Contouring is often misunderstood, but when done right, it’s far from over-the-top. It’s about emphasizing the natural lines and angles of your face in a way that elevates your entire look. It’s sophisticated and versatile, making your features stand out while adding a refined touch to your makeup routine.
The allure of a contour palette lies in its variety and utility. These all-in-one kits come with multiple shades and often different textures, letting you adapt your contour for different occasions and moods. A single palette can take you from a low-key day look to a dramatic evening face, giving you maximum utility for your investment.
So, what should you consider when shopping for your ideal contour palette? Pay attention to the range of shades—ensure they match your skin’s undertone and offer enough variation to suit your contouring needs. Check the texture; some people prefer creamy formulas, while others opt for powders. Finally, consider the size and portability if you’re someone who’s always on the go.
We know the options can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help. We’ve consulted beauty experts to curate a selection of the top 10 contour palettes suited for an array of skin tones and experience levels.
1. MAC Studio Fix Sculpt And Shape Contour Palette
If you’re looking for a contour palette that can do it all and look good while doing it, this is your product.
MAC’s Studio Fix Sculpt And Shape Contour Palette contains three matte contouring powders and three subtly shimmery highlighting powders to sculpt, shape, and enhance your facial features. It’s perfect for light and medium skin tones, but the palette also comes in an option for medium to dark complexions.
The highlight shades contain Soft-Focus Technology to softly reflect light and give you maximum luminosity with minimal texture for a natural finish. The contouring colors are sheer coverage designed to create natural-looking shadows that give your face dimension without the harshness of heavier formulas.
2. KVD Beauty Shade + Light Refillable Face Contour Palette
If you’re a beginner, the KVD Beauty Contour Palette is the perfect product for you.
Much like others on this list, it’s got three shades of contouring powder and three shades of highlighting powder to help you create realistic shadows and give off a soft glow, all while sculpting your facial features and amplifying dimension.
The powders blend easily, so even if you’re new to contouring, you won’t have any trouble using them. The pans are also removable and magnetic, so you can refill your palette with other shades if need be.
3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit
Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Contour Powder Kit is a makeup artist-quality collection that lets you brighten, sculpt, and color-correct. The innovative pressed, contour powder formula has a seamless bendability that provides buildable coverage.
The kit contains three highlighter shades and three contour shades in matte and shimmer finishes. The shades are available in two different colorways: warm and cool.
They can be used individually or combined to create any desired look for your face or body.
According to reviewers, “Had the perfect shimmer and I love the darker contour shades with two different options. Super lightweight can’t feel it on my face.”
4. e.l.f. Cosmetics Cream Contour Palette
e.l.f. Cosmetics’ Cream Contour Palette is a great budget-friendly option for contouring and sculpting your face.
The palette comes with four complexion-friendly shades that you can easily blend together. You can mix the bronzing shades to create a customized color or use them as eyeshadow if you’re running low on time!
This palette is easy to use and will give you that chiseled cheekbone look without breaking the bank.
“This is my first try at using cream, and I was amazed at how easy it applies,” explained one tester. “It is a product that is best to apply lightly and build up slowly.”
5. Make Up For Ever HD Skin Sculpting Palette
Contouring is a challenge. That’s why we love this easy-to-use contour palette from Make Up For Ever: it has all you need to conceal, contour, highlight, and underpaint with just one product.
The six palette shades are so lightweight and comfortable that you’ll forget you’re wearing makeup—but they won’t leave you looking ashy or washed out as some other powders do. The formula also syncs with your skin tone for a naturally radiant finish that lasts up to 12 hours!
Whether you’re new to contouring or just looking for something easy to use when you don’t have time for a full face of makeup (or even if you want a quick touch-up), we think this product is worth giving a try.
6. LORAC PRO Contour Palette with Contour Brush
LORAC’s PRO Contour Palette is an all-in-one kit that allows you to create perfectly sculpted features easily.
It contains two matte highlighters, one shimmer highlighter, and three matte contour shades. The velvety-smooth powders blend beautifully onto the skin to create a natural-looking contour that looks like you, only better!
Plus, this palette comes with a custom contour brush with a unique dome shape that allows for effortless precision and control. When you’re using this brush to apply your makeup, you’ll feel like an expert makeup artist.
7. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow
In a world where contouring is a thing, and everyone wants cheekbones, it’s no surprise that a product like Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow exists.
This all-in-one pressed powder, bronzer, and highlighter will sculpt and highlight your features for fabulous red carpet cheekbones—or just make your face look slightly more sun-kissed if you don’t feel like going full-on Hollywood glam.
The color-rich pigments are rolled into elastomer pearls that smooth and buff the appearance so you can build up coverage in one swipe. It’s perfect for a sun-kissed, candlelit effect. The powder comes in two shades: contour and highlight. The latter has a golden base to universally flatter any skin tone.
The product is encased in Hollywood-inspired art deco packaging, making it an ideal gift for the beauty lover in your life!
8. Tom Ford Shade And Illuminate Cream Contour Duo
Tom Ford reinvented its contour duo with this new cream-to-satin formula that’s infused with moisturizing botanical oils.
The two shades blend seamlessly into the skin for natural dimension and can be used to achieve a flawless contour, whether you’re looking for depth or definition. If you’re looking for something more intense, combine both shades to customize your intensity level.
The darker shade is perfect for shading in areas like cheekbones, while the lighter shade can be used to enhance high points like your nose bridge and forehead. It’s definitely on the pricier side, but it’s worth it if you want a flawless finish.
9. Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Highlighter & Bronzer Face Palette Kit
Smashbox’s Contour Kit is another must-have for any makeup collection.
It makes it super easy to sculpt, shape, and glow—and it’s buildable, so you can control the intensity of your look. It includes bronzer, highlighter, and contour powders so you can choose the perfect shades for your skin tone.
The palette also comes with a guide for creating your own looks that are perfect for beginners or advanced users alike. Not to mention, there’s a built-in mirror and brush so you can apply your makeup on the go without having to hunt down all your other tools.
10. ONE/SIZE Made for Shade Bronze & Sculpt Trio Palette
ONE/SIZE’s contour palette is one of those products that you just can’t live without.
The trio of shades can be used together or separately for a touch of color or a fully contoured look. The formula is matte, which means it won’t look shiny or greasy on your skin—and it also works well with any foundation or concealer you may already be using.
What sets this palette apart from others on the market is its texture-blurring properties. The formula contains Magnolia bark extract, which helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles while creating a silky finish.
What to Look for in Contour Palettes
A diverse shade range in a contour palette ensures that you can achieve the most natural-looking shadows and highlights, irrespective of your skin tone. Look for palettes that offer a mix of cool and warm tones. Cool tones mimic natural shadows, while warm tones are ideal for bronzing and adding a sun-kissed glow.
The pigmentation level of a contour palette is crucial for achieving the desired sculpting effect. Highly pigmented formulas offer more color payoff with less product, leading to longer-lasting usage. However, be wary of formulas that are too pigmented, as they can be difficult to blend.
The ability of the contour shades to blend seamlessly into your skin is a key factor. A chalky or overly waxy formula can leave harsh lines and disturb the makeup underneath. Opt for a palette with a smooth, blendable formula that can be easily layered and softened.
It’s advisable to scan the ingredient list for any potential irritants, especially if you have sensitive skin. Quality contour palettes often contain skin-loving ingredients like vitamin E, which can offer additional benefits like moisturization.
A contour palette that can withstand the rigors of a long day without requiring touch-ups is invaluable. Look for options that are advertised as long-wearing or transfer-resistant to ensure your carefully sculpted look stays in place.