How to Contour With Creams, Powders, Brushes and Sponges

February 28, 2022
Jessica Harrington
By: Jessica Harrington | by L'Oréal
beauty products on white counter
Sculpted makeup continues to be a popular trend, and mastering your contouring technique can easily be done with the right products. Whether you prefer a natural contour or an angled sculpt, using certain textures can make all the difference. Here, we’ve compiled an all-encompassing guide to contouring products and tools, so you can create a perfectly sculpted look.

Contouring With Powder

When contouring with powder, the general rule is to choose a shade that’s two shades darker than your natural skin color. Using a matte bronzer — like the NYX Professional Makeup 3 Steps to Sculpt Face Sculpting Palette or the Makeup by Mario Soft Sculpt Bronzer — will typically give you the best results. To sculpt, lightly pack the product onto a contour brush or an angled blush brush and gently buff it into the hollows of your cheeks, forehead, jawline and nose.
NYX Professional Makeup 3 Steps to Sculpt Face Sculpting Palette

Contouring With a Cream

Some people find cream contouring products easier to blend and achieve a natural look because they tend to melt into the skin. Similar to contouring with powder, you should choose a shade or two darker than your natural skin. For the most control during application, try a contouring stick like the Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick, which features both a contour and a highlighter shade. Simply apply the product where you’d like to contour and blend it out with a beauty sponge or brush.
Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick

Contouring With Eyeshadow

If you don’t have a powder or cream contour on hand, you can use eyeshadow in a pinch, too. Try a matte brown or taupe shadow, like the Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow in Tease for contouring. 

Contouring Application Tools

Aside from choosing the right product, your blending technique is key to achieving a perfectly sculpted look. Whether you use a brush or a sponge, you can achieve that flawless finish you’re striving for. 

Contouring Brushes

For cheek, face and nose contouring, try an angular brush, like the IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Sculpt & Define Blush Brush #25. The angled design will help you contour more precisely.
IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Sculpt & Define Blush Brush #25

Contouring With a Beauty Sponge

If you’re not a fan of brushes, a beauty sponge like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Makeup Sponge can also get the job done. Blend the contour lightly, using upward strokes until there are no visible lines or color separation.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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