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Perfect the art of contouring with a luxury contouring kit from Jane Iredale, INIKA Organic, Anastasia Beverly Hills, or any one of the other premium makeup brands we carry.

Forget just wearing foundation; face contouring is your secret beauty weapon for having not only flawless skin, but a flawless bone structure too. Contouring makeup adds depth and shadow in all the right places, and when used correctly, will subtly but surely transform your features - such as narrowing your nose or lifting your cheekbones - while also drawing attention to the natural ones you want to flaunt. It’s like the makeup equivalent of getting filler or even a facelift, but without the expense or any of the risks!

FAQs on contouring

What is in a contouring kit?

Face contouring requires a minimum of two colors - a darker one for creating shadow, and a lighter one to act as a highlighter. An expert contouring makeup kit may include many shades in between however, and may even feature some pink tones to use as blush.

For beginners, we love the Smashbox contouring makeup kit in particular because it comes complete with an angled brush for easy blending, plus an instruction guide which explains how to tailor contour placement to your face shape.

How do I use a contouring makeup kit?

If you’re new to contouring, it can take a little trial and error to find the exact color placement that works for you. If you’re worried about overdoing it, the trick is simply to start subtle and build up the color layer by layer. Remember also that you don’t have to contour your entire face if you don’t want to - you can contour just your nose, or just your cheekbones.

To contour your entire face, apply the darker color along your hairline, along the sides of your jawline, either side of your nose, and just below your cheekbones. Apply the highlight color just above your cheekbones, down the center of your nose, in the middle of your chin, under your eyes, and in the center of your forehead/brow. Then blend, blend, blend!

How do I know what is a good contouring makeup kit?

Just like with foundation or blush, contouring makeup is being applied to your skin so it’s important to pick a product that’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores and cause a breakout.

Whether a particular contouring makeup kit is right for you will also depend on your skin tone and skin type. In terms of colors, you want a color which is approximately 3 shades darker than your natural skin tone for creating shadow, and a highlighter which is 1 or 2 shades lighter than your foundation. It’s important that they match your skin undertones too (cool vs. warm) so that the end result looks natural.

Consider the formulation too. Contouring palettes are available in both powder and cream versions, with powder working best for oily skin and cream working best for dry skin. For normal skin types, pick the same formulation you prefer to use when it comes to foundation.