10 Best Contour Sticks of 2022 for Easy Sculpting
A great contouring pencil can sculpt and sculpt your face in a way that even a Greek statue would be jealous of. Unlike bronzer, which adds warm colors for a sun-kissed look, Contouring uses cool tones to both accentuate the shadows where you want to recede areas of the face, as well as sculpt for chapped cheekbones and a razor-sharp jawline.
While contouring can be a little intimidating for the inexperienced user, a contouring stick makes contouring easy with a simple swipe, blend, and go. Combine with a concealer, blush and a highlighter and prepare yourself for impressive depth and dimension. The sheer amount of creamy, blendable formulas out there is enough to confuse anyone, so we’ve rounded them up Top 10 Contour Pencils coveted by our own GH beauty enthusiasts, celebrity makeup artists and online reviews.
Our top picks:
For all things contouring, read below for what to look for in the best contouring pencil and an overview of how to contour your face. Complete your full face makeup look with our guide to the best bronzers for dark skin and tips for applying concealer and blush.
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BEST OVERALL CONTOUR STITCH
Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick
AFFORDABLE CONTOUR STICK
Wonder Stick Cream Highlight & Contour Stick
MOST PIGMENTED CONTOUR STICK
SoftSculpt shaping stick
BEST CONTOUR STICK FOR BEGINNERS
Makeup Facestudio Master Contour V-Shape Duo Stick
BEST CONTOUR STICK KIT
Mini Beachy Nudes 3 piece kit
BEST CONTOUR STICK FOR NATURAL MAKEUP
Sculpting Touch Creamy Stick Contour
BEST CONTOUR STICK FOR OILY SKIN
Matte cream bronzer
BEST CREAM CONTOUR STICK
So Soft Multi Faceplay Bronze + Sculpt
BEST DRAGGERIST CONTOUR STICK
MegaGlo Makeup Stick Conceal and Contour
BEST LIQUID CONTOUR STICK
Be creative outline
How we picked the best contour pencils
Our list above features a combination of employee favorites, including ones we’ve reviewed from trusted brands we’ve tried in previous Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab tests. We also consulted professional makeup artist Nydia Figueroa for her tips on shopping for liner pencils to facilitate our top picks, including a favorite from her own celebrity beauty kit.
What you should look out for in a contour pencil
✔️ formula: Look out for creamy, easily blendable formulas. “I love using cream or liquid contours,” says Figueroa. Liquid becomes a little more transparent for casual looks, while Cream offers a little more drama and coverage.
✔️ The shade: Choose a shade that is at least two or even three times darker than your skin tone. It blends in with the shadows of your face and emphasizes them so it doesn’t look as dramatic as you think.
✔️ volume: Rather than warmer tones, look for a color that “mimics the cool tone shadow and how it would naturally hit your face,” says Figueroa. Brush against your skin – preferably where you would place the outline – to make sure it doesn’t look ashy or too gray. When you shop online, look for photos of women wearing a product whose skin color might be similar to yours.
✔️ user friendliness: For beginners, contour pencils with two-sided colors or built-in brushes provide all the tools you need to get started. One with a precise tip allows you a little more control and lets you build when you’re more comfortable, she says.
How to use a contour pencil
Start by understanding your face shape. Figueroa recommends it Then locate the cheekbone Place two fingers underneath to find a good spot to contour. If you want the look of an altered forehead or nose, you can apply more contour shading to the outer edges to create a narrowed illusion, and under the jawline for a more pronounced jawline.
Apply directly with a stick or wand, creating dots where you want to contour and then blending outwards and up towards the edges of the face. For more control over the product, Figueroa likes to use a fluffy, tapered brush to gradually build up the color, rather than applying the liner directly to the face.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
GH Beauty and Health Reviews Analyst Chiara Butler regularly tests makeup as part of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Beauty Lab. Butler recommended some of the above tips based on her industry knowledge and favorites that she’s personally tried. Armed with a rotation of contour pencils and experience as a former Style & Beauty reviewer at Insider, GH Associate Editor Jacqueline Saguin recommended her favorites, scoured other top picks on our team of product experts, and interviewed celebrity makeup artists Nydia Figueroa for their expert advice on contouring.
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