Friday, February 10th, 2012

Temptalia Asks You


What are your go-to products for contouring? Share your finds! (And telling us your skin tone is helpful!)

Temptalia's AnswerI use MAC Sculpt sculpting powder, and I’m NC25.

Thanks to Elle for today’s question! Have a question idea? Submit yours here.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

71 thoughts on “What are your go-to products for contouring?

  1. Caitlin

    I’ve used Benefit Hoola for quite a while for that. I still love it but I’m looking to switch it up! I hear good things about that chocolate one from Too Faced.

    • I use the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil for bronzing. I really like the matte finish and the color (which you can apply lightly on fair skin or more heavily on darker, so I think it may work for many skin tones). And the chocolate scent, of course! :)

  2. Right now I use Illamasqua Heroine eye shadow to contour my cheeks, along with the Real Techniques contour brush.

  3. Heather

    I use MAC mineralize skinfinish in medium dark. Its perfect for my nc20 skin!

    • sunny

      i use mine in dark. And, I’m an nc35. just for reference!

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Rosemary Rosie

        Could someone please tell me how you know what color code you are? I have seen it all over the place for years, but I don’t know what it is, nor who makes the designation as to what you are.

        • shaina

          It’s the MAC shade labels. I think NW is neutral warm and NC is neutral cool? I could be wrong. But I find that NC suits yellow/warm undertones and NW suits cool undertones. You can go to any MAC counter and just ask to get your color matched. :)
          For reference, I’m a light-medium skinned Asian and I use NC30 :)

        • They are the MAC foundation colours. Pink undertones are NW, yellow are NC. The bigger numbers are darker tones. You can find out what you are by going to a MAC store or counter. :)

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Amy Amy

    Anything cream with a cool or grey undertone. Looks more natural that way cuz shadows tend to have a grey or cool look to it :3

  5. I have three products that I use for countouring. My main two are MAC mineralize skinfinish natural in medium deep (a couple shades darker than my skintone), and benefit hoola. I have them swatched on my blog here: http://projectswatch.blogspot.com/2012/01/project-swatch-6-highlight-contour.html Once I swatched them, I realized that Hoola is a better product for me, since it’s cooler/ has less red in it.

    I also have a taupe-ish Inglot eyeshadow that I occasionally use to deepen the shadows. I think it’s 349.

  6. Ana

    Nars Laguna Bronzer or Tarte Park Avenue! I’m NC35

  7. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Kelly Kelly

    I just recently purchased Chanel’s bronze universal and so far I really like it. Iv been applying it with the angled contour brush from the sigma bunny collection. I’m really pale (N4 @ Mac) so it work as a contour on me

  8. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Laurence Laurence

    Hey Christine I was actually wondering about this particular shade of sculpting powder, do you if it was limited edition or if it is just a pro product ?? I’m dying to have it cause none of the bronzers i have make good contouring powders so..

    • It’s a PRO product but has been made for all customers, just as a limited edition product.

      • BooBooNinja

        Christine, when you mention the LE product, I am assuming you are referring to the Sculpt & Shape Duos.
        I was wondering how the Accentuate shaping powder compares to the Too Chic beauty powder.
        Thanks!

        • Sculpt is permanent at MAC PRO stores :) I don’t use the duos – I actually use a single pan of Sculpt! Accentuate doesn’t compare at all — Too Chic has a TON of shimmer, probably 5x as much as Accentuate! Accentuate is much more refined and finely-milled.

  9. I’ve tried many products for this… my current favorite is ELF powder in Toffee, Benefit Hoola and Giorgio Armani Bronzer in 01. MAC 109 brush is my best ally for contouring.

    Other products I’ve tried are The Body Shop matte bronzer 01, Lancome Star Bronzer 04 (I still use this one when I want to look tanned), MAC MSFN Deep Dark (I don’t recommend this since I looked orange). One I do recommend is MAC Copperplate eyeshadow.

    My skintone is NC35

  10. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Laurence Laurence

    Oh and I use NYX Taupe blush for the moment but I really don’t like it, doesn’t look natural ! I used MAC Cork for quite a while but didn’t really like it either. I just ordered Benefit Hoola so we’ll see how that goes. I’m NC20 in MAC,118 in MUFE HD, Ceylan in NARS SG, and Nude in Revlon Colorstay :)

  11. Christa

    NC15-20. I like Nars Laguna.

  12. heidi

    I don’t usually contour because my skin is so fair that I have a hard time finding a bronzer that doesn’t look really dark on me. But when I do I use the sleek face contour kit. Its so good, I prefer the highligher side but the bronzer is good too.

  13. Astra

    Nars Laguna or Mac Harmony Blush

  14. I wish I had a larger pan of MAC’s Quarry eyeshadow, because it makes for a great contour for me. Love that shadow to death.

  15. Kristabelle

    Benefit Hoola! Only one that works on my super pale skin and doesn’t look like orange streaks (looking at you, MAC MSF) or dirt. Forever grateful to Xsparkage for introducing me to it.

  16. Julia

    MAC Sculpt
    MAC Pressed Amber
    Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed

    my favorite is currently pressed amber. it works amazingly and the marbling makes it look more natural. I’m NW15 or maybe a little lighter.

    for daytime i use MAC 138 and if i go out at night i use a Sephora Professional 56 Brush.

  17. Miss J

    I’m about NC20 right now, Gobi/Ceylan in NARS Sheer Glow (Gobi at the moment.), #117 in MUFE (Slightly too light.).

    I use any of the following:

    1. MAC MSF Natural in Medium Deep. Such a sheer, soft powder, so makes a great more natural highlight on skin. It doesn’t provide too dramatic of a contour, but gives a subtle dimension.

    2. Before it was discontinued, NARS Tuomota, but now for a cream highlight I use Illamasqua’s Cream Pigment in Hollow. It’s sort of a greyed-taupe. Blendable and can be sheered out nicely.

    3. MAC Sculpt Powder (I believe it’s a PRO product.). I use either Bone Beige or Sculpt.

    4. Too Face Chocolate Soleil Bronzer. (I think the above products are better for contouring, but I use this one when I’m in a pinch and want to do double duty of bronzing and contouring.)

    I also sometimes will contour with darker foundation shades about 2-3 shades darker. Maybe 4. MAYBE. If i am tan, I will go darker. Right now, I would stick with 2 or 3 at most.

  18. Wow I feel special because I use the same thing as Christine haha! I too, use the MAC Pro Sculpting Powder in Sculpt. I’m NC20.

    It’s the perfect medium brown that leans a bit cool or taupe, which makes it look more like a shadow. The $$/oz is very good too, and the texture is sublimely smooth and silky, without being powdery or chalky. In my opinion, it’s definitely a step above things like Hoola and Chocolate Soleil.

  19. Kate

    guerlain’s terracota bronzing powder

  20. I use Too Faced bronzer in Chocolate Soleil. Mine comes in a compact as a duo with their Candlelight pressed powder, which I use for subtle highlighting.

  21. bdncr

    Same with Christine.
    I love it because it blends perfeclty, it’s different than a simply darker powder that can seem fake, that one gives depth.

  22. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Daniela Daniela

    I recently bought MAC Harmony and I love it for contouring!

  23. Yazmin

    Nars Rapa Nui multiple, Mac Blunt blush (wish they made this permanent!)
    or Chanel bronzing powder in 63 terre ambre. I use either a mac 209 brush, or my smashbox kabuki brush.

  24. MAC Harmony and Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer. I’m NC30 at the moment and this bronzer just a shade darker! In summer I’ll probably have to stick to Harmony.

  25. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Diana Diana

    I purchased Harmony Matte Blush (MAC) at my favorite MAC counter, and it’s beautiful on my NW20 skin. I decided to try Too Faced Chocolate Soleil and have not been able to wear makeup since. Going on a week now I have the broken out skin reminiscent of when I was 16. It’s everywhere that the bronzer touched. I feel stupid for trying something other than the Harmony that I was matched with. Lesson learned. (I hope!) I hope this goes away soon so that I can enjoy the new MAC purchases I just made. Broken hearted.

  26. I use MUFE Sculpting Kit number 2. My skintone is nc20.

  27. ColourlessColour

    I am very fair and I use Pink Cult Powder Blush by Mac on which I unfortunately hit pan today! :(

  28. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Maria Ida

    I’m NC15 and I use Mac eyeshadow Omega for contouring and Mac Harmony blush as to.. well, blushing, to bring a bit warmth to it all. They go really well together and the result is quite natural. I only wish I found a powder or a blush or anything that came in a bigger pan than Mac eyeshadows, it’s so difficult to get the color out to the shading brush…

    Unfortunately it seems that most blushes and even powders are so darn warm in tone and I absolutely want my contour cool, greyish and without a hint of orange, it seems to look the most natural with me.

  29. Kathy S.

    Powder: MAC Sculpt powder (I love their Shape powders for highlighting, too, by the way.) You can use any powder to contour, but I find that these are just easy to work with.
    Cream: Ben Nye has some cream highlighting and shading creams that are easy to work with. Their Cream Shadow Wheel (SK-3) is dark enough to sculpt out some darker complexions. They can be used as a cream shadow, too.

    The reason that I mention the highlights is that I’ve had to use one or two on very pale clients before.

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Mariella Mariella

    I rarely contour (it always looks weird on me) but when I do, I use either TheBalm’s Bahama Mama bronzer or MAC’s Wedge eyeshadow (it’s not terrific on my eyes but works well as a contour).

  31. Lynnie

    Just started using MAC Harmony and love it

  32. Eileen

    I’ve discovered Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate #01. It is a cream formulation that blends like a dream. The set includes a highlighting shade and a contouring shade. This is a product for someone who knows how to contour and understands a bit about bone structure. If I wore MAC, I’d be NC15.

  33. Johanna

    I use Mac Harmony to countour with :) Im a nc15 in Mac. And I use a Mac 109 brush :)

  34. Leah

    I use MAC Harmony. It doesn’t go too warm on me and it doesn’t look like dirt on my pale skin.

  35. Alicia

    I have coastal scents blush and contour palette, but I mainly just use the lighter colors to highlight and the blush, since the contour tends to look dirty when applied IMO. I love benefit Hoola and BareMinerals Faux Tan to contour- they both look very natural on me and are pretty universally flattering on most light to medium skin tones in my experience.

  36. Rachelle T

    I love using Benefit’s Hoola for my NC25 skin!:) doesn’t have an orange tone to it and it doesn’t make me look like I have a dirty face.. Lol! Just the right color!

  37. I still haven’t found a colour I’m comfortable contouring on my NW20 skin. Sigh.

  38. I just use whatever I have around that’ll work well – a warm brown, taupe, dark grey-purple, I’ve even used black felt tip liner (a small amount and smudged, of course).
    I’m NW20, I believe. ~

  39. Jess J

    I use MAC taupe blush and I’m suuuper pale

  40. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of KRISTANNA Kristanna

    Im fair. Mac Malt.

  41. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Shelly shelly

    Currently using MAC Strada (normal size) to contour (I want to try MAC Taupe blush, MAC Omega e/s, or Illamasqua Hollow cream pigment), and my shade in most (if not all) MAC foundations does not exist as they don’t go light enough for me. I can wear Illamasqua Light Liquid Foundation in #115, Maybelline Fit Me in #110, and would wear Siberia in NARS’ foundation range.

  42. Sehrish

    Im surprised how no one mentioned sleek contouring kits. they are awesome!

  43. NARS Casino, MUFE Mat Bronze shade 4, and Sleek Contouring kit in medium. I am MAC NC42.

  44. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of tzwiggy t_zwiggy

    I’m currently using MAC Strada blush. I have used Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer and MAC Taupe blush in the past. I’m NW20-25.

  45. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of nancy nancy y.

    im nc40 and i LOVE LOVE Elf’s contouring blush and bronzer compact!! use it everyday! its the only bronzer i use to contour

  46. Marian

    I use MAC’s Blunt Blush, I’m a nc45.

  47. I used to swear by NYX Liquid Makeup Contour but have switched over to Fyrinnae Cosmetics Matte Bronzer in Medium since I wanted something that had a more natural finish. To contour my nose I use NYX’s Eyebrow Cake Powder in Ash.

    My skintone is NW30.

  48. Pappetee

    I am NC 25 during winter and I use either MAC Refined Golden, Benefit Hoola or NARS Laguna. :-)

  49. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Elle Elle

    YAY! my question was selected! Lately I’ve tried the Cover Girl Queen Collection bronzer in Ebony Bronze. I am a NW45 in MAC foundations!

  50. Amanda

    Im NC20 and my fav has got to be MACs Emote blush for contouring. LE of course :( I wonder why theve never repromoted???? It’s been years.

  51. Em

    I’m NC 15 and I reach for MAC’s Pressed Amber the most, but that’s limited edition from last year. Something you can get your hands on that I use often is Benefit Hoola.

  52. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Dinitchka Dinitchka

    Currently I use So Baked Bronzer by Hard Candy applied with NARS’ Ita kabuki brush.

  53. To venture into the world of contouring, I recently bought a pan of NYX Matte Bronzing powder in Medium which I like, although I fear it may look too orangey in direct sunlight. I should take a mirror outside with me one day and check. I will have to check out Hoola because it seems like a lot of people love it! I don’t know what my mac shade would be, but I use Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup in 18(G).

  54. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Melissa Melissa

    I use MAC Blunt (with a very light hand!) and I’m NC20.

  55. asra

    i want to get one and im sure if i should go for medium or light. im nc40-nc42. could you help?

  56. priscilla

    I use Lancome star bronzer mineral mat in 03.