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9 Best Contour Sticks for a Sculpted Look

best contour stick

Beauty UK

Makeup allows you to play lots of tricks with the way you look, but nothing can create quite as striking a difference in the way you appear than learning to properly use the best contour stick. These clever crayons can shade, highlight, add the perfect rosy blush, or give you a surprisingly sculpted appearance, all with a well-placed swipe or two.

If Kim Kardashian can do it, so can you. While you’re accustomed to defining your eyes with eye shadow palettes, you can highlight or deepen your cheekbones or make your nose look just a little narrower, with these sticks. They could become a daily beauty obsession, or simply something you’ll want to use for that extra special occasion.

Either way, they’re a fun way to switch up your look and create the face you weren’t born with, but always wanted.

These Are the Best Contour Sticks

Clinique contour stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Goes on Smooth
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Good shape for application
Price: $32.49 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
vegan bronzer and contour stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to use
  • Vegan formula
  • Built in angled brush
Price: $30.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
contour and highlight stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Two colors to highlight and contour
  • Skin nourishing
  • Sets to a powder finish
Price: $39.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
sharpenable contour stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Precise application
  • Easily blendable
  • Good for most skintones
Price: $49.81 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
CC Beauty Contour Sticks set Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Three piece set
  • Blends easily
  • More precise with smaller tips
Price: $14.59 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
hazelnut contour stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Nourishing formulas
  • Easily blendable
  • Rich colors
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
long wear shaping stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Silky to apply
  • Tons of color choices
  • Super reasonably priced
Price: $12.96 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Contour and highlight stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Two sticks for one price
  • Easy to apply
Price: $9.34 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
three part bb cream contouring stick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Three-in-one contour stick
  • SPF 30
  • Hypoallergenic
Price: $11.62 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour

    • Mineral tints contour
    • Smooth application and easily blended
    • Non-greasy and good for normal to oily skin types
    • Contouring color is very dark
    • More color options would be good
    • Not as easily blended as some

    There’s so much to love about Clinique Chubby Sticks. They’re great for your skin with oil-free formulas that are especially effective for those with normal to oily complexions.

    They’re so lightweight, you’ll feel like they’re barely there once blended. With mineral pigment to add shadow, you can create the look of depth you’ll love while feeling great about the quality of the product. Because they’re non-comedogenic, breakouts aren’t a worry. If you do have oily skin, you may want to add a good clay mask into your skincare routine. 

  2. 2. trèStiQue Color & Contour Bronzer Stick

    • Cream gel formula is easy to blend
    • Angled brush allows for feathering and stays clean inside the case
    • Creates definition as well as a bronze glow
    • Buildable color
    • Pretty spendy
    • Stick can break off inside the tube
    • Color of the bronzer is darker than it appears in photos

    We love this vegan bronzer stick that gives you buildable color in one gorgeous shade. This stick can contour and highlight, and it comes with a built-in feathering brush to give you a natural chiseled look. Just a few thick lines down the hollows of your cheeks and the sides of your nose, once blended, will add incredible definition. And because the color is buildable, it’s like getting two shades in one stick.

    This cream gel comes in a wide rounded stick with the angled blender brush attached to the applicator. That means your brush stays clean and true to color because it locks inside. This stick features a matte bronze finish that looks natural and healthy. Just mix with the trèStiQue blush stick that features a creamy powder finish, and add a dab of highlighter to your cheekbones and brows for a beautifully sculpted look.

    The trèStiQue Beauty On The Fly Set features travel sizes of the bronzer, blush and highlighter sticks in a cute zippered pouch that’s perfect to toss in your purse or travel toiletry bag.

    When you want to contour like a pro, and you have the time to invest in some serious technique training, here are 101 tips to try.


  3. 3. PÜR Cameo Contour & Highlight Stick in Medium

    • Skin nourishing with ceramides
    • Age defying with vitamin A
    • Blurs fine line and dark spots
    • Many color options available
    • Quite expensive
    • Colors don't match as well as some
    • Product can easily break inside applicator

    This dual-ended contour stick from PÜR delivers definition and highlights with two creamy colors in one tube. These blendable formulas dry to a powder finish for a photo worthy look every time. With light reflective ingredients that emphasize your natural highlights and shadows, this stick also does an amazing job at blurring fine lines, dark spots, and blemishes.

    This formula nourishes your skin with every application thanks to the PÜR Ceretin Complex – a proprietary blend of age-defying Vitamin A – also known as retinol – plus hydrating ceramides.

    Each color is easily blended with the included blender sponge. And while the color featured is Medium, you can also get these contour sticks in Deep, Tan and Light formulas, so it’s easy to find the one that matches your needs perfectly.

    Want to know more about the benefits of Vitamin A for your skin? Here’s a great article that gives you the scoop.


  4. 4. Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Stick

    • The fine pencil allows for precise application
    • Nice and creamy - easy to blend
    • Goes on smooth and doesn't get cakey
    • Heavier feeling than some
    • With regular use the finish on the pencil flakes off onto skin
    • Not great for darker complexions

    This bronzing stick from Smashbox is one of our faves for its narrow tip that can be used at the point for very targeted fine contouring or slid onto your cheek on the side for a wider swath. This gentle bronze color is warm and gentle, and an ideal match for most skin tones except for those with extremely dark complexions. The creamy formula is super blendable. 

    The perfect size for contouring along the nose and lips, do remember that for the best look, you’ll want to blend and then finish with powder and setting spray. If you want our recommendations for the best makeup setting sprays, just browse the list here.

    Smashbox also makes a three stick set that includes highlight, bronzer and contouring sticks along with a sharpener. And if you’d rather have a dual-ended foundation and contour stick, Smashbox has one of those as well.


  5. 5. CC Beauty Dual-ended Contour and Highlighter Sticks Set of 6

    • Gives you three shading and three highlighting options
    • Super affordable
    • Easily blendable and dries to a matte finish
    • Ability to mix and match to fit your skin color
    • You get colors you may not use
    • Colors have more orange undertones
    • They can dry out if left too long

    If you’re just stepping into the contouring game, it’s pretty likely you don’t want to spend a fortune before you feel like you’ve got the hang of it and love the results. That’s what we love about this three contour stick set. It’s wallet-friendly and super flexible for most skin colors. 

    Each stick features a highlight tip and a shading tip, so you can easily highlight cheek and brow bones and the bridge of your nose, while using the darker side to define and add that sculpted look. The full coverage formulas also cover flaws and blemishes with ease. With so many colors to choose from, you can mix and match to create your desired effect.

    These creamy crayons dry to a powdery matte finish, and they blend easily so experimentation is fun and creative. Whether you choose to use them on your face only, or you go wild and create defined clavicles or even a six pack, it’s easily possible with this affordable set.

  6. 6. KIKO MILANO Contour Stick

    • Natural walnut and pistachio oils improve your skin
    • Single color options delivers exactly what you want
    • Silky feel that blends well
    • Sets to a matte finish
    • Only two color options
    • No highlighter included
    • May cause skin irritation or breakouts

    We love contour kits, and double tipped sticks, but sometimes we’re in the mood for one thing and one thing only – a defining contour stick that we can blend with our foundation to give us a subtly sculpted look. That’s where this stick nails it, with two color options – hazelnut for more subtle effects or chocolate for more drama.

    The creamy color is easy to blend and buildable, but what we really love is the nourishing ingredients that help to improve your skin with use. These contour sticks are enriched with African walnut oil and pistachio oil, yet they are non-comedogenic. Walnut oil is rich in age-defying antioxidants and natural fatty acids, while pistachio seed extract delivers wrinkle-fighting vitamin E that also helps improve your skin’s elasticity. Nice.

    Start with a smooth palette with KIKIO MILANO Foundation and Concealer, before adding contour stick, then add a bold pop of color on your eyes and cheeks with the KIKI MILANO Smart Eyes and Cheeks Palette.


  7. 7. L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Longwear Shaping Stick

    • With 12 colors to choose from you can contour to perfection
    • Very blendable creamy texture
    • Contains SPF 17 for some added sun protection
    • Doesn't cake or pill up
    • Not the best for oily skin
    • Not full coverage
    • May cause breakouts

    Whether you want to cover, conceal or contour, these shaping sticks from L’Oreal Paris make your makeup routine so simple. They’re long wearing with full coverage that lasts up to 24 hours, although if you don’t wash your face before bed you’ll see us wagging our finger at you.

    With SPF 17, they offer some added protection from damaging UV rays, and with 12 colors to choose from you can pick those that perfectly match your goals and skin tone. They glide on super smooth and blend easily allowing you to create that perfectly chiseled look you weren’t born with.

    These feel virtually weightless on your skin, so they’re never cakey or clumpy. The silky smooth formula does contain some silicone, so if you’re sensitive to that ingredient do be aware. We think that ingredient makes these contour sticks a little better for dry to normal skin than for normal to oily skin types.

    Since you’re searching for the best contour stick for your skin tone, you might not want to settle for just one. Consider a main shade and then buy both a darker contouring shade like the espresso color featured, along with a highlighting shade for that sculpting effect.

    And back on that topic of washing your face every night, a facial cleansing brush is the perfect way to care for your skin. Check out our big list of recommended facial cleansing brushes here.

  8. 8. 3-Wonder Contour & Highlight Stick

    • Two piece set with four total colors
    • Very affordable
    • Blends easily and dries to a matte finish
    • More precise tips easily reach small facial areas
    • You get colors that may not suit your skintone
    • Small amount of product per tube
    • No information on ingredients available

    This two piece set is a bargain and gives you multiple options to cover flaws and contour to your heart’s (or face’s) content. The two pencils target different skin tones –  one for caucasian skin and the other for more yellow toned skin types. Each stick features a highlight end, and a shading end that can create your perfect sculpted look.

    These sticks blend well, and dry to a matte powder finish, so you can get as defined as you like. The narrower tips make it easy to get into tight spots along your nose and in the corners of your eyes. With four total shades, you can mix them for the perfect color match for your skin tone.

    Looking for a simple and easy to understand tutorial on contouring? Check out this step by step regimen from the beauty experts at ELLE Magazine.

  9. 9. Physicians Formula Super BB Insta Ready Contour Stick

    • Three-in-one stick lets you highlight, contour and bronze in one swipe
    • Features SPF 30 to protect from UV damage
    • Mattifies and blurs pores and imperfections
    • Light reflecting
    • Oddly scented
    • Not as easy to apply as it seems
    • Not as long lasting as some others

    We had to include this contouring stick from Physicians Formula for its unique design that allows you to highlight, sculpt and contour with a single swipe. A pretty cool idea, and only one container to keep track of, right? This hypoallergenic formula is perfect for sensitive skin types, especially those people who love to play with makeup.

    This triple threat stick is made with dual-sphere particles that absorb oil, but not moisture, so skin feels soft and looks more natural. Because it’s BB cream, you’ll see your flaws and imperfections virtually disappear. With a highlighter to add radiance, a bronzer to deliver a golden glow and a contour color to define and sculpt, this stick allows you to create your custom look.

    We love that it includes SPF 30 sun protection, a huge plus and one we’d expect from this brand, but this stick has other awesome attributes as well. It mattifies, reflects light and helps to improve your skin’s texture so, at the price, we think it’s a seriously fun option.

    We’d recommend a dusting of luminescent powder to set this stick as it does rub off a bit otherwise. And if you need to conceal those dark under eye circles, we are big fans of the Physicians Formula Conceal RX Physicians Strength Concealer which can even cover rosacea and other more serious skin imperfections.

Should I pick a contour stick, powder, or cream?

Sticks and creams are pretty much made of the same stuff and consistency. They just come in a different delivery system. Sticks and creams are great for a smooth, easily blendable finish. They are best for normal or dry skin. Powders can create a more sharp, dramatic look. They may be harder to blend, but can work better for people will oily or acne-prone skin.

How to Pick Contour Stick Colors

It's always best to be able to test lots of shades on your skin and see what tones (warm, cool, neutral, etc.) work with your complexion. But if you're doing basic contouring, the simple rule is to pick a contouring stick or a contouring kit with colors that are one to two shades darker than your foundation.

Where to Put Contour Makeup

Where exactly you'll use your artistic prowess to create incredible dimensions depends on what kind of effect you'd like to create. Want to intensity the look of your cheekbones? Reduce the appearance of a double chin (why though they are cute)? Here's a great guide for how to contour for different face shapes



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