If powder contour palettes aren't your thing and you want a sculpting tool that you can take out and about, consider a contour stick! Once you get the hang of using these cream contours, you'll be able to add perfect shadows to your face in minutes. That's why we researched the best contour stick out there and made a list of our 10 favorites.
Take a look at the top pick on our list, Bobbi Brown's Skin Foundation Stick. It's water-resistant, made with good ingredients, easy to apply, and comes in many inclusive shades. For more options, check out other suggested products on our top 10 list! Don't forget to read through our buying guide where we've provided you all of the things you need to know to get the best contour stick that matches all your needs.
Choosing the right contour color is important, but you should also make sure that it's easy to use! Keep these points in mind to help you find the best one.
Choosing the right shade for your skin tone is the most important thing when it comes to contouring. If you have fair or light skin, consider light or neutral taupe shades described as grayish-brown. Be sure to avoid orange and dark shades because since they can look unnatural.
Although there are plenty of shade options for medium skin, it's a good idea to stick with a darker shade of taupe for a natural look.
To choose the perfect shade for dark skin, select shades between cool and warm tones. These colors are often described as "neutral." You'll want to ensure that the shade you choose is visible and doesn't wash out your complexion. So, dark brown is a great shade for dark skin tones.
If you're new to contouring, start with one shade darker than your skin tone and see how it works. A lighter shade is easier to blend seamlessly into your skin and helps you create a soft, natural-looking shadow effect.
However, if you find the shade is too light or invisible on your skin, you may want to work with two shades darker than your skin tone. A darker shade can add more depth and dimension to your face; however, it requires more practice to get a smooth and consistent finish.
For sculpting, consider three shades darker than your skin tone. Sculpting is a shaping technique that helps you change your face shape and features. If you do it right, it'll make the angles of your face pop and look flawless.
Keep in mind that contour products should be matte! The goal of contouring is to make your face looks more defined, so you'll need a matte product to create a natural-looking shadow effect.
Shimmery products emphasize areas of your face instead of concealing them, so they shouldn't be used for contouring. Also, avoid using bronzer as a contour! Bronzers make skin look tan or sun-kissed, so they usually come in warm shades with orange or red undertones. If you use it as a contour, you may end up looking orange or dirty.
When it comes to contouring, try to stick with cool-toned shades. Gray-tone shades are ideal since gray works great with most skin tones.
However, this doesn't mean you have to choose a gray color for contouring! Instead, it means choosing the right shade for your skin tone mixed with some gray. Although gray may look flat on the stick, it adds dimension to your face in a natural way.
Cream products range from light to dark. Shade can be visualized by the use of the gray scale. "0" equals white and "10" equals black on the gray scale. The shade of everyone's face can be found on the gray scale.
When a base is too light or too dark on the skin, you add either a lighter color or a darker color to the mix to find the perfect shade for you. A shade is gray in color, but gray represents lightness to darkness.
To avoid looking too dark or too light (or even too red/orange), adding a cool tone gray contour can help mix the two tones so that you have the right amount of gray and amount of warmth to add dimension.
The product portion of a contour stick is called the "lead." A thin lead is ideal for small areas like the sides of your nose and the area over your lip. However, it can break easier than a thick lead, especially if you twist it up too much.
On the other hand, a thick lead allows you to apply the product quickly in larger areas like your cheekbones, forehead, and jawline. Plus, it tends to be more durable!
For a natural-looking effect, get a contour stick that's soft, smooth, and pigmented. Take a look at the product reviews to see if people like the consistency. If you're looking for a convenient on-the-go option, consider a two-in-one design that includes contouring and highlighter or ones that come with a brush.
Having a contour palette is like having an eyeshadow palette - they both have many options of shades to use on different days to create different looks. A contour palette can look intimidating, but a good palette will have many shades and many different purposes.
They should be easy to use because it has concealer options, correcting options, bronzing options, contouring options, and sometimes even blush options. Common shades in a palette are yellow, white, nude, pink, and skin tones from light to dark. Makeup shouldn't be stressful! It's there to help build our confidence when we need it and give us that snatched glowy bronzed look."
These are some of the most popular contour sticks that can be purchased online. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Natalya Lowe unless explicitly stated so.
NYX Professional Makeup
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Wet n Wild
Make Up For Ever
Maybelline New York
Skin Foundation Stick
Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick
Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick
Contour & Highlight Stick
Teint Idole Ultra Wear 5-In-1 Foundation Stick
MegaGlo Makeup Stick Conceal and Contour
Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour
Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation
Fit Me Foundation Stick
Water-Resistant Foundation Stick Suits All Skin Tones
A Buildable Contour Cream That Lasts All Day
2-in-1 Contour and Highlight Stick
SPF 25 Contouring Stick for Dry Skin
Highly-Pigmented Contouring Stick With Cool Undertones
Multitasking Stick With a Built-In Kabuki Brush
Cruelty-Free and Blendable Contour Stick
Oil-Free Formula With a Natural Finish
Buildable Coverage for Dry or Normal Skin
Fragrance-Free Contour Stick That Controls Shine
|Amount||0.31 oz.||0.25 oz.||0.28 oz.||0.35 oz.||0.32 oz.||0.33 oz.||0.21 oz.||0.21 oz.||0.44 oz.||0.32 oz.|
|Highlights||Free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, tricolsan||Cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan; free of parabens, phthalates||Vegan||SPF protection; free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, coal tar||Cruelty-free, vegan; free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, fragrance||Oil-free||Cruelty-free||Free of parabens, oil||None||Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free|
|Highlights||Free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, tricolsan|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan; free of parabens, phthalates|
|Highlights||SPF protection; free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, coal tar|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free, vegan; free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, fragrance|
|Highlights||Free of parabens, oil|
The new contour stick people are raving for is the Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer Stick by Selena Gomez, sold at Sephora. There are five shades to choose from for your skin tone, and it gives you natural and long-lasting coverage.
It is a smooth application that gives you that natural glow without getting cakey on the face. This is a cruelty-free product that went viral on social media and lives up to its hype. I love using this for a fast application to add warmth to the face and it is easy to build up for more coverage and dimension.
In addition to reviewing and commenting on our buying guide, Natalya also took the time to answer some commonly-asked questions about contour sticks.
Natalya explains, "Draw a light line where you want the contour and sculpt the face, then blend with your fingers (which adds warmth to easily blend), a wet damp beauty blender, or a dense contouring brush to blend upwards in circular motions. The areas you want to focus on with a contour stick are the cheekbones, jawline, and forehead. You can contour the nose if needed as well.
It's easier to use a thicker contour stick to draw on bigger areas of the face like the jawline, forehead, and cheekbones. For smaller areas, you want to use a smaller contour stick. You want to apply the cream contour stick over your cream or liquid foundation to get the best blended application.
To keep your face from looking muddy, make sure you find the best color for you and blend it to a natural finish. Take your time with cream contour sticks to keep it from looking messy. The lighter the touch, the better the blend."
"If you don't have a contour product, using a darker shade of cream or liquid foundation can do the job," Natalya says. "Using a stippling brush to apply a darker shade than your foundation can give you that contoured look.
If you don't have any cream products to contour with, you can go in with a powder product to achieve the same look. You should set your foundation first with a powder to create a beautiful blend with your bronzing shade.
Packing the product on with an angled dense brush will deepen the look and give you a more sculpted face. If you don't have any powder contouring shades, though, you can even use eyeshadow palettes and a brush to apply in areas you want to be sculpted."
Looking for more portable makeup items? Check out some of our favorite products that are easy to carry around and make touch-ups a breeze.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary, as well as extra tips and advice. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
Home electronics, PC, camera
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones
Investment and asset management
Credit cards and loans