We all envy supermodel bone structure that looks too good to be real, but some people were just born lucky. While you may not be as naturally chiseled, you might not be willing to pay a visit to a plastic surgeon.
Contouring is the best non-invasive way to sculpt your face and even if you aren’t a makeup artist, a few swipes of a contour stick will snatch it for you.
Contouring has been traced back to the early 1500s when Elizabethan stage performers would apply soot to their faces – like stage makeup – so the audience could see them clearer. Although actors continued to use this technique, it wasn’t until the release of an instructional video in 1945 by Max Factor that women learned of contouring.
Most of us credit 90s makeup icon Kevyn Aucoin for creating contouring today, however, drag queens have been contouring from day one.
Then, makeup mogul Kim Kardashian showed us how her makeup artist Scott Barnes created a contoured look on her in 2012 and we never looked back.
Since the early 2010s, contouring has become a staple in makeup routines. The original products have now evolved into more user-friendly versions like contour sticks.
In the following sections, we give you all the information you need to decipher which of the best contour sticks is right for you.
How To Properly Use a Contour Stick?
Using a contour stick can help you seamlessly sculpt the areas of your face that you would like to stand out. Basically, contouring can enhance your natural bone structure or create structure where there isn’t any by creating the look of shadows.
Follow these simples steps to contour your whole visage:
- Apply your foundation
- Take your contour stick and apply it in the shape of a 3 from your forehead, under your cheekbones, then down to your jaw
- Blend using a clean makeup brush
- You can also apply the contour color down the sides of your nose and under the tip for a more defined look
- Apply under your lips for a fuller effect
How to Choose the Best Contour Stick for Your Skin
Choosing a contour stick that suits you may not be as difficult as choosing the right foundation, but still, a contour stick is not a one-size-fits-all product. If you are a first-time contour stick user, you are going to want to consider the shade, brand, price, duality, finish, and ingredients you use. We’ll go over all of these factors in the following sections.
Although a contour stick isn’t meant to match your skin tone, it should still compliment it and blend in seamlessly with the rest of your makeup. This makes shade an important factor when trying to choose the best contour stick for you.
If you are more fair or cool-toned, choose a cool-toned contour. If you have very neutral undertones, choose a neutral option. If you have deeper, more olive-toned skin, you can go for something a bit more sun-kissed.
When it comes to choosing a brand of contour stick, there is so much variety. Quality makeup brands like Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Westman Atelier, Charlotte Tilbury and Anastasia Beverly Hills offer top of the line products, though Bobbi Brown and Clinique are more established brands that have truly stood the test of time.
KKW Beauty (by Kim Kardashian) and Fenty Beauty (by Rihanna) have quickly made a name for themselves thanks to their high-quality products that meet celebrity beauty standards. These brands have also made luxury beauty products more accessible to the average consumer, and to top things off, they provide more inclusive shade ranges for people of all skin tones.
The prices of the contour sticks on this list range from $10–$64. Needless to say, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a high-performing product, although you may be sacrificing some of the extra benefits that more expensive brands come with.
For example, the Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick which comes in at $64 is the most expensive product featured. The cost of the Face Trace Contour Stick is based on the celebrity-loved brand-name, advanced formula, and luxurious packaging.
With so many contouring products available, you might be wondering which ones will do the most for you. Some contour products come in a kit with both a highlighter and a contour, while others come with just a contour stick.
If you like a product with a convenient, double-ended design, try the Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick. This product has a contour on one side and a highlighter on the other, which makes it easy to perform touch ups on the go.
Other products such as the Morphe Dimension Effect Highlight & Contour Sticks, Fenty Beauty Match Stix Contour Skin Stick, and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour & Highlight Stick come in both contouring and highlighting formulas that are painless to blend together.
The finish of a contour stick is another key deciding factor. If you’re someone who loves a matte finish on your oily skin, you may want to go with options like Morphe’s Dimension Effect Highlight & Contour Sticks, Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Contour & Highlight Stick, or Fenty Beauty’s Match Stix Contour Skin Stick.
If you prefer a natural skin-like finish, try the Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick, Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick, Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand or
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick.
With preferences for clean formulas and concerns about skin sensitivities at an all-time high, ingredients are more of a focus than ever before. The ingredients in a formula can have a profound impact on how it performs and looks on the skin.
Unfortunately, none of these products are fully natural or organic, but many of them include plant-based, chemical-free ingredients that will not irritate sensitive or blemish-prone skin types.
Products such as the Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick are fragrance and silicone-free, as well as vegan and cruelty-free. On the other hand, Westman Atelier has always put clean, mostly natural formulas at the forefront.
- Morphe Dimension Effect Highlight & Contour Sticks, $10
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour & Highlight Stick, $25
- Fancy Face Chisel Me Contour Stick, $47.18
- Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick, $64
- KKW Beauty Creme Contour Stick, $18
- Fenty Beauty Match Stix Contour Skin Stick, $26
- Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour, $26
- Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick, $19
- Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand, $50
- Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, $62
The 10 Best Contour Sticks
Now that you’ve reviewed all of the things to consider before buying a contour stick, it’s time to find your perfect match. Whether you’re a makeup addict or someone who wants to enhance their everyday makeup routine, the best contour sticks will help you sculpt your face and improve dullness in seconds.
#1 – Morphe Dimension Effect Highlight & Contour Sticks
Affordable beauty products don’t have to be from the drugstore. Morphe creates high-quality makeup products that are beloved by pros. The brand is constantly innovating and collaborating with influencers such as Jaclyn Hill to produce fun new items for the everyday makeup user.
The Morphe Dimension Effect Highlight & Contour Sticks are creamy matte contour sticks that pack a lot of pigment. Thanks to the lightweight formula, this product blends seamlessly into the skin to sculpt and define the face. It gives a multi-dimensional effect that makes all of your features pop.
With a range of 6 colors from dark to light, this contour stick has all different undertones, from neutral to olive to cool. Plus, it will only cost you $13.
#2 – Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour & Highlight Stick
Whether you know the brand as ABH or Anastasia Beverly Hills, you’ve probably heard about this celebrity favorite. Founded by beauty queen Anastasia Soare, ABH is known for its brow products but its Contour & Highlight Stick is just as good.
If you have oily skin, this is the contour stick for you. It has fully pigmented, buildable coverage and a natural matte finish that is easy to apply and blend. It is a vegan and cruelty-free product that only comes in 4 colors.
One of the colors (banana) is for highlighting while mink, shadow, and fawn are for contouring. The color range also makes it the best contour stick for fair skin. The 2-in-1 duo can be used on the body as well as the face and it retails for $25.
#3 – Fancy Face Chisel Me Contour Stick
Fancy Face is a Toronto-based beauty boutique that is known for creating stunning makeup looks, especially for brides. Founder Brittany Gray decided to expand her personal makeup artistry portfolio and create her own line of products that are functional for at-home use.
To get a chiseled and sun-kissed look that won’t have you looking sallow, try the Fancy Face Chisel Me Contour Stick. This contour stick has a medium to buildable coverage formula. It comes in only one shade – a universal warm, deep brown – that leaves you with a healthy, bronze-y glow.
A great option for warm-toned skin, the Chisel Me Contour Stick sells for $47.18.
#4 – Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick
Westman Atelier is a clean luxury beauty brand that was founded by editorial makeup artist Gucci Westman. Her resume includes campaigns for Louis Vuitton, Vogue, and high fashion shows for all the hottest designer brands. Gucci has even created iconic makeup looks for Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon among other celebrity clients.
The Westman Atelier range includes products that effortlessly create the most beautiful and natural-looking makeup looks, just like the Face Trace Contour Stick. This creamy contour stick sculpts and defines your face structure. The creamy formula finishes ultra-smooth on the skin and looks great even in natural light.
It comes in two colors: biscuit (a cool beige coffee tone) and truffle (a rich mocha). And if you love luxury makeup then the $64 price tag won’t shock you. In fact, it’s oh-so worth the splurge.
#5 – KKW Beauty Creme Contour Stick
In 2017 Kim Kardashian finally gave all of her biggest fans what they were asking for: a line of makeup products that she would wear. Her first product was the Creme Contour and Highlight Kit which resulted in the creation of this amazing contour stick.
The KKW Beauty Creme Contour Stick is a luxuriously creamy buildable formula that takes no effort to blend. It glides onto the skin with ease and the smaller format allows for more precise application, especially when you’re contouring your nose.
It comes in a large range of 12 colors from fair to deep dark II. Even better, the price of the Creme Contour Stick is only $18.
#6 – Fenty Beauty Match Stix Contour Skin Stick
They call Rihanna a ‘Queen’ for a reason. Whether she’s coming up with something in the fashion, makeup , or music industry, she can do no wrong. Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in 2017 out of her love for experimenting with makeup and her brand is all about playing with fun colors and the inclusivity of different skin tones.
The Fenty Beauty Match Stix Contour Skin Stick is a matte contour stick with a unique cream to powder formula. It is both lightweight and long-wearing, and thanks to its powder finish, it won’t budge throughout the day.
The easy-to-use stick comes in 7 versatile colors and it’s also magnetic so that it can latch on to any of the products in the Match Stix Skinsticks collection. It rings in at $26.
#7 – Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour
Clinique was founded in 1969 with a goal of creating simple, safe, and effective products. That is exactly what the people behind the brand did and continue to do. For many of us, this was the first makeup brand we tried or even the brand your mother used.
Fast-forward 52 years, and the Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour is revolutionizing the way we apply our makeup today. This velvety contour stick is long-wearing in part due to its oil-free formula. It works great on all skin types, even oily skin which doesn’t always agree with creamy textures.
The stick itself is chubby which makes the application less precise and it only comes in one color: curvy contour, a universal shade made to suit all skin tones. Luckily, it retails for $26 and is the perfect contour stick to use for anyone who isn’t exactly a makeup artist.
#8 – Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick
Uoma Beauty is a brand that is focused on inclusivity. Sharon Chuter, Uoma’s CEO and creative director, is proud to have created a range with her African heritage in mind, and nothing is better than a 2-in-1 product like the Double Take Contour Stick.
This product has a side that gives off a luminous, radiant shimmer and the opposite end sculpts and melts into the skin. It will make your face look chiseled by the gods as it, shades, highlights, and defines.
The finish is soft and lightweight which makes it undetectable on the skin. It also comes in 6 shades and is currently on sale for $19 – a major price drop from the original $51 tag.
#9 – Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand
Celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury turned into a celebrity after launching her line of amazing makeup products that are favored by the biggest names in Hollywood. Charlotte Tilbury creates luxury products that enhance your natural beauty and the Hollywood Contour Wand will sculpt you like it does the supermodels that Charlotte works on.
The Hollywood Contour Wand is a lightweight, blendable, and buildable cream formula that can give you a subtle or strong look depending on how much you apply. It comes in only 2 colors: light to medium and medium to dark. Although there are only 2 shades, they will work on most skin tones.
This product comes with a unique cushion applicator that evenly dispenses the formula, giving you the natural-looking finish you desire. It produces a shadow with color uniformity that adheres to the face for a smooth finish. Thanks to celebrities like Madison Beer who talk about their love for the Hollywood Contour Wand, it is often sold out. Priced at $50, get it while you still can.
#10 – Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown is another brand that was founded by a makeup artist, possibly one of the most admired. Bobbi Brown founded the luxury company that still produces simple, effective products and some of the best neutral colors on the market.
This Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick stands out for a few reasons:
- It isn’t a contour stick at all. The formula and color range is so great that professionals and makeup lovers have been using it for years as a contour product.
- The stick formula gives medium to full coverage with a natural finish. It blends seamlessly onto the skin and the format makes it feel more like a contour product.
- It comes in an amazing range of 30 shades for all different colors and undertones.
The Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick has even been called the best foundation to contour with. For $62, you can sculpt and cover with no problems, particularly on blemish-prone skin.
Which contour stick comes in the largest shade range?
Every skin tone is different, so when it comes to choosing the best contour stick for you, it is important to look at the shade range. Some of the contour sticks on this list only come in one color and although they are meant to be universal, they still may not suit your skin tone the best.
If that’s the case, take a look at the contour sticks with the largest shade ranges:
- Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick – 30 shades
- KKW Beauty Creme Contour Stick – 12 shades
- Morphe Dimension Effect Highlight & Contour Sticks – 6 shades
- Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick – 6 shades
- Fenty Beauty Match Stix Contour Skin Stick – 7 shades
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour & Highlight Stick – 4 shades
Which contour stick is the most affordable?
If you are purchasing a contour stick, price is a key variable. Some of these contour sticks come with a hefty price tag while others are more affordable.
These are the most cost-effective options:
- Morphe Dimension Effect Highlight & Contour Sticks, $10
- KKW Beauty Creme Contour Stick, $18
- Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick, $19
We hope this guide helps you find the best contour sticks to add to your makeup bag.