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The Best Drugstore Contour Kits

Clare Holden
Written by Clare Holden

No makeup look is complete without a touch of contour. Once you have your base applied, adding in a dash of shading under your cheekbones and a dab of highlighter will help to bring out your best features and emphasize your bone structure.

Contour kits are an essential addition to any makeup collection. Available in both cream and powder finishes, they help you to sculpt and define your face and complete your overall makeup look. The difference — while ever so subtle — elevates the overall appearance of your base.

We went in search of the best drugstore contour kits and evaluated all of the options available — taking into consideration ingredients, finish, price and texture, finally landing on these gems.

The 15 Best Drugstore Contour Kits

Finding the Best Drugstore Contour Kits

Good contour can work wonders when it comes to defining and sculpting your best features. With just a stroke of shading and a touch of highlighter, you can make your cheekbones pop and take your everyday makeup look to the next level.

Whether you prefer to keep it simple with a duo contour stick or want an entire palette of shades to choose from, the drugstore has plenty of high-quality options available. To ensure you find the right product for you, we’ve broken down all the important aspects to take into account when shopping for a contour kit.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Drugstore Contour Kits

Skin Type

Your skin type will determine which type of contour kit will work best for you. If you have dry skin, cream contour is a great choice, as it won’t dry out your skin or look flakey after a few hours of wear. For those with oily skin, powder will stay put longer and be less likely to go shiny.

Size

Think about when and where you intend to do your contour. If you apply your full face of makeup at home, a palette is ideal, as it houses all the tools you need to define and sculpt  in one place. If you do your makeup on-to-go or after the gym, a dual ended stick takes up minimum space and can be applied in seconds.

Brand

NYX and e.l.f have some amazing contour kit offerings worthy of a place in any professional makeup artist’s kit. If you have sensitive skin, Physicians Formula is always a safe bet to avoid irritation, and if you are on a budget, wet n wild has some quality affordable options.

Use

Contour is most commonly used to make the cheekbones stand out and highlight the temples, but it can also be applied to shape the nose, shade the upper forehead and define the jawline. Because of the multiple ways in which it can be used to accentuate your best features, having a contour kit in your makeup bag is an absolute essential.

Shades

Contour kits contain at least one dark shade to define and one light shade to highlight. Both cream and matte work equally well, while having a highlighter with a slight shimmer to it can  really help to add a touch of soft-glam to your makeup look.

What are the Different Types of Drugstore Contour Kits?

Palette

A few years ago contour palettes went viral on social media with beauty influencers everywhere uploading demos of how they use them to sculpt their faces. In fact, they are now considered a beauty staple. If you are serious about contouring, palettes are a must-have, as they provide you with everything you need to define and highlight.

Stick

Contour sticks are a handy and quick solution to achieve defined cheekbones in a hurry. Their creamy consistency makes them so easy to apply, you don’t even need a brush and can simply blend them in using your fingertips.

Powder

Powder contour provides a chic and classic finish that can be paired with matte lipstick and eyeshadow for a timeless look or used to balance out a glossy lip or shimmery eye and prevent your makeup from looking too shiny.

1

Best Overall: NYX Professional Makeup Conceal Correct Contour Palette

Pros

  • Comes in four options
  • Professional quality
  • Easy to blend

Cons

  • Some may prefer a powder finish
  • Slightly big to carry with you

NYX never fails when it comes to giving you all the tools you need to achieve a professional-looking finish to your makeup. Embrace your inner makeup artist with this palette which comes in four different options to ensure you have the exact shades for your complexion to sculpt, shade and define.

The creamy texture is easy to blend and works with all skin types. In addition to light, medium and dark palettes, there is also a Color Correcting option which is ideal for anyone who suffers from redness or pigmentation.

2

Best Budget: wet n wild MegaGlo Contouring Duo Palette

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Available in two shade options
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Some may prefer more shades
  • Not for those looking for a cream texture

If you are new to contouring or looking for an option you can carry with you at all times, this handy dual contour compact from wet n wild makes achieving a sculpted face easy by breaking it down into two simple steps.

Coming in at just under $5, it contains a deeper shade to define and a shimmering tone to highlight and really make your cheekbones pop. The velvety texture also means it can be applied and blended using the fingertips.

3

Best for Sensitive Skin: Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Butter Bronzer Contour Palette

Pros

  • Contains skin nourishing ingredients
  • Cruelty-free
  • Moisturizing

Cons

  • Only comes in one shade option
  • Not for those looking for a creamy finish

This delicious contour trio from Physicians Formula is infused with Amazonian butters to keep the skin hydrated and soft while you wear them. There is no fear of your skin drying out when using these shades to sculpt and define, as the smooth powders blend seamlessly for a natural finish.

If you are looking to create subtle definition, these pigments melt into the skin without causing any irritation due to their dermatologically-tested formula.

4

Best for Everyday: e.l.f. Cream Contour Palette

Pros

  • Blendable
  • Cruelty-free
  • Rich shades

Cons

  • Not for those who prefer a powder finish
  • Basic packaging

E.l.f redefined drugstore beauty by creating makeup with professional-grade ingredients at affordable prices. Their quartet of creamy shades is the perfect go-to option for an everyday sculpted look that takes only minutes to apply.

The multi-purpose combo of three rich shades and one highlighter can be used for everything from defining the cheekbones and shading the nose to highlighting the temples.

5

Best for Beginners: NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Cream Highlight and Contour Stick

Pros

  • Wide range of shades
  • No mess application
  • Easy to blend

Cons

  • Not everyone may like a stick contour
  • Some may prefer a powder contour

There is a reason these contour sticks from NYX are bestsellers — they are just so easy to use. If you thought you had to be a professional makeup artist to create a sculpted base, these sticks prove that literally anyone can define their cheekbones to make their best features standout.

The dual-ended pen comes in eight different shade options, enabling you to get super specific with coloring matching to your natural complexion and achieve a complementary contoured base.

6

Best Palette: Milani All Inclusive Eye, Cheek & Face Palette

Pros

  • Multi-use
  • Contains shimmer and matte finishes
  • Buildable shades

Cons

  • No cream options
  • Sometimes sells out

This palette from drugstore favorites Milani has everything you need to create an entire beauty look. The shades all complement each other perfectly and there are endless combinations to ensure you never run out of ways to refresh your look.

This palette is the ideal option for anyone who loves to mix up their makeup and experiment with shades and colors. The pigments are also buildable which means they work equally well for both day and night.

7

Best for Dark Skin: Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette

Pros

  • Available in both cream and powder finish
  • Rich pigment
  • Oil free

Cons

  • Basic packaging
  • Doesn’t come with mirror

These contour kits from Black Radiance come in both powder and cream formulas, allowing you to choose your preferred finish. Each palette includes a step-by-step guide showing you how to apply each shade, enabling you to sculpt and define like an expert.

The oil-free formula also makes these kits a great option for anyone prone to breakouts or whose skin tends to lean on the shiny side.

8

Best Powder: ​​Maybelline Facestudio Master Contour Face Contouring Kit

Pros

  • Available in 2 shade options
  • Includes brush
  • Easy to blend

Cons

  • Doesn't come with mirror
  • Not for those looking for a cream finish

If you like to keep your makeup natural and timeless, this powder contour kit is the ideal option to create an elegantly sculpted and defined base without ever looking too shimmery. This handy trio of shading and highlighting tones not only comes with an angled brush, but also a guide that shows you how to apply them correctly.

In three simple steps, this contour kit allows you to elevate your everyday makeup by adding subtle definition and emphasizing your bone structure.

9

Best Cream: Ruby Kisses Flawless Finish with 3D Contour Cream Palette

Pros

  • Contains 8 shades
  • Available in 4 options
  • Blendable pigments

Cons

  • Not for those looking for a powder finish
  • Not as widely available

Cream contour is the go-to choice for anyone who favors a soft-glam makeup look or a dewy base. This contour palette contains eight easy-to-blend shades that can be applied using your fingertips, a brush or a sponge.

The long-lasting cream pigments can be worn on their own, teamed together or built up to achieve a more dramatic sculpted look that will stay smudge-free all day or night.

10

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: L’Oreal Paris Infallible Total Cover Concealing and Contour Kit

Pros

  • Contains concealer
  • Covers redness
  • Comes with applicator

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • No shimmer option

The rich and creamy pigments in this kit not only give you the shades you need to contour but also provide sufficient coverage to conceal any blemishes or redness. If your skin tends to breakout from time to time, having one of these on hand means that no matter what phase your skin is going through, you will always be able to keep your face sculpted and defined.

Despite their strong coverage, the shades can be used individually or blended together while still feeling lightweight on the skin.

11

Best for Fair Skin: CoverGirl Instant Cheekbones Contouring Blush Peach Perfection

Pros

  • Flattering tones
  • Comes with brush
  • Dermatologically-tested product

Cons

  • Not for those looking for a cream contour
  • Basic packaging

This peach-toned contour trio from CoverGirl is the perfect option for those with fair skin who find deep brown shades too dark for their complexion and make their makeup appear too heavy.

The warm powder shades add natural definition to porcelain skin without ever looking cakey, while the pigments provide a gorgeous looking healthy glow with a weightless feel.

12

Best for Medium Skin: Revlon Photoready Contouring Palette Insta-sculpt

Pros

  • Silky texture
  • Glow finish
  • Blurs pores

Cons

  • Not as widely available
  • Basic packaging

This quartet of contour and highlighting shades hit the sweet spot between powder and cream. The pigments have a velvety silk feel and melt into the skin for a glowing finish. If you are looking to add a radiant touch to your base, this is the kit to go for.

In addition to the luminous colors, these pigments also have the extra benefit of being infused with pore-blurring technology to add a softer appearance to your face.

13

Best Shade Range: Profusion Cosmetics Radiant Glow Masterpiece Trendsetter 8 Color Contour Palette

Pros

  • Includes 8 shades
  • Comes with brushes
  • Both matte and shimmer finishes

Cons

  • Not as widely available
  • No creamy option

This is the contour kit of dreams. Not only does it have eigh shades to contour and highlight with — in a mix of both matte and shimmer finishes — it also comes with three professional brushes to ensure you have everything you need and more to achieve an expertly-applied sculpted base.

The powders are milled extra fine, so they blend seamlessly into the skin and can be built up to your desired strength.

14

Best for Mature Skin: Relove by Revolution Cream Contour

Pros

  • Great price
  • Cruelty-free
  • Ultra-creamy

Cons

  • Basic packaging
  • Limited shades

Cream contour is the best option for those with mature skin since it melts into the skin, as opposed to powder which tends to settle in fine lines and wrinkles. This two shade contour compact is the perfect option as the texture works with every skin type.

Coming in at just under $3, you simply can’t go wrong adding one of these duos to your makeup collection.

15

Best Stick: Maybelline New York Makeup Facestudio Master Contour V-Shape Duo Stick

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Available in 2 shades
  • Blends seamlessly

Cons

  • Sometimes sells out
  • Not for those looking for a powder

This contour stick has a sheer matte finish, making it the go-to choice for no-makeup makeup fans. If the word contour immediately evokes images of heavy stripey makeup, you will be amazed by how natural the finish of this product looks.

Super blendable and a breeze to apply, this dual-sided stick adds an ever-so-subtle definition to your base.

People Also Ask

  • Q: How do I apply contour?

    A:The easiest method is to apply the darker shade in a figure three starting from the top of the forehead down into just below the cheekbone and then along the jawline.

  • Q: Should I also use highlighter when I contour?

    A:Highlighter is optional, but when softly applied on the upper cheek and brow bone, it can really complete your look.

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

    A:Depending on your budget, there are some incredible contour sticks available for less than $5. As a little bit of contour goes a long way, a palette is a great investment, since it is something you will have in your makeup bag for a considerable amount of time.

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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