The Best Contouring Makeup for a Natural Look

by Ivy Boyd

The Best Contouring Makeup for a Natural Look
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Highlighting and contouring is nothing new, but picking the right products can be intimidating. There are so many colors to choose from, making getting it right a little tricky: Choose a too-orange bronzer, and you’ll look clown-like; pick a too-dark contour powder, and the result can look dirty. If you want to get contouring right, check out my picks for the best contouring makeup!



1 of 10 Image Credits: Walmart

TheBalm Bahama Mama


This cool-toned bronzer is great for creating realistic shadows and contouring the nose. Because it's more of an ash-bronze, it's ideal for the hollows of your cheeks and other areas you want to recede.

2 of 10 Image Credits: NYX

NYX Wonder Stick


This cream contour stick simplifies the process, putting the powers of highlighting and contouring in one tool! NYX realized contouring isn't a one-size-fits-all technique and created four different shades.

3 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Becca Lowlight Sculpting Perfector


Becca is quickly becoming a highlight and contour authority. This cream contour is the perfect shade for creating shadow and the creamy texture makes it buildable and blendable. This is a true contour color, not a bronzer.

4 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit


This kit is unique: It's the only contour kit I know of that's broken down into four undertones—pink, neutral, gold, and dark. Choose the one closest to your undertone—when in doubt, go with neutral—so you can be sure that your contour is realistic.

5 of 10 Image Credits: Sephora

Anastasia Contour Kit


This is the queen bee of contour kits, but perhaps it's best for the pros due to its range. (Most people will never use all 6 colors—the most popular are banana and fawn.) I love this palette because, unlike all the others, you can buy refill pans

6 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Sonia Kashuk Chic Defining Contour Stick


This is a newer product that I've recently discovered. The smooth, emollient texture glides right on, thanks to African Walnut Seed Oil and Pistachio Butter. Mmm! It creates a contour that's lovely and fragrant!

7 of 10 Image Credits: Sephora

Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder


It's no surprise that the king of makeup—God rest his soul—would create the perfect cool-toned contour powder. The pan is a generous size and the color mimics the realistic shadow color better than any bronzer could.

8 of 10 Image Credits: NARS

NARS Contour Blush


NARS describes itself as "the blush authority," so it's fitting they'd finally capitalize on the contour craze! There are three different shade combinations, making it easy to customize your contour. Pair this with your favorite NARS blush, such as Orgasm, and you'll be sculpted perfection!

9 of 10 Image Credits: Sephora

Smashbox Contour Palette


This palette is a bit different from other two-fers because it contains both a contour shade and a bronzer along with a highlight. Smashbox suggests you apply your contour shade, then follow with the bronzer to blend it out. This creates a softer, more realistic fade.

10 of 10 Image Credits: Sephora

Benefit Hoola


If you're new at the contour game, Benefit's Hoola is a great starter product. It's technically a matte bronzer, but it isn't too orange and though it looks light, it works for almost all skin tones. It's super silky and not chalky or powdery.