Best Contour Palette

What’s the Best Contour Palette that you’ve tried?

Share your pick!  And don’t forget to share why (and possibly your skin tone, if you think it makes sense!) 🙂

I honestly haven’t found one that I love yet! I fear it might just be one of those products I’ll never feel strongly in love with.

55 Comments

Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
MzCrafty1908 Avatar

I haven’t tried that many either, but I LOVE the one by the Ulta Brand and my Sleek Contour Kit in Dark. I’m not a makeup artist, so I don’t need that many colors.

xamyx Avatar

Hmmm… This is a really hard one to answer, as what may work for some, won’t work for others based on coloring. That said, I’ll just base my answer on formula & actual *product*.

For cream, I really love the Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo #4, in terms of formula & color. The price is also decent, and the only issue I personally have with it is the pans (particularly the contour shade) are sooo tiny, I have to use multiple brushes to apply. I haven’t tried many cream products, but I plan to very soon. I’ve also been playing with the Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Stick in 330, which I like, but I want to try a different shade (310 Sun Beige).

For powder, I would say either MUFE, which comes in 4 options (I use #2), or Smashbox, which comes with a bronzer I personally never use (but could be mixed with the contour shade to warm it up on some skintones), but I don’t mind having it there as an option. Both of these have decent pigmentation, and because they’re powder, they’ll work for oily skin, but they don’t apply splotchy, and work with dry skin.

Although there are some good options out there, I’d still suggest going with individual products, like Inglot or MAC, which are reasonably priced, and work well. If you want to splurge, go with the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium. Pairing a matte & shimmery blush in the same range/tone works, as well; most wear blush on top of the contour anyway, which can cause things to look muddy, or cover it entirely. It also looks more effortless & natural.

For reference, I’m fairly light/very neutral (NARS Siberia or Deauville, <MAC NC15, Maybelline Fit Me 110).

Rachel Avatar

You should check out Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Wheat. It is the most beautiful contour shade! It looks like a grey taupe in the pan, but when you put it on your skin it’s a beautiful warm ashy color. It looks very natural! I’m obsessed with it right now. Plus, I also use it on my eyes. I am NARS siberia also, although it’s my summer shade. I’m crazy pale.

xamyx Avatar

Thanks, I’ll check it out! I have 20+ contour products as it is, but I’m constantly prowling for “The One”, LOL! Most of my stash is powder, so I’m looking into creams, as I have drier skin. I also use MAC Brit Wit, which looks almost too pink in the pan, but applied, the grey tones become apparent, and for some reason, it just works!

Ammara Avatar

Unless I’m a makup artist, I don’t really need a whole palette. I have one contour powder, Taupe by MAC, and I just use that with a highlighter.

ElKay Avatar

I haven’t found a palette that I love. I’m not a makeup artist so I don’t use all the colors in a palette. I just need a bronzer, contour and highlight. I do like my Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar contour and highlight if that counts as a palette. I have the original Anastasia palette but sadly only use 2 colors.

Lisa Avatar

I’m pretty obsessed with the new contour palette trend. I’ve always carried weight in my face, esp. water-weight, so contouring has been life-changing for me.
My frustration with contour palettes is that though many of them include multiple highlight shades, none I’ve found so far include a highlight shade that works for fair skin. The ABH matte highlights don’t even show up on me. So I’ve held back a little, and I’ve been waiting for a discount code to come around before splurging. I’ve got the Kat von D, Smashbox, and Marc Jacobs palettes on my list, but the only one I’ve shelled out for so far is ABH.

I do think the ABH palette is good. It’s really reasonably priced for how much product you get. The original was very limited — it really worked best for medium, warm-toned skin, and while it was workable for other skin tones it was far from ideal. But now that you can customize the palette I really think it’s a great option, and I appreciate that Anastasia has chosen not to jack up the price if you want to customize. You can even get the palette with multiples of the same shade, if you feel you don’t need so many different contour powders. The real thorn in my side, though, is that that shimmery highlight isn’t the best quality.

My Inglot sculpting powder is still my HG.

xamyx Avatar

Have you tried the Inglot Sculpting Powder #503? It doesn’t “show up” on my face when I’m standing in my bathroom mirror applying my makeup, but when I’m out & about, I’ll catch my reflection, and I notice a difference! The same can be said for MAC Emphasize.

Lisa Avatar

Oh man… I JUST bought that Inglot powder, then when I got home and took the pan out of the box I saw it was completely shattered. So I have to wait until I can get back out to an Inglot counter to exchange, and it’s killing me, cuz I was so excited to try it.
I’ve been thinking about trying MAC Emphasize, but I’ve heard it’s quite sheer, and I notice a lot of the girls on YouTube who use it are quite a bit darker than me (I’m NC15-20).

Pteetsa Avatar

Lisa, I’m also NC15. I love the It Cosmetics Hello Light Liquid Brightener (I have the Bye Bye Under Eye & Hello Light Liquid Brightener duo in Light/Medium). It’s really subtle – when you first put it on, you don’t really notice anything, but then you see this beautiful, natural glow. I recommend it!

I love Inglot, though, so I will have to check out their sculpting powder.

Sarah Avatar

Surprisingly, Sephora’s, I believe it’s called Contouring 101 or something. All mattes, a warm lighter brown, cool darker brown, light pink, and banana. I think it covers everything I’d need and I’m glad there’s no shimmer highlight because they rarely suits my taste, undertone, and colour.

Tracy Avatar

I can’t really comment on what’s best for everyone but what’s been working for me these past few weeks is the Cover FX contour kit. I’ve never really been into contouring so I was a total newbie and the cream formula in this palette is so easy to use and blend. I’m about an NC20-25 and I got it in the shade N-Light. The “shimmery” highlight in this palette is the star. I combine the 2 contour shades and the matte highlight is also a dream to work with. People have been commenting on my skin lately and I really think it’s because of this palette. I don’t wear a lot of base to begin with so it’s more for adding some dimension and a little coverage.

Gianna Avatar

Cover FX all the way and I have tried them all! Amazing cream formula so easy to work with and blend. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua BR22, Nars Deauville, MAC NW 20-25 ND foundations are decent enough matches for me, though I prefer the VA. Bought this palette in Fair-Medium P and not one of the shades is too yellow or orange for me. I don’t contour too much, just my nose and a bit to make my face fuller, so this particular palette works well without a lot of fuss. I did try the Marc Jacobs Dream Filter, which I liked for many reasons, not the least of which was its fine powder and ease of use, but unfortunately the highlighting shade was almost exactly my skin tone and offered little effect.

Abbey Avatar

I adore contouring. Most kits aren’t really that practical for most people. You don’t need multiple contour and highlight shades, yet that is what most kits include. To contour, I love Becca Lowlight Sculpting Perfector. It’s a cream that has good staying power. It looks warm in the compact, but it goes on with a perfect shadow color. To highlight I like using a warm yellow concealer – Bobbi Brown Warm Ivory works well for me. I also add shimmer with Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector. For an all in one compact that’s easy to travel with, Maskcara IIID Foundation. I agree with some other comments that you can use eye shadows, but I find that creams last long for my normal/dry skin.

Nicole Avatar

If i had to pick, i would go with Anastasia’s medium palette. But, I generally reach for my Kevyn Aucoin Medium sculpt powder and use a highlighter. I will sometime use one of the lighter ambient lighting powders(diffused or Ethereal to highlight with),but not daily. I had the Anastasia palette for a long time before I got the KA powder and I used mostly just 3 shades. But, it is a good palette and I do sometimes still use it. I don’t think I will be repurchasing it. My face is oval and thin. I am 39 and as you age, your face sinks and drops. So, contouring is less of a concern for me.I wish makeup could fill out your face!

Rachel R. Avatar

I haven’t tried many. I really don’t need the palettes with 6 or more shades. Most contour palettes run too dark and/or orange for me. Usually I contour with Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil or MAC Blush in Taupe.

Tart Park Avenue Princess Palette, Sleek Face Form in Light, and e.l.f. Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia all work pretty well for my meager needs and light skin.

Rachel R. Avatar

Forgot skin tone: I’m very fair with neutral undertones. BareMinerals original in Fair, BareMinerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation in Bare Porcelain, Bobbi Brown stick foundation in Alabaster, the lightest shades in a foundation line *might* be light enough for me.

Aida Avatar

I leave contouring to professional makeup artists, it’s not something I ever do on myself. There’s nothing worse than walking around with brown spots / stripes / etc. on my face. I see that a lot, and I don’t think people realize how bad and totally unnatural it can look.

xamyx Avatar

That usually happens when one attempts to change their facial shape rather than enhance what’s already there. Blending (or lack of!) is also a common culprit; blending the contour shade into the blush and/or highlight shade in a gradient is the key.

El Avatar

I think the only contour palette I even own is a Lancome Blush Subtil one in Nectar Lace, I think – it has a nice matte contour powder, a satiny/light shimmer highlight powder, and a lovely apricot blush. My Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette can also be used – it’s a custom one, and we did set it up with a deeper tone to use as contour, a lighter tone as highlight, and the pinky tone as subtle blush or blush-enhancer. I forget the individual shade names!

Caz Avatar

RCMA Contour & Highlight Palette.

I haven’t been using it long but much prefer it to the Kevin Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo #4, which was previously my favourite cream contour.

For powder contour palettes I always seem to reach for Sleek.

I love contouring and have done it as long as I’ve been wearing makeup. I’m glad it’s become more popular and that good colours are easier to find. I imagine I’ve looked rather clownish at times in the past.

Mary Avatar

I don’t think I’ve ever found a contour palette I like. They’re just not made for pale pale skin. The best I’ve used is probably Nars Olympia – but it’s not exactly a palette. I actually use a matte eyeshadow as my contour because it’s the best thing I’ve found in terms of matching my fair skin. I don’t like a ‘bronzer’ contour – it’s far too orange – I like more of an ashy/grey undertone to mine.

Sarah Avatar

Hands down, Kevyn Aucoin the creamy glow duo #4. It is the PERFECT shade of brown- cool toned so it contours without my looking ridiculous. I LOVE the cream formula. It has a lovely, blendable slip and super easy to use with fingers. The pan is a little too small for most blending brushes, but I’m one of those weirdos that prefer to use my fingers. I love that it’s so creamy and gives a soft glow, WITHOUT any shimmer! I hate sparkle and shimmer, but I also hate how flat matte powders are.

Meghan Avatar

I’ve been on a quest to find the right contour shade for my fair-with-pink-undertones skin. I just picked up the Smashbox kit and I think it would look better on light/medium, warm complexions. I tried the original Anastasia kit and don’t feel those are the right colors, either. I have a hard time finding highlight shades in kits that are light enough for my skin, so I picked up the Becca Poured in Pearl and it’s perfect! I might just stick with a light all-over bronzer and forego a contour shade. Sometimes when I try it, it looks ok from the front but from the side, I just look like I have dirt on my face. haha

xamyx Avatar

Try MAC Brit Wit cream blush. It’s a muted pink with a greyish cast, and is imperceptible on the skin’s surface, but noticeable as a contour.

jilly Avatar

i’m with you, Christine. i think they look so fake in person. there are a couple i’m very interested in, but primarily because of the highlighter, like the charlotte tilbury filmstar bronze and glow. but that kind of money for only half….

Elle Avatar

Skin Tone: NARS Siberia

Best contour palette I’ve EVER tried is Marc Jacobs #instamarc in Mirage Filter 40. It is absolutely incredible. The texture of both powders is smooth and creamy. The pigmentation is, also, on point~!! Since I’m so fair… I use the highlight side as a setting powder and the contour side as per usual. The only other contour product I’ve liked this much is sold individually… Surratt Beauty’s Artistique Blush in Grisaille. 🙂

julia Avatar

I stopped contouring a few months ago, found that I didn’t look any different in the cheek area regardless of how muich product I used. Not sure if my makeup skills suck or I have a naturally defined face.

Vikki Avatar

I tried several and I love the texture of Marc Jacob Beauty’s #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder the most. One downer for me though: my skin is so pale that the highlighting color from Mirage Filter (40), the lightest contour palette they currently offer do not show up. Too bad, but I guess the contour works.

Palette aside, I have been using Kevin Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder and I’ve been loving it so far. Wish it came with the Celestial Powder highlighter though!

Others I have tried:

MUFE Pro Sculpting Duo – Highlight was too pink on me
Cover FX Contour Kit – Contour were too orange for me

Kristy Avatar

I have tried many different contour palettes and all but one have been big misses for me. I am very fair skinned and I have a cooler skin tone and most of them run too warm for me and just look muddy. The It cosmetics palette is my HG hands down. I combine a lot of the colors in there and they blend beautifully and they have the best highlight colors for my complexion as most of them tend to be more of a golden color and those never work for me. I feel like it is a very under rated product and don’t hear many people talking about it. definitely a must try for fair cool toned girls!!

Fran Avatar

I finally decided to try the Kevyn Aucoin contour palette, since I’ve been wanting to try both the sculpting powder and the highlight. Have only had it a day, haven’t given it a proper test drive yet. I’ve been reluctant to try the contour palettes because almost all of them look way to warm for me (I’m NW20-ish, between fair and light with severely cool undertones), although a couple of the shades in the Two Faced palette and some shades in the Sephora Collection palette look like they might work (and the other half of the shades look like they *wont’t* work).

Caution: rant ahead. It also really annoys me that, when a line puts out ‘cooler’ tones, they’re usually pink. Red is really not a cool color, and pink is just light red. It’s only advantage is that it’s *not* yellow. My skin is not actually pink, except where it has rosacea. It’s just that the blue undertones from my blood vessels show through my skin, darn it! So make a very light beige that leans just a teensy, tiny bit to the blue side of the color spectrum. Yes, it will look grey in the pan and no one except people who actually understand their cool undertones will buy it — but there are plenty of us out here! End of rant. Thank you.

Fran Avatar

I forgot to mention that, when in a rush, I resort to using the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette like a contour. On my NW20-ish skin, Radiant Light works as a light bronzer, and isn’t so warm that it looks odd when I place in along jawline, under cheekbones, and at temples, and Incandescent Light works as a subtle highlight for me. I then add a bit of Ethereal Glow, which is the perfect subtle blush color for me, between the two, and blend everything together (very) lightly with either Dim Light or Diffused Light. Since these powders require minimal blending, I can swipe all this on and get my brushes wiped off in a couple of minutes and at least get out the door with a face that doesn’t look two-dimensional. But Radiant Light is not a true contour powder, I wouldn’t try to contour my nose with it, for example. Nevertheless, Hourglass to the rescue!

Sam Avatar

Definitely the Cover FX contour kit and Graftobian Hidden Magic Powder to intensify. The Cover FX cream kit is so blendable and is based on your undertones not just “light, medium, dark”. Much more specific. The included cream illuminator is gorgeous!

Taylor Avatar

I’m surprised no one’s mentioned the Nyx contour palette. It’s the only one I’ve tried and I love it; its light and cool-toned enough to work for me, has some good highlights, and the yellow shade is awesome for under eye circles.

xamyx Avatar

It’s fairly new, and the 3 ULTA stores I tried were all out, LOL! I did swatch it, however, and from what I can tell from that, it’s definitely something I want to look intonsome more. I’m just apprehensive about the ingredients, as I try to stay away from mineral oil, and NYX tends to put it in a few of their powder products…

Meghan Avatar

The Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kit for light skin tones works well for me. I think it’s good value, I like all the shades. I also think it’s great that they’re refillable, customizable, but it may be too many (although that’s why it’s a palette, I suppose). I have the Marc Jacobs Beauty one with 2 shades and the Cover FX one with 4 shades on my wish list!

Angela Avatar

Love love love Marc Jacobs contour! Best one I’ve tried and I’ve tried akot of them! I’m very fair so it works great for me and it has a highlight shade! I cant remember the name but it’s the middle shade in the 3 shades.

Janet Avatar

Tom ford shade and illuminate, I absolutely love it! The highlight in it is so beautiful and makes you look lit form within! Also like the Kevyn aucion creamy duo but it doesn’t compare to the tom ford! Once summer hits not sure how they will work on my skin but my super dry winter skin loves them!

Johnna Quick Owens Avatar

I have one that I love, it’s perfect for me, and yet I have no idea what the name of it is. LOL My Mom bought it from Amazon, just passed it along to me, and it has worked exactly like I wanted. It is creamy, has 15 shades including green and yellow and lavender. I wouldn’t mind finding a name brand version that works just as well, as I’m sure this is something sketchy from China, but in the mean time it is exactly what I need on the occasions that I actually want to contour.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!