The Best Brushes For Cream Contouring

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by Isabella Sarlija
Elite Daily/Amazon

Contour cream is a divisive product: on the one hand, it does a great job of sculpting and defining your bone structure. On the other hand, since it is has a semi-liquid texture, it can be difficult to blend without moving the product out of place. The secret, of course, comes down to the tools you use, and makeup artist Jenny Patinkin tells Elite Daily that the best brushes for cream contouring are ones that don’t move makeup around or diffuse it too much, like dense domed and angled brushes. To learn more, keep reading.

The Expert

Jenny Patinkin is a celebrity makeup artist and founder of Jenny Patinkin, a beauty brand that specializes in luxury vegan beauty tools. She is the best-selling author of Lazy Perfection: The Art of Looking Great Without Really Trying.

Why The Shape Of The Brush Matters

“Domed and angled brushes don't move makeup around or diffuse it as much as flatter brushes do,” says Patinkin. She mentions that domed and angled brushes “keep the makeup built up where you really want it to have the most impact,” meaning that these types of brushes, in comparison to flat brushes intended for foundation, concealer, or highlighter, will keep your contour cream in place while simultaneously softening the lines for a more natural finish. Smaller buffing brushes with a domed or angled shape are also great for blending contour creams around hard-to-reach areas like the nose, lips, or browbone.

How To Blend Out Cream Contour With A Brush

“A lot of [domed and angled brushes] are intended to be used in a stippling, or patting, motion, which means that the product won't [become] overly smeared, blended or sheer during application,” Patinkin explains. The trick to achieving a pro-level contour job is by using a brush to stipple the product upwards under your cheekbones, downwards under your jawbone, and upwards along your temples and hairline.

Shop The Best Brushes To Use With Contour Cream

In a hurry? Here are the best brushes for cream contouring:

  1. The Best Kabuki Brush: Laura Geller New York Retractable Black Kabuki Brush
  2. The Best Dual-Ended Brush: KINGMAS Foundation Makeup Brush
  3. The Best Brush Set: Docolor Foundation Brush and Concealer Brush
  4. The Best Mutli-Use Buffing Brush: Real Techniques Custom Complexion 3-in-1 Brush
  5. The Best Brush For Contouring Your Nose: Beauty Junkees Mini Flat Angled Kabuki

1. The Best Kabuki Brush

This Laura Geller kabuki brush is retractable, making it perfect for keeping in your go-to cosmetics bag or purse without having to worry about it getting dirty. This brush has an angled shape, which is great for creating symmetry while you apply and buff out your contour cream under your cheekbone, under your jawline, and around your temples. It’s made with vegan, synthetic bristles, can be used with all types of makeup, and has a shed-proof design.

2. The Best Dual-Ended Brush

If you use both contour creams and powders, you’ll love this dual-ended brush. This brush’s denser, angled side is ideal for applying and blending cream products, while the rounded side is perfect for all your setting powders, bronzers, and blushes. This cruelty-free brush is made with soft, synthetic fibers, and rings up at less than $6 on Amazon.

3. The Best Brush Set

This Docolor brush set is ideal if you’re looking for a one-and-done purchase to cover all your contouring needs, no matter how big or small. Use the larger brush to buff your contour cream onto areas like your cheekbones, hairline, and jawline, and opt for the smaller brush when contouring hard-to-reach spots like around your nose, lips (here’s how to contour your lips), or browbone. These brushes are vegan and cruelty-free, and soft enough that they won’t be irritating to sensitive skin.

4. The Best Mutli-Use Buffing Brush

If you want one does-it-all brush, consider Real Techniques’ three-in-one makeup brush. This brush retracts, so you can adjust it to your desired density and length according to what type of product you’re using/what result you want to achieve. This brush’s “mid” setting is the ideal density for blending out contour cream, while the “min” setting is better for liquid and powder foundations. You can use this brush’s “max” setting for concealer under your eyes or on any blemishes — or use it to get into the crevices around your nose and eyes while contouring.

5. The Best Brush For Contouring Your Nose

Getting your nose contour *just* right takes a lot of practice — it requires thin, straight lines that are more precise than most contour brushes can create. This might make you pinch your current contour brush’s bristles to form them into a narrow enough shape to create a precise line along the sides of your nose — but you don’t have to do that anymore. This mini, flat-angled brush is about the same size as an eyeshadow brush and is dense and angular enough to fit into the nooks and crannies on your face, whether you’re using this along your nose, or are applying cream contour under your browbone in an upward motion for a more lifted look.


Jenny Patinkin, celebrity makeup artist, brand founder, and author.