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Contour Brushes

These can be such a challenge to find the right angle and width for your face shape! I tend to prefer a smaller brush head so I know it’ll fit where I need it to (hollows of the cheeks), but then I’ll look for one that is less dense so it will be forgiving to use.

— Christine

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20 Comments

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Profile photo of Nicole

For powder contouring or cream contouring, I use something small and then always buff it out with a larger brush or beauty blender (cream). But, I have not been contouring much. The ones I like are Sephora #74 for powder and Mac #159 for cream. I have been wanting this crazy big contouring brush form Sephora. I know it will never get used though. So, trying to resist!

Profile photo of Nicole

I totally did not answer right! Sorry. I get an F.
New answer- I do not like “contouring brushes” generally. Only one I use is the Sephora #74. Love it for powder. Small and fits in the hollows of cheeks. i have 2 and have been using it forever-like since it came out! I prefer just small brushes. They are usually a paddle brush or made for cream foundation/blush. fingers work good for placement of cream then blend out with a beauty blender or a big duo fibre brush.
I’m not an expert on the subject though. Not into contouring really. I recently bought the ABH contouring kit in Med. I just got around to playing with it this weekend. No idea what I was thinking! I cannot figure this thing out! the contours are brown. I don’t get it. It’s annoying me. If anyone has this and has a suggestion,please feel free to lmk.

Profile photo of Fran

I’ve been using various shapes of blush and generic face brushes for contouring, rather than purchasing a specific contour brush (mostly Wayne Goss 00, MUFE #160, Hourglass No. 2). But, the contouring I do is pretty subtle/conservative.

Profile photo of Pearl

I only have one contour brush – MAC 168. I don’t contour that much and do it just for fun or when I have extra time. For the little that I do, this one suits me and I have no complaints. I like the angle and that I can use it to drag product across and then lightly buff upwards. Mine never seems to pick up too much or transfer too much product which is a good thing for my purposes, but that could also be because I only lightly swipe it on my contour shade (Kevyn Aucoin Medium).

It’s probably a good thing that the one contour brush I have is white – I don’t like getting white brushes dirty. I have a hard time using the MAC 217 and 239 as well. I’m fine with duo fibres, but I shy away from dirtying my all white brushes. If I had a brown colored contour brush, I’d leave the house looking like one angular mofo. 😀

Profile photo of Wwendy

I like the small round short duo fibre from MAC.. I do not like angled brushes particularly because I think they could potentially add to the whole contouring racing stripe look. I like the round shape because it forces me to to think in terms of circular blending strokes rather than swiping.

I got a small, rounded-dome like brush from sephora for “contour” – but I feel like the bristles are so densely packed that it moves my foundation around when I use it, while depositing very pigmented color which I need to blend out with an angled contour/blush brush anyway, so I don’t really use it. Sticking with my natural hair angled contour brush for the whole job (also from sephora) which is easier to use with a lighter hand, as well.

Profile photo of Celia

I play around a lot with various contour brushes to get a range of effects, but for everyday super subtle contouring I prefer my basic RealTechnique’s brushes. Particularly the angled Foundation brush and the more domed Contour brush. The Foundation brush has a lovely angle to it for placement and can be used for any level of application, light to heavy. The Contour brush works well for buffing and blending, allowing you to make the contour as subtle or seamless as needed. Though both are best with creamier formulas, I don’t have a problem using them with powders.

Profile photo of Celia

Whoops! Accidentally cut off my love/hate part! Copying here:

I love the increasing variety on the market that allows for truly planning your application technique and finding a brush that fits really well with your unique contours. But with so many around, finding the ones that fit you can be hard or expensive. Hate that it can be hard to find brushes that work well with any kind of finish (powder, cream, gel, liquid, etc).

Profile photo of Momo

I love using contouring brushes, but as Christine said, it can be a challenge finding a brush to fit the shape of your face.

😊 FACE:
My main brush of choice for contouring along my jaw, cheeks, and forehead, is a fluffy, medium-sized angle brush (CVS’ Essence of Beauty dual-ended blush & powder brush or Target’s Up & Up™ angled brush) . I occasionally utilize a flat, contour brush (Sonia Kashuk 15ᵗʰ Anniversary contour brush), but I only like using them to shape my cheeks. The flat brushes can sometimes be too bulky, dense, and rough on the skin; they usually work best with liquid or cream contouring products. Tapered/Pointed cheek brushes (Morphe M438) are also fantastic, because they fit perfectly along the cheekbone area; and they work really well with powder contouring products.

👃 NOSE:
I don’t contour my nose often, but when I do, I only like 3 types of brushes.
• Mini/Small flat contour brush (Soho London contour brush): the bristles of the smaller contour brushes are usually softer than its larger counterpart. It’s great for creating a straight, blendable line during application.
• Large fluff eyeshadow brush (Sigma E50): this brush is normally reserved for applying a concentrated amount of eyeshadow, but it’s perfect for creating and blending a soft, nose contour [with powdered products], and the application process is quick (for those of us who don’t like spending too much time on doing our contour technique).
• Flat [liquid] foundation brush (Real Techniques Pointed Foundation Brush): I hardly use flat foundation brushes anymore for an all-over application, but using them to contour my nose [with powder] has been a god sent. The thinner the foundation brush, the better.

Profile photo of Nancy T

Well, I guess I hit the jackpot when I bought my e.l.f. Studio Contour brush! No complaints! I love how soft the fibers feel, easy to use shape, and that it’s not made from goat hair (severely allergic, but I used to tend goats, sheep, horses and rabbits as a kid, so Idk how years later I can’t use many animal hair products???).

Profile photo of Rachel R.

It took me forever to find one I liked. I use powder contours. My favorites are the e.l.f. Contouring Brush and the e.l.f. Sculpting Face Brush. Tarte’s The Slenderizer is really good, too. I like a thinner brush for my nose. I use the Coastal Scents Classic Flat Tipped Shadow Natural Brush.

I just use a fluffyish paddle brush from ELF, one of the $3 ones, I think it’s called the “complexion brush.” I’m not after a super chiseled look and I use barely any product in fear of it being too noticeable. A paddle brush is fine for me because it’s flat enough for the hollow area but isn’t going to deposit color in a thin streak that needs to be blended out with a separate brush. I’m not into using more than one brush for a job other than eyeshadow.

Profile photo of Jessica

I feel like an idiot, but I do not understand angled brushes and never will. You can’t achieve a tapered shape because the wide end eventually reaches where you just put the small end as you are sweeping and it just becomes a line uniform the size of the wide end.

I think you’re misunderstanding why angled brushes are good for contouring. The angle allows you to find the hollow under your cheekbones easier than a rounded brush. So you just rest the brush under your cheekbones and it perfectly fits there if it’s small, also size depends on size of face.
Another thing is that by tapping only the small side of the brush in the powder, you can use the rest of the brush to blend and do the work. Kind of like people use a clean brush to blend eyeshadow.
My favorite contour brush though is the Rae Morris ultimate cheekbone. It’s amazing even though it’s very different from an angled brush.
But it makes contour so easy because it finds your cheekbones but also just like an angle brush but even better, by dipping one end into powder you are left with most of the brush to blend.

I don’t really contour but going in those areas I find easiest with teardrop or slanted angled small blush brushes.

Profile photo of Renè

We all have different faces and structures with different preferences on what we want enhance. Not every brush fits all faces. I do like that there are many contour brushes available or brushes that can makeshift into a contour brush.

Personally, I don’t contour that often but when I do, I use the mini brush that came with my Benefit Dallas blush as it is the perfect size for me. Not bad since it came free with the blush.

The Makeup Geek Round Blush Brush usually does the trick for me! I always go over my cheeks with a bare duo fibre brush to blend everything so I like that it’s small and precise 🙂

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