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The Best Cream Contour Palettes

Clare Holden
Written by Clare Holden

Everyone from makeup artists, to beauty influencers, to celebrities rave about cream contour’s ability to subtly define and sculpt your bone structure. In fact, it’s widely recognized among the beauty community that no good makeup look is complete without adding some dimension to the face with contour. Creamy textures are so easy to work with, a contour palette is a bonafide beauty bag staple.

Not only do they contain all the essential shades you need to sculpt your face, they also boast highlighting options to bring out your best features. Whether you are looking to invest in a luxury compact or are in the market for a drugstore option to use daily, we have curated a list of the best cream contour palettes available after carefully evaluating the options, testing them out and seeing how well they really work.

Check out our selection below with options for every skin tone, budget and use.

15 Best Cream Contour Palettes

  • Best Overall: NYX Professional Makeup Conceal Correct Contour Palette

    Best Overall: NYX Professional Makeup Conceal Correct Contour Palette

  • Best Budget: e.l.f. Cream Contour Palette

    Best Budget: e.l.f. Cream Contour Palette

  • Best Splurge: Ogee Face Stick Trio

    Best Splurge: Ogee Face Stick Trio

  • GXVE BY Gwen Stefani Pick It Up Cream Contour & Talc-Free Powder Bronzer Duo

    Best for Dry Skin: GXVE BY Gwen Stefani Pick It Up Cream Contour & Talc-Free Powder Bronzer Duo

  • wet n wild MegaGlo Dual-Ended Contour Stick

    Best Drugstore: wet n wild MegaGlo Dual-Ended Contour Stick

  • Make Up Forever HD Skin Cream Contour and Highlight Sculpting Palette

    Best Finish: Make Up Forever HD Skin Cream Contour and Highlight Sculpting Palette

  • Best Stick: NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick, Face Shaping and Contouring Stick

    Best Stick: NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick, Face Shaping and Contouring Stick

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

    Best for Oily Skin: Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

  • Mega Crèmes 4-in-1 Color Cream

    Best Shimmer: Mega Crèmes 4-in-1 Color Cream

  • Tom Ford Shade And Illuminate Cream Contour Duo

    Best Compact: Tom Ford Shade And Illuminate Cream Contour Duo

  • Fenty Beauty Match Stix Duo Contour + Highlighter Set

    Best for Beginners: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Duo Contour + Highlighter Set

  • Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick

    Best for Mature Skin: Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick

  • Best for Fair Skin: e.l.f. Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand

    Best for Fair Skin: e.l.f. Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand

  • Best for Dark Skin: Black Radiance True Complexion Creme Contour Palette

    Best for Dark Skin: Black Radiance True Complexion Creme Contour Palette

  • Best Medium Skin: NYX Professional Highlight & Contour Pro Palette

    Best Medium Skin: NYX Professional Highlight & Contour Pro Palette

Finding the Best Cream Contour Palettes

Cream contour works with every skin type. After all, the blendability of the formulas has seen them overtake their powder counterparts in popularity to become the go-to choice to define cheekbones, noses and jawlines.

Whether you are looking to invest in a new cream contour palette or have been wanting to make the switch over from powder for a while, our guide below has all the information you need to set you on your way to creating a perfectly sculpted base.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cream Contour Palettes

Finish 

Cream contour comes in both matte and shimmer finishes. Depending on your preferred style, going all matte always looks timeless, or if soft-glam is your game, then shimmer works amazingly well to keep your base looking dewy. If you’re not sure, you can never go wrong with the combo of a matte contour and a shimmer highlighter.

Size

Think about whether you want to take your contour with you on the go. Palettes are a great way to have a range of shades to choose from, but they can be slightly bulky to carry around with you. If you are looking for something to fit neatly in your handbag, a compact duo or contour stick is the best option.

Application

The great thing about cream contour is that because of their lush formulas, they can usually be blended in easily using just the fingertips or a sponge. Highlighters can also be placed on the face by gently dabbing the product along the upper cheekbone.

Skin Type

Cream contour works for all skin types. Those with dry skin will love how the product doesn’t cake or go flakey as powder might. If you have oily skin, go for a matte option to ensure your base doesn’t turn greasy, and finish off your look with a light mist of a mattifying setting spray to keep your contour in place.

Complexion

Finding the right shades of contour is key to achieving a natural looking definition. Under your cheekbones, you want a shade that is slightly darker than your own skin tone, and then to highlight, a sheer lighter color with a hint of shimmer will help emphasize your best features.

What are the Different Types of Cream Contour Palettes?

Matte

Matte contour is the classic choice to sculpt and define your bone structure. Having a matte contour palette in your makeup collection is an absolute staple as it gives you all the tools to shade and chisel and effortlessly elevate your base.

Shimmer 

Shimmer contour is an excellent way to add a touch of radiance to your face without looking too sparkly. It can also be combined with a matte lipstick or matte smokey eye to balance out your overall look and keep your face looking fresh.

Stick

If you have ever watched a contour tutorial on social media and found the countess steps overwhelming, take it back to basics with a dual-ended contour stick. With one of these handy makeup wands, you can easily achieve definition in minutes.

1

Best Overall: NYX Professional Makeup Conceal Correct Contour Palette

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Affordable
  • Bestseller

Cons

  • Basic packaging
  • No shimmer option

This choice from NYX takes our top spot on the list, as it is the quintessential cream contour palette. It checks all of the boxes in terms of shade choices, blendability and size. It’s available in four tone options — there is one for fair, medium and dark complexions as well as a color correcting version.

Priced at just over $11, it is great value for money, as the six creamy shades are so richly pigmented, you only need a tiny amount to sculpt your features. Simply put, this is a product that will last you a long time.

2

Best Budget: e.l.f. Cream Contour Palette

Pros

  • Works with all skin types
  • Compact size
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • No shimmer shade
  • Doesn’t include applicator

If you are new to contour or just looking for a wallet-friendly option, you can’t go wrong adding one of these creamy quartets to your makeup collection. At just $9, it gives you all the tools you need for sculpting and defining.

The four shades can be used on their own or blended together to create your preferred tone, and the smaller size makes it ideal for carrying with you to ensure your contour is always on point.

3

Best Splurge: Ogee Face Stick Trio

Pros

  • Luxurious feel
  • Luminous shades
  • Lightweight texture

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Some may prefer a more traditional palette

This dreamy trio of contour sticks helps make achieving that effortless glow easy. They are so simple to apply, and the luxurious formula means they melt into your skin — naturally enhancing all your best features.

The fact that they come in stick form makes for an extra clean and hygienic application, and you can even carry your favorite with you at all times.

4

Best for Dry Skin: GXVE BY Gwen Stefani Pick It Up Cream Contour & Talc-Free Powder Bronzer Duo

Pros

  • 5 color options
  • Comes with mirror
  • Contains both powder and cream

Cons

  • Some shades sell out
  • Not as widely available

Gwen Stefani has been setting makeup trends since her days as the frontwoman of No Doubt in the ‘90s, so it is no surprise that the contour kit from her brand GXVE is the ultimate combination of both cream and powder shades. They work together perfectly to create definition which offers a classic finish but with a contemporary twist.

The shades are also infused with squalane to keep the skin moisturized and cellulose to revitalize dull looking skin.

5

Best Drugstore: wet n wild MegaGlo Dual-Ended Contour Stick

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Mess-free application

Cons

  • Only 2 shades
  • Some may prefer darker tones

This dual-ended contour stick from wet n wild is an absolute drugstore gem. It makes sculpting your face so easy, that even beginners in the makeup world can achieve a well-defined base. The two creamy shades can be applied directly onto the face and blended in with either your fingertips, a brush or a sponge.

The darker end sculpts your cheekbones, sides of nose and jaw, while the lighter shade illuminates and makes any area it’s applied to pop.

6

Best Finish: Make Up Forever HD Skin Cream Contour and Highlight Sculpting Palette

Pros

  • Contains both shimmer and matte finishes
  • Buildable coverage
  • Long-lasting

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • May be too big for some users

This is one of the only palettes available on the market which combines both matte and shimmer finishes. With 12 different shades to choose from, this collection gives you everything you need to conceal, sculpt and highlight. The professional-grade formulas also make your base look like it has been expertly applied by a makeup artist.

This palette works for all skin types, while the shimmer tones add just the right amount of radiance to the skin.

7

Best Stick: NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick, Face Shaping and Contouring Stick

Pros

  • Comes in 8 shades
  • Easy to apply
  • Perfect for beginners

Cons

  • Some may prefer a palette or compact
  • No matte highlighter option

If you have had trouble finding the right contour shades for your complexion, these super handy contour sticks from NYX have one of the widest selections of shade choices on the market. Available in eight different tone options, you are bound to find your perfect match with this one.

While the darker color to contour is matte, the lighter highlighting shade has a slight shimmer to it which adds a touch of luminosity to your base.

8

Best for Oily Skin: Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

Pros

  • Velvet finish
  • Contains both shimmer and matte shades
  • Bestseller

Cons

  • Some may prefer a full cream contour
  • Might not work for those with dry skin

While the shades in this palette are technically powders, their formula is so silky that it had to be included on the list, especially for those with oily skin who find cream contour tends to make their face turn shiny.

This palette went viral when it was first released due to just how well the shades blend into the skin and naturally enhance your best features. Each color is refillable and replaceable — meaning you only have to replenish your favorite shades, not the entire palette, once you hit the pan.

9

Best Shimmer: Mega Crèmes 4-in-1 Color Cream

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • Luminous shades
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • Some may prefer a matte finish
  • Shades may mix together

This is the contour to reach for if soft-glam is your go-to look, as the shimmery shades will keep your makeup from looking anything but boring. Available in three different vibrant options, each compact contains four dewy creams which can be used to contour, blush, highlight and bronze.

They also have the added benefit of containing coconut extract to nourish your skin while wearing them, leaving your base feeling soft and moisturized.

10

Best Compact: Tom Ford Shade And Illuminate Cream Contour Duo

Pros

  • Luxury packaging
  • Fragrance free
  • Contains skin-enriching ingredients

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Only contains 2 shades

This luxurious offering from Tom Ford contains light-diffusing pearls to give your skin a three dimensional radiance which will leave your cheekbones popping. If you take a less-is-more approach to makeup, you will love how these two shades add natural definition to your face.

Infused with a powerful combination of moisturizing botanical oils including moringa, passion fruit and ginger, these shades deliver an unparalleled dreamy finish.

11

Best for Beginners: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Duo Contour + Highlighter Set

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin tones
  • Both shimmer and matte finishes
  • Lightweight feel

Cons

  • Not everyone may like a stick
  • Slightly more difficult to hold

Rihanna curated the shades of these contour sticks personally and her careful selection includes gorgeous tones such as Mocha and Champagne Heist. If you are new to contour and not sure where to start, any one of these duos will instantly elevate your makeup.

The cream-to powder formula blends effortlessly, and the lightweight texture won’t crease or cake throughout the day.

12

Best for Mature Skin: Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick

Pros

  • Luxury packaging
  • Skin nourishing ingredients
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Not as widely available

Cream contour is the perfect option for mature skin, as unlike powder, it won’t settle in fine lines or wrinkles. This stick was created by Jennifer Aniston’s favorite makeup artist Gucci Westman, and not only does it sculpt and define with ease, but it is also packed full of ingredients to keep your skin in peak condition.

In addition to being Infused with berry flux vita to deliver hydration and create a more youthful appearance, it also contains organic jojoba seed oil and kaolin clay as well as an anti-pollution shield.

13

Best for Fair Skin: e.l.f. Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand

Pros

  • Comes with applicator
  • Cruelty-free
  • Radiant finish

Cons

  • Maybe be too liquid for some people
  • No highlighting option

If you have fair skin, you may find that some of the shades in a traditional palette are too dark for your complexion and never end up being used. Curate your own contour collection with these creamy squalane infused liquid skin sculptors from e.l.f.

They enable you to create a perfectly defined dewy base that looks fresh and natural, and the sponge applicator tip means you don’t even need to use a brush.

14

Best for Dark Skin: Black Radiance True Complexion Creme Contour Palette

Pros

  • Easy to blend
  • 2 shade options
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No shimmer tone
  • Doesn’t come with a mirror

This is the go-to palette for anyone with dark skin looking to create a chiseled and defined base. Black Radiance has developed these shades to melt into the skin and blend in seamlessly to naturally enhance your own bone structure.

The palette even contains step-by-step instructions on the inside lid to guide you through your contour application and ensure you achieve the perfect result.

15

Best Medium Skin: NYX Professional Highlight & Contour Pro Palette

Pros

  • Contains 8 shades
  • Cruelty-free
  • Matte finish

Cons

  • Palette may be too big for some
  • Basic packaging

This is a palette for all seasons, containing eight shades to highlight and contour — it has a tone option to keep you sculpted and defined all year long. The powder formula has a creamy finish once applied to the skin, making the colors extremely easy to work with.

Each pigment has a buildable coverage, making this a great option for creating both everyday makeup and more dramatic night looks.

People Also Ask

  • Q: How do I apply cream contour?

    A:Cream contour can be applied using the fingertips, a brush or a sponge. Once you have finished your foundation, use the darker shades to add definition and the lighter shades to highlight. Go in light-handed, as it will be easier to blend out and build up the color gradually.

  • Q: Is cream contour better than powder?

    A:Both work extremely well, but cream contour tends to be quicker and easier to work with making it a great option for everyday makeup when you may not have a lot of time on your hands.

  • Q: How much should I spend on a cream contour palette?

    A:There are high-quality cream contour options available at every price point. Look at your budget and decide how much you can afford to spend.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Clare Holden

By Clare Holden

Beauty and style writer Clare has been a fan of makeup and fashion ever since she was a child. While studying for her degree in Journalism and Communications, Clare worked part-time on cosmetic counters. After graduating she went back and trained as a makeup artist after falling in love with beauty and skincare. She now splits her time between writing about all things makeup and running her own womenswear brand White Night.
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