right tools and practice, you can drastically transform your face and create illusions that amaze even the most skilled of magicians.
Is it magic? Nope, just a good makeup routine.
Tips for Contouring
For those of you who aren’t professional makeup artists, contouring can seem pretty intimidating. And I’m not going to beat around the bush: it’s pretty freakin’ hard to get the hang of. But as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. To make things a little easier for you, here are a few tips to keep in mind when grabbing your contour palettes.
1. Pick the right shades for your skin tone
Just because a makeup palette shade works great for your favorite fair-skinned beauty guru, does not mean it will work the same wonders for you. The key to having perfectly chiseled features is to use colors that work for your tone.
Here’s a simple tip for finding the right contour shades: for highlighting, grab a concealer that’s two shades lighter than your skin tone. For contouring, use a shade that’s two shades darker for a natural defining finish. To create a more dramatic look, be daring and go three shades darker.
2. Follow the “3” rule
Your contouring colors could be the perfect match, but it will only go to waste if you don’t know proper placement. If you’re unsure, then always follow the rule of 3: simply draw a “3” on the angles of your face that you want to contour.
Here’s how this goof-proof plan goes: start at the side of your forehead, then trace around the perimeter of your face to your jaw. Then, create a small line at the hollow of your cheekbones. This should create a “3” on the side of your face. Blend it out, and your face is perfectly contoured!
3. Know the difference between cream and powder
These two consistencies can make a dramatic difference in the finish of your contour. Powders are great for an everyday, subtle contour, whereas cream contour products create a more dramatic look. Powders are more buildable than creams, so you can have a slightly heavier hand when applying them. If you’ve mastered the art of contouring, you can customize your contoured look with both products to craft a striking, photo-ready finish.
The Best Drugstore Contour Kits
When it comes to makeup, one downside that we’re all too familiar with is the price tag. Sure, brands stocked up at Sephora and department stores have that luxury appeal, but why should we empty our bank accounts in the name of good makeup?
Instead, we’re hitting up the aisles of our favorite drugstores to find the best contour kits and palettes for every bargain babe. Check out some of our favorite top-quality drugstore contour kits below for angled cheekbones that could cut through glass.
On a budget? Then check out these top-notch drugstore contour kits.
When it comes to basic contouring, this is the palette to use. This easy to use palette has everything you could ever need for a quick contour: a light bronzer for definition, a highlighter for accentuating areas you want to gleam, and blush for an added pop of color to your cheeks. It also has an angled brush for precise application on every angle of your face. There is also a second palette option for medium to dark skin tones. This palette is the best choice for when you’re on the run or need a fast touch-up throughout the day.
NYX Cosmetics is one of the top makeup brands in the game, and still keeps their prices at the ultimate lowest (because they’re just too good to us). And this professional contour palette definitively does not disappoint: these eight creamy shades are beloved by beauty junkies everywhere for their natural, easily blendable finish. The ultra rich texture of these powder-to-cream hues is effortless to work with, and melts onto skin for a natural finish. And for our earth-friendly peeps: this palette is refillable, so no unnecessary plastic waste here!
e.l.f. cosmetics is another brand that never ceases to amaze us, and this contour kit is no exception. The four powder shades can easily be mixed and matched for a fully customized look, allowing you to go as subtle (or as extra) as you please. It’s the renaissance man of contour kits, making it an essential to anyone’s beauty bag. And this contour kit works to give your skin the ultimate treatment: it’s filled with vitamin E to nourish your skin all day long. This palette is phthalate-free, paraben-free, aluminum-free, and cruelty-free, so you can contour away without any guilt.
This palette is perfect for the pro on a budget. These four creamy shades have a full coverage formula so you can sculpt, contour, and cover any blemishes all with one product. These four shades are highly pigmented for a flawless finish on your complexion, creating a chiseled look that even a Hadid would envy. Use each shade individually for a natural contour and highlight, or mix and match to transform your face into a work of art.
For an all-in-one product with a more dramatic finish, this is the kit to reach for. It has three shades for highlighting, concealing, and contouring when you’re headed out the door. It comes in three different shades for varying skin tones, and has a creamy consistency for a more pigmented finish. This is a great choice for anyone who needs an extra pop of color in their daily contour, and fits perfectly in your mini tote or shoulder-strap bag for contouring when you’re on the go.
Let’s face it: we’re all fans of options. That’s why we’re in love with this palette from the cult-favorite beauty brand, BH Cosmetics. It’s filled with 10 pigmented powder shades that glide onto your skin for a natural, buildable finish. Whether you’re looking for a natural contour or a heavy finish, this palette can give you exactly what you need. And the best part is that it’s perfect for any skin tone, so you can use these most of these shades without worry.
This brand is known for their buttery-smooth bronzers, and this palette lives up to their high-quality expectations. Rather than creating a whole new look, this contour kit is meant to work with your natural features to enhance and compliment them. These universally-flattering powder shades glide on smoother than butter, leaving a velvety finish that one would only expect from heavier cream formulas. The blendable, buildable formulas allow you to personalize your contour, so you can create the sunkissed glow of your dreams — even in the dead of winter.
Get an easy, breezy contour by using this COVERGIRL contouring palette. These creamy colors blend seamlessly into skin, and they come in three different highlighting, bronzing, and contouring shades to give your face the ultimate structure. Define and accentuate your features with this palette, which also includes a step by step guide from the master of makeup herself: legendary celeb MUA, Pat McGrath.
Drew Berrymore’s drugstore beauty powerhouse, FLOWER Beauty, is all about subtlety. If you’re all about minimal accents and definition, then reach for this powder-based contour palette. It contains three shades to contour, blush and highlight with a natural finish. This buildable formula can also play up the intensity, and has a strong pigmented hold that won’t fade as the day rolls by.
L.A. Colors is a heavily underrated beauty brand, and this contouring palette will definitely not disappoint you. Coming in with an impressive 8 shades in one palette, the formula used to make this contouring behemoth is impeccable, to say the least. It glides on smoothly and melts into a velvet-like finish, sans streaks or blotchiness. It stays on for hours on end without fading or smudging, and most of these shades have a more matte finish to create a more natural appearance.