Products to use for contouring & tips


Jul 5, 2007
I really need help with contouring - I never really put a lot of effort and thought into contouring aside from occasional bronzing, but I just got my iphone5 and I was shocked to see how giant/blobby my face looked when trying to do Facetime. I did a bit of contouring with Baremineral "warmth" I still have and it made a huge difference but the color seems a bit too orangey. I have been searching youtube for contouring tutorials and products but honestly there are so many that I get confused.

Could you please share your tips on what products to use for contouring?
Thank you!


Sep 8, 2009

I often use Make Up Forever Sculpting Kit on clients when I do contouring. It's a powder compact with a darker shade for contour and a highlighter shade. It's quick and easy to use. But it's best to apply it with a contour brush, MUFE sells a contour brush but you can use any angled brush as well.

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate is also good, but it's a cream product and needs a learning curve to use.

When I'm in a hurry, I just use 3 different shades of foundation on clients, the clients skin tone, a darker shade for contour and lighter shade for highlight, depending on the event and how much "contoured" look the client wants.

I do not recommend bronzer when you do contouring. Bronzers tend to run orange or reddish, as it mimics the warmth and effect of the sun on your skin. It's best to find a product with some grayish cast on it.

When you contour, you define the natural hollows on your face and these hallows are cast by shadows made by areas of your face that are lifted, like your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, browbone, etc. and shadows are usually grayish, not orange or red like most bronzers are.

You can also try Chanel JC in Notorious. I haven't tried it myself but based on blogs and reviews it's a good contour product.

Good luck!


Jul 10, 2008
^ Totally agree with everything above, especially about not using bronzer.

I am MAC NW15 (pale). I use MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural powder in "medium-deep" which is a matte powder. It is pretty much a natural light-medium brown skintone. I think the keys for contouring are: brown (not orange or reddish) and no sparkle or shimmer. I would try to look for a pressed powder or liquid foundation (if you prefer to contour with liquid; I use powder because I find it easier) a few shades darker than your skin. That will ensure you're getting a natural skintone shade, rather than a "bronzer" type shade which is typically going to be reddish or orangey.

I typically do a small amount of contouring each day, but I only use powder. I have a very round face, so I do under my cheekbones to give some definition. I also have a very weak chin, so I go under my chin & around my jawline.

Try searching on YouTube to watch some videos & learn the best spots to contour. There's actually a few videos, I think by Kandee Johnson, called "plastic surgery with makeup" that illustrate how to contour certain areas pretty well. You could also try searching by whatever specifically you're trying to conceal, "hide double chin with makeup" etc.
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Jul 7, 2006
I need help with this also! My skin is darker, probably like an NC35-37? I found one on a YouTube video called Pretty & Cute Contour Palette but I could only find the Pretty & Cute site but no palette anywhere!

Anyone have good ideas for palettes that will show on darker skin tones?


only once you live
Dec 11, 2005
I'm probably an NW/C10 and with a light hand, I use MAC Strada; occasionally the lightest MUFE Contouring Duo palette as mentioned above.

I'm extremely interested in Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow though.


Jul 5, 2007
Thanks everyone. I really wanted to get the MUFE sculpting kit but my local Sephora was out of them (as well as online) so I ended up getting MAC mineralize skinfinish mentioned above but in lighter color as well as "harmony" blush to use for contouring. I have had to purchase a darker powder (but lighter than the blush color) for added contouring but so far the result is much better than using bronzer or Bare Minerals warmth.
I would love to try the contouring kit from MUFE when they become available though.


Oh no she di-int!!
Jun 1, 2006
I'm very fair with ruddy skin and actually have great luck with three different contouring methods (I've got full cheeks too - bonus, LOL); however I don't think the first two are available any longer - ?

1. Stila's contouring kit: a darker matte contouring shade, a medium one with a little shimmer and a light highlighter. The medium shade is all I need, applied with an angled blush brush

2. MAC blush in Emote: GREAT for contouring on my skintone rather than as a blush. I learned this trick from Makeup Geek awhile back!

3. NARS bronzer in Laguna. This is the only bronzer that I can use for contour that does not make my face look like it's 'dirty.' Love it!



Jul 13, 2008
I use MUFE Sculpting Kit in #2. I'm about a MAC NC20-25. All you need is just a bit. I've had mine for years and have just hit pan. And it's nice cuz if you think you've put too much on, just use the highlight and blend it out.

What I've learned, from classes I've taken over the years is there are 2 ways of doing makeup. One is making it look amazing in person, but it doesn't translate in pictures(like you didn't apply enough color). Two is looking a bit much in person, but then looking amazing in photos. I'm more of the former. I guess it's a matter of preference since I don't like having my picture taken anyway.LOL


Apr 21, 2011
i use bronzer everyday. I use Smashbox Sun matte Tan bronzer- it's kim kardashian's favorite. I've tried a million bronzers (laguna, hoola, nyx sunny, warmth, chanel soleil de tan(sp?), etc...but I really like how smashbox's sun matte tan doesn't look too orange or red.


Aug 12, 2007
I use Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate. I have tan skin, mac nc 40. It is very natural and love the cream product.


May 16, 2012
I like to use Mac taupe blush or any browny shade blush. Never a bronzer. Sleek also makes a cheaper contour highlighter duou that works just as well.


Oct 25, 2011
Lately I've been using the MAC Pro Sculpting Cream in Richly Honed. They have several shades to choose from. I find the cream products to produce a more natural looking contour.