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Katherine T. Avatar

Hands down, Sephora Tranquil. A $15 godsend for us cool-toned gals who missed out on Chanel Notorious and can’t (or won’t) pay $100-$150 for it on evilbay. It’s a cool, grey taupe color that mimics shadows, so it’s very natural looking on my skin. It only scored a C on Temptalia because of powderiness, but I think there’s a QC issue, as I have 2 of them, and neither one is powdery, just perfect. I highly recommend you check it out, and if you don’t like it, Sephora has a good return policy

Wednesday Avatar

For my NC20-25 skin: Charolette Tilbury filmstar bronze and glow light to medium. I love that it is a non-orangey shade, super super subtle, and applies and blends effortlessly. Perfect for casual and day to day wear. If I am doing a quick casual makeup job, this is my go to.

I also love Bobbi Brown Telluride face & body bronzer duo. I do not feel the quality of the powder is in the same league as CT, but I adore a more reddish bronzer (the one shade puts me in mind of Benefit Dallas); and wish there were more of this ilk. I typically mix the two shades together on a giant face brush and loosely sweep the perimeter of my face and then concentrate a little more in the hollows of my cheeks. It really wakes up my complexion and adds dimension. If I match my face to my neck and chest with my foundation or CC cream, I tend to look a little washed out, but on the other hand I despise having dark face makeup and carrying it down my neck and decolletage. Both these products leave me looking healthier and yet still complexion connected to the rest of my body. Pas de bobblehead.

xamyx Avatar

They really aren’t all that similar. I have both, and the MAC is *much* warmer.

I have the MUFE #2, and I don’t find it orange, at all! In fact, the one I had from around 15 years ago was warmer, and very powdery. I also find I need to use less product (due to the denser, more pigmented formula), making it look far more natural, and easier to build up/blend.

Tessa Avatar

Honestly? Ancient, poorly pigmented MAC bronzer. I’m so pale it’s tough to get a contour right. With this, and a dual fiber brush, I have some latitude to get it right.

I do like Physicians Formula Airbrush finish bronzer in Light Bronze. It’s very creamy and pigmented for a drugstore product. This color is a bit peachy to be ideal on me simply as a contour, but as a combo contour/blush, I like it a lot!

Anne Avatar

I really, really want to try out the Kevin Aucoin Sculpting Powder but that’s going to have to wait for less budget-minded days. I have the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow and the “Bronze” half works pretty well for contour on my hellllla pale skin. I want to try out MAC Taupe and maybe some ColourPop stuff as well.

Margarita Avatar

I don’t have a fav as I’m still learning how to contour, I do have many different ones. ABH, The Wet and Wild ones, the Tarte Amazon princess, SLeek contour palette in Light & blah, blah, blah, lol. None of these have worked for me, but I want to try NYX TAUPE!

Rachel R. Avatar

I agree with Michele that Sephora Tranquil is the best for fair skin. It’s a rare grey-toned, light shade that looks very natural. It blends nicely and is inexpensive.

Honorable mentions to: Notoriously Morbid Necromancy — It’s also grey toned and looks very natural. It’s a loose powder that is highly pigmented, blends nicely and sheer out nicely. Fair skin only needs a tiny amount, so a jar will last forever. Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil — it’s matte and light enough for my very fair skin. It’s not overly orange. This works great when I’m wanting a warmer look.

Ammara Avatar

Thanks to you, I only own one and it is the Taupe blush from MAC’s Artificially Wild (I think?) collection and I absolutely love it. It is just the most perfect shade. I remember I wanted MAC Sculpt until I saw that on you and then got it instead. I wish it had cool LE packaging…

Kat Avatar

I’ve mentioned it a million times in the past, but I always just use the Too Faced Endless Summer bronzer. It’s not a “real” contour powder in that it’s not cool toned or completely matte, but no shimmer really translates to the face and it’s a pretty neutral shade, so I find it looks very natural on me when I just sweep it under my cheekbones. Those almost gray-toned contours look odd on my skin tone for whatever reason, so even though I know a lot of “real” makeup artists look down on it, I’m fine with using a bronzer for contouring.

Nancy T Avatar

If I am going for warmth, so far that old Revlon Photo Ready Bronzer palette in the 3rd deepest shade has worked brilliantly for my MAC C4.5 complexion! I’ve hit major pan on that, so I need to find something comparable by next summer.
For cooler toned contouring, then the old Nyx Taupe blush, all the way! The new Taupe isn’t bad either, so I’m decently situated there, I suppose.

Ti Avatar

Unlike pretty much every other category in beauty, when it comes to contour, I never felt the need to try a bunch of different ones. I tried the Sleek Contour Kit in Medium a couple years ago, and have never felt the need to try anything else. (Meanwhile, I probably have about 30 red lipsticks…) I rarely want a “for real” contour anyway, and tend to let my bronzer do the job of both contouring and bronzing.

Elizabeth Avatar

I’ve been loving the Sleek Face Form in Medium, and judging from the reviews, the contour and highlight looks and feels pretty similar: greyish brown with slightly warm undertone, blendable, and lasts all day. Looking forward to try out Collection’s contour kit!

Cat Avatar

For my pink undertones, Sephora’s Tranquil and Notoriously Morbid’s Necromancy are the best for creating a natural-looking shadow under the cheek bones. There are quite a few that work well for contouring and bringing warmth to other areas of the face (when properly blended) — AHA’s Fawn, WnW’s contouring shades in their Dulce De Leche and Caramel Toffee duo, and Notoriously Morbid’s Giant.

Nikyla Avatar

Hoping someone could help me out with this…I just bought Sephora tranquil after seeing it on here and that is now my HG contour powder. As soon as I put it on I was shocked at how natural it looked, on my skin it’s EXACTLY the same shade as the natural shadows that I already have in some places….but I am trying to figure out if it’s even a good deal? I haven’t tried to figure out how to calculate cost per ounce but it seems so tiny. I was going to buy another of the sephora blushes as a pale bronzer but after seeing how tiny they were in the store I bought too faced milk chocolate instead because it was actually cheaper for the amount your getting…It seems like tranquil is just as expensive or maybe more expensive then the high and mid range contour powders? Would be awesome if someone could answer 🙂 Also:
Nyx taupe (the original, haven’t tried the new HD one) works well for my very fair neutral skin.
Life’s entropy Particle Contour stick in Alpha also works well.
I bought pumpkin & poppy oak bark recently but it actually looked really weird on me, not sure why. I was surprised because I often see it recommended as a contour for fair skin.

Katherine T. Avatar

I haven’t figured out the cost per ounce, but Sephora Tranquil is so hard to dupe, that I think it’s totally worth the price. I’ve been searching for years for a cool-toned contour, and could never find one until now. The closest dupe is probably some grey taupe eye shadows.

Kayle Avatar

i prefer cream contouring things but not much can beat smashbox’s contouring palette! it works very nicely. i use the bronzer in it more than i do the actual contour powder though because everything is matte and the bronzer is more warm toned than the contour.

L Avatar

Mac Taupe blush, (I got mine in a compact form with some collection) and recently the Sephora collection blush in “Tranquil”. I am ghostly paaaale, so I have to be careful and stay away from the warmer shades which looks like an oompa loompa on my skin tone. It’s tough because those are mainly the colors out there being advertised when it comes to contouring/bronzing. =/

Floortje Avatar

Hands down Addictive Cosmetics Victorious, a dupe for Chanel’s Notorious. Perfectly cooltoned and doesn’t pull grey, purple or red. Perfect neutral, I love it! Looks better on my skin than everything I’ve tried, is super pigmented so will last forever but is very blendable. Oak Bark, another beloved indie product, turns a weird reddish purple on me for some reason. Catrice Starlight Espresso eyeshadow also works nicely.

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