Rant & Rave: Contour Palettes

Share: Tell us what you love and hate about Contour Palettes!

my answer: I’d rather see contouring/highlighting duos or quads, geared towards specific skin tones, than larger contouring palettes. I also feel like most brands put out a one-size-fits-all (which is rarely accurate), so they’re not my favorite type of product to see.


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Fox_beauty Avatar

Yea, I definitely don’t think contour palettes are useful for the everyday consumer unless they know to use extra colors for something like eyeshadows. . Otherwise, it’s a waste of money because half of what’s in there, won’t get used. You can also find eyeshadows or multi use products to use. For someone who maybe freelances, palettes are great so you’re always prepared..

xamyx Avatar

I *love* the fact every brand is doing one, as I think we need as much variety as possible, and having several options in terms of color & formula is great! I also don’t mind having several shades in one palette; I often mix shades, use different shades on specific points of my face, and/or blend a deeper shade with a lighter one for a more dramatic effect. I also find the prices to be similar for a duo vs. a larger palette, so why not have the additional product? If I use it, great; if not, no loss.

Sunny Avatar

I don’t contour much, so it might not be a fair thing for me to say, but I always wonder if people really use all 6 shades or so in the contouring palette. They look more like products for professional makeup artists to me!

Sarah Avatar

I agree with your comments, Christine! It drives me nuts that these are usually not geared towards a variety of skin tones. One size does not fit all. Also hate that the majority seem quite warm and not truly suitable for sculpting. I’ve given up on these, much easier for me to purchase my favourite highlighters and powders to achieve the best look rather than to settle for a mediocre palette.

Makeup tray Avatar

I was coming here to post exactly what you posted Christine, agree 100%. Also, you never end up using all the colors because based on your skin tone you may not need all. So, it kind of ends up being a waste of money because there are colors that are not even going to be used. I also feel the amount they give you is very small. I think it’s better to go to Mac etc and get a couple of colors that fit your skin tone and needs

Kelsey Avatar

I absolutely agree with you, Christine. I also think they tend to gear towards the “mid-range” in terms of skin tone. I have yet to find a contouring palette that’s really aimed at pale skin, or really deep skin.

Jennifer Avatar

The ones I’ve seen aren’t really correlated to skin tones? I think Nars had some duo’s that are an exception. But mostly I’ve seen large “fit everyone” palettes which A: I only have the one face, I don’t need that and B: still manage to exclude non-white skintones.

Sherri Avatar

I totally agree with you on the large palettes. They are too big and too much for just a normal person who likes makeup like me! I was deciding on a small one to bring with me traveling, and ended up with Sephora Collection’s 101 Contouring palette. I really like it so far!

Autumn Avatar

I agree. I have cooler undertones and a lot of contour palettes are geared towards warmer undertones. I feel like I wasted $40 on the ABH contour palette because all the colors are too dark/warm for me! We need one that is geared towards cooler skin tones, not just pale. In fact to contour, I use an eyeshadow from my maybelline’s nude palette. It works perfectly and Ive never seen the color in a palette.

StrangeOne Avatar

I ordered the smashbox one purely because of the limited colours and their contour’s coolness. My roundish face has always needed contouring so I’m quite happy with the trend but the palettes seem so excessive.

Shelly Avatar

The only people who would find these palettes useful are makeup artists. Most people don’t need multiple contour powders. Why not release individual powders in compacts? And they are all much too warm; they’re more like bronzers. On the other hand, the NARS duos (at least the lightest one) are too pink.

Lisa Avatar

Contouring can be beautiful if done correctly and customized to your face! Part of that is ensuring you have the right products and rarely do these all in one palettes offer the correct shade for a large swatch of the population. It’s too hard! and although I think some of these brands have really tried to include shades for everyone they just don’t it the mark for my taste. I’ve said before that I have a round face and not even the most expert makeup artist is going to change it, short of surgery! I think people will soon realize that these palettes just are not worth the cost! Granted in the ones Ive seen give you tons of product but how many of colors can be used on everyone? I know as a tan girl, I run into this problem often. So if I have 6 shades, 3 contour, 3 highlight or whatever and can only use 2 or 3 what am I suppose to do with the remaining colors? I never contour and doubt I ever will so I guess I shouldn’t matter but I feel strongly when I see girls think they have to “carve out killer cheek bones”. No, round face girls YOU are beautiful just the way you are 🙂 *steps off soapbox*

Rachel Avatar

I also hate the fact that they do a “one size fits all” approach! Not only do they exclude almost all women darker than a medium tan, but they exclude really pale people like me as well! Contouring and highlighting is so tricky on super fair skin because almost every dark shade looks muddy or orange, and they don’t seem to make highlight shades lighter than my skin tone. I would love a contour palette if it was geared towards paler women, just because it is near impossible to find individual products that do what I need them too! I want to be able to carve out gorgeous cheekbones too!!!!

Tova J Avatar

I agree. I think Sleek’s duos and face forms are perfect, they have several shades as well! I can even use the same shades when I’m pale and tan, so more than two in a palette is unecessary.

fancie Avatar

I totally agree with you! All of these contour palettes seem to be geared towards lighter, warmer complexions leaving a lot of people out. I’d much rather see more duos that cater to different complexions and undertones. I don’t think the average person needs 6 different shades to highlight and contour anyway lol

Amanda Avatar

I actually HAVE skin that’s both pale and warm, but most “contour” shades are much too warm. Across a line’s sets I can usually find maybe one shade that’s cool and one highlighter with a touch of shimmer – but they’ll be in two different sets! Shouldn’t “bronzer” and “contour” be sold separately?

artemis Avatar

True that. I don’t have pink in my skin, well, I got yellow and blue undertones and they are too orange, indeed (actually, too red, lol, tho pure yellow wouldn’t fit, either, an olive brown would be perfect). Same problem with foundation: most “warm ones” are too dark and orange and the palest ones are pink :/

Nicole Avatar

I agree with your answer Christine. Also,that the majority are too warm and they generally will include instructions to contour and highlight one specific face shape. Not everyone needs to slim and shorten their entire face and nose! What?Is you face suppose to be miniscule and chiseled to masculinity. I think that is unattractive personally.

Nikki Avatar

Large palettes to me are pointless unless you’re contouring other people or go through major skintone changes throughout the year (hey, it could happen.) I’d also like to see more duos more often. I’d ALSO like to see them not just be repackages of a brand’s bronzers because contour != bronzer. Some people can use them for that purpose, but a true contour is much more gray to emulate shadows on a face, while bronzer is red/gold/orange/whatever to help add warmth.

Please, makeup brands. Make something taupe for contouring.

Erin Avatar

They need to make smaller palettes for specific skin tones. What will work on a cool pale girl will not work on a mocha skin tone or even a medium warm skin tone. I’d rather have 4 shades tailored to me, like a winter option and a summer option than 8 pans I’ll never use.

Christiane Avatar

totally agree with you. A variety of smaller palettes/duos would make much more sense. I do not like big palettes at all and prefer to pick my two (Highlight, contour) go to shades as singles. But a perfect duo could make me break up with my current no buy resolution 😉

charlotte Avatar

I agree, I would rather have the right contour and highlight for me than a palette full of the wrong ones. I use Loreal True Match powders so I can choose exactly the right shade and tone. That said this is apparently not well known but if you order the Anastasia version online you can customize it with whatever shade you like.. including blushes.. for the same price as the “stock” version sold in store.

Rachel R. Avatar

Rant: They usually run too dark and too warm for me. I agree that I’d like to see smaller palettes or duos for a wider range of skintones. I think there is still an empahasis on “bronzing” rather than “contouring.”

Rave: Because they are becoming more popular, and more companies are putting them out, we’re seeing more variety and price points. I’m hopeful we’ll start seeing more variety for very light and very dark skin tones, cooler contours, etc.

starfish628 Avatar

I think my mailman has a contour palette out now. lol, If I was going to buy one I would go with the KVD. Seems that the colors could be used for eye shadows as well.

Lulle Avatar

I don’t own and wouldn’t purchase one, for the simple reason that I would most probably not use all the shades. I think a duo with a contour shade and a highlighter adapted to my skin tone would be a lot more useful than a larger palette with multiple shades.
But I’m fine using 2 separate products, and I already own several highlighters I’m very happy with so I just don’t need a duo. Plus, I feel like contouring shades included in duos/palettes are often too warm. I have warm undertones but I think that a neutral shade looks much, much better on me.

I’m not even really into contouring anyway, and I fear that this new contouring palettes trend for Spring is going to revive the contouring excesses that we’ve seen in the past. Too much contouring doesn’t look good on anyone imo.

Katherine T. Avatar

Mostly rants – Many of them run too warm, need some cool-tone palettes. You’re usually paying for 4-8 colors, but can only realistically use 2-3 of them as contour, so the others are going to be wasted, especially if they aren’t safe to use as shadows or too dark to use as blushes. Can’t customize the palettes. Most are powder contours but they are harder to use them cream ones.

Emilie Avatar

I’m not big on the palette trend. I mean honestly, how many shades do you need for bronzing and contouring?! I think they’re good for professionals, but other than that I’m not a fan. I’d rather just buy one powder to contour and bronze with and a single highlighter, or a duo or trio that has something for both/every step (I personally love the Smashbox Contour Kit, perfect and simple!)

Kat Avatar

Rave: They’re… contour palettes? Ha, they’re useful.

Rant: Most contour palettes, particularly lately, have way too many shades that we’re forced to pay for to get the ones we want, even though we’ll never use them. It seems to be “the thing” right now, like they think we want to feel like makeup artists, like we’re children. “Now you can play pretend!” Nope, I just want products for me, thanks.

L Avatar

The shader options are always too warm toned, almost like a bronzer. Chanel Notorious was the best cool toned product out there (limited edition or it just was never brought back?). I just use eyeshadows w/larger surface area now; NARS Blondie is my current go-to, but sometimes still a bit too warm.

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