Who doesn’t love (and benefit from) a bit of contouring?? Contouring’s a love/ hate relationship for most people…me included! It’s got to be one of the things people seem to struggle with the most and that I get the most questions about…placement, product, what’s better powder or cream…all the questions! (So next time when it’s you asking me and you’re worried about ‘asking silly questions’ or sounding stupid for asking…no genuine question is silly in my opinion and you’re definitely not alone!)
I’ve spoken about my thoughts on this before (insert eye roll here), but it doesn’t help that we’re bombarded with 50 million insanely OTT contour videos/ routines and contour routines that are not only super complicated…most of the time completely unnecessary. Contouring and highlighting things that absolutely don’t need it just because that’s what we see on everyone else/ Instagram you know? If you’d like me to do an in depth contour routine/ technique post, leave me a comment/ get in touch any way you like. In the mean time I’m here to talk about some of my favourite fair skin friendly (although all of these formulas have shades to suit the majority of other skin tones too) contour products. Choosing the right product/ formula can have a huge impact on how your contour turns out. These are a combination of powder and cream formulas and in no particular order…
Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Amber (Cruelty Free and Vegan)
The Fenty Matchstix are a cream formula in stick form and super user friendly whatever your skill level. I love the shade Amber for fast cream contour alone or I use it as a base under powder contour products too…just to increase wear time of both (you know similar to how a translucent powder sets a foundation) and give a bit of extra definition. It’s the perfect fair skin contour shade…not too dark that it looks harsh but enough to make a difference and it’s cooler tone gives a more believable/ natural contour. This one has a matte finish, but is creamy and really easy to blend out seamlessly. I’ll sometimes use a brush, damp beauty sponge or a combo of the two (brush to gently buff out and then the sponge to perfect and make sure there’re no harsh edges). I’ll include my brush/ sponge contour faves at the end of the post.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Contour in Fawn* (Cruelty Free and Vegan)
Another of my favourite/ most used cream contour formulas, the ABH Contour Stick in the shade Fawn is a great fair skin option if you want something a little warmer (although it is still cool toned). It does give a natural looking definition to your face but kind of warms up at the same time which is good sometimes, especially if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to use a separate bronzer. ABH do loads of contour products (they’re kind of the contour OG aren’t they) creams, powders, palettes and loads of choice in terms of shade…again though, I just find the stick form really convenient and fast. Easy to blend out (this one’s so creamy!) and although it does have a matte finish (similar to the Fenty) it’s a softer, more hydrating natural matte. If your skin’s on the drier side this one might work out better for you, but equally great on my combo skin I feel it’s a good universal option.
Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium* (Cruelty Free)
The Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder’s a cult status product at this stage. It’s been around for a long time, so (especially when I’m testing/ using others) it’s easy to forget about but always temporarily as it’s winning formula always been a favourite of mine. It’s available in a wider range of shades now, but I always find myself gravitating back to the OG medium shade even though I have really fair skin. I do use this alone (it’s super pigmented, so you only need the smallest amount!) but the main reason I stick to the darker medium shade instead of light is because I’ll often use a little bit of this one (on top of another powder or usual combo of powder and cream) just through the back (about an inch towards the centre of your face from your ear) of my none existing cheekbones, to give me some haha and to add extra definition for a slightly stronger contour. Even though this is a strongly pigmented powder, it blends out beautifully and again is cool toned believable shade.
NABLA Shade & Glow Contour Powders in Gotham and Cameo (Cruelty Free)/ Makeup Geek Contour Powders* (Cruelty Free and Vegan)
I’ve counted the NABLA Shade & Glow and Makeup Geek Contour Powders as one here because they’re pretty similar, I really like them both and reach for them equally often. Both of these are really good for working Makeup Artists and individual makeup enthusiasts alike as you can pick each shade up in compact form or as a single pan to go in a larger palette and refill as you need which is cool. I’d say if anything the MUG ones have a little more pigment, however you have a better control of the NABLA ones (they build up more gradually, but still reach good levels of pigment) and I love how they have a real second skin esq finish. Both great and more affordable options.
I’ve used the OG full size version of this in powder and cream forms for the longest time (great for the pro kit with the larger shade selection!) but was excited to see this little nugget launch…a mini travel friendly version of my own shades, so instead of lugging around 6, I get the 2 lightest shades I use the most which is perfect for my personal makeup bag! The packaging is gorgeous with KVD’s signature black embossed design and feels really secure as well as having the advantage of being refillable, so although plastic it’s reusable. It also houses a decent sized mirror for touching up on the go. One thing I have been noticing about the mini compared to the full sized…the light shades Lucid and Sombre are slightly different in each I feel, but I mean slightly! If anything Sombre (the contour shade) is a marginally better shade for me and Lucid (the matte highlight/ setting powder) almost seems a bit more brightening, especially under the eyes. So little is the difference, I’ve doubted myself seeing it…but if there is a difference it’s for the better anyway in my opinion so I’m happy. This’ll definitely be hanging out in my makeup bag for at home and travel!
So yeah, they’re my fair skin contour faves. I also wanted to give a shout out to all the products you might already own that could make for the perfect contour shade…you just don’t know it yet! Don’t discount products just because they’re not technically designed for the cheeks. Take the KVD Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette for example…the middle top cool toned base shade (Lazarus) is an unreal contour shade for fair skin. The Sauce Box Etude Palette has some beautiful contour shades in it as does the Linda Hallberg Infinity Palette*. You can find loads of single eyeshadows that would work too. Basically as long as it has a cooler undertone and has a matte finish…if it suits your skin tone, go for it!
I also wanted to quickly mention my preferred application devices (aka brushes and sponges) incase you were interested in those. For the likes of the Fenty and ABH sticks, although you could use a brush to pick up the product before placing it down on to the skin…I prefer the more direct approach and go straight in there with the stick. It’s quick, gets it exactly where I want it and then I blend out and perfect with tools. The Kat Von D Beauty Shade + Light Cream Contour Brush UK*/ IE* is my go to for the initial cream blend. It’s firm enough that it keeps my contour clean and in the exact place I want it, but fluffy enough to buff it in rally nicely. I always buff and sweep in an upwards motion to keep my contour high enough so it doesn’t drag my face down if it blend too low. Once I’ve done that, I’ll go in with my damp beauty sponge* (same one I use for base products too) and just make sure everything’s well blended out. For contour powders I’ll use a smaller/ firmer brush or even a large eye blending brush…something to give precision as apposed to a regular blusher brush sized fluffy brush which I’d more likely use for a soft bronzer application. With a smaller brush you have way more control and can build up until you get the intensity you want rather than smush it over your whole cheek straight off the bat!