The Best Cream Contour Sticks
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Want to know a fun fact? The best cream contour sticks aren’t necessarily marketed as contour sticks at all; generally, foundation sticks will work just as well. More important than the makeup stick you choose is your technique: when it comes to contouring, it’s all about blending and shading (and therefore picking the right shade). How you prep your skin is important, too. It’s going to be difficult to contour skin that’s flaky or dry, so be sure to thoroughly moisturize your skin with a hydrating serum, moisturizer, and — depending on your skin type, this last part is optional — primer first.
When it comes to contouring, the tools you use are also important. While it is possible to work with your fingers, you’re going to get the best results if you use a makeup brush with firm, densely packed bristles. As for how to contour with a cream stick? There’s no shortage of YouTube tutorials to choose from, but to learn from the master, check out this clip from Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian’s longtime makeup artist. Note that Dedivanovic told our friends at The Zoe Report to choose a contour stick that’s a few shades deeper than your skin tone, but since creams tend to be more forgiving than powders, you don’t have to get too hung up on choosing the “perfect” color. Again, blending is key here: even if you buy a too-dark shade, you can probably still get away with using it as long as you blend it out. Don’t forget some highlighter — in a shade lighter than your skin — for the top of your cheekbones, too.
Keep scrolling to shop five worthy contour sticks to add to your arsenal, from a $5 drugstore find to an all-mineral formula to a double-sided wand and more.
1. Best Under $5
Though it’s offered in just three contour shades, you can’t beat the value of this Wet n Wild makeup stick. Its thick, chubby shape means you get a lot of product, but each crayon rings up at less than $4 on Amazon. It comes in blush and highlighter shades, too — so you could stock your kit with one of each without spending more than $10.
- Available shades: 3
2. Best Double-Sided Contour Stick
This best-selling makeup stick from NYX contains a contour shade on one side and a highlighter on the other. Both products are creamy and easy to work with, while the slim, pointed shape of the crayon allows you to contour narrower areas, like your nose (you can also swipe some contour cream under your eyes and use the highlighter on your brow bone). Being as versatile as it is, it’s the perfect product to keep in your bag for midday touchups.
- Available shades: 6
3. Best Prestige Contour Stick
If you, like so many others among us, worship at the altar of Anastasia Beverly Hills, you can use their best-selling foundation stick to do your contouring work. Because the creamy formula is so buildable, it’s easy to blend out with the right brush, whether you use it to sculpt, shade, highlight, or conceal (you can do all of these things with these sticks — you’ll just need a few colors).
- Available shades: 34
4. Best Contour Stick For Dark Skin
If you struggle to find a contour stick that’s dark enough for your complexion, check out this line of multi-use makeup sticks from Black Radiance. Like the ABH foundation sticks above, these can be used for contouring, sculpting, and shading — and since they ring up at less than $10 a pop, you can pick up a few to create a cohesive, multi-dimensional look sans shimmer. Another thing that makes these contour sticks so great? The fluffy angled brush that’s built into the other side.
- Available shades: 8
5. Best Mineral-Based Contour Stick
If you find that mineral-based makeup suits your skin best, there’s even a contour stick for you. PÜR’s 4-in-1 Foundation Stick is a multi-tasking product that can be used to contour, conceal, blur, brighten, and so much more. Made with good-for-skin nutrients like green tea and ginseng; minerals like titanium dioxide and iron oxides; and the brand’s own Ceretin Complex, which comprises lactic acid, shea butter, and ceramides, among other things, this is the rare contour stick that also offers skin care benefits. For even more dimension (and coverage), top off with the brand’s best-selling 4-in-1 pressed powder.
- Available shades: 15