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Best contour cream 2023: Make your cheekbones pop

Want to get the flawless, sculpted model look? Discover the best contouring creams for sculpting your cheekbones to perfection

Contouring has become a popular trend in recent years and is a great little trick that adds the finishing touches to a full face of makeup. Contouring enhances the natural shadows of the face and is used to define the jaw, slim the nose, accentuate the cheekbones and even make the forehead appear smaller for that supermodel look. When applied well, it’s amazing what makeup can do.

Applying contour effectively will take two things: a bit of practice and the best contour cream for the job. But while there are plenty of videos out there to help you hone your skills, even the best tutorials won’t be helpful without a good contour cream. To help with that, we’ve researched and tested some of the best contour creams on the market today and collated them in a list for you below, along with a brief guide on how to choose the best one for you.

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Best contour cream: At a glance

How to choose the best contour cream for you

What shade should I get?

The shade of the contour you get is hands down probably the most important part of the selection process. Contour essentially tries to enhance or mimic the natural dark shadows on your face. You will therefore need to choose a tone that’s one to three shades darker than your skin tone and is easy to blend in. Also, you’ll notice that contouring creams may have different undertones – some may have grey undertones and some are warmer – and these are incorporated into each shade to help blend naturally into your own skin tone.

How much should I spend?

How much you spend on a contour cream really does depend on just how important contouring is to your makeup routine. Do you feel naked without it? If so, splash out on a good one, as it will definitely be higher in quality and will probably last longer too, as higher-end options tend to be more pigmented than cheaper versions. You can pick up some good in-store options, which are always good to have for everyday makeup looks. Typically, though, contour creams are priced between £10 and £25.

Do I need to use a brush?

Yes, with most contour creams, you should be using either a blending brush or a makeup sponge. The secret for contouring to look natural as opposed to cakey or blotchy is to blend it well. You can use your fingers too, but for the best results, an angled brush or an egg-shaped blending sponge would be ideal. Blending is a lot easier to do with a brush rather than your fingers.

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How we test contour cream

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on delivers the most complete information about a product. When it comes to contour creams, we test the variety of the shades available using different application techniques. Where contour creams are recommended for a particular skin type or area of the face, we use it appropriately to ensure we make an accurate recommendation.

We wear-test a contour cream over the course of a day, evaluating the overall quality of the product, its feel on the skin, and the length of time for which it stays in place. We also consider the pros and cons of palettes versus sticks, plus the amount of product you get for the price.

READ NEXT: Our pick of the best BB creams for natural coverage

The best contour cream you can buy in 2023

1. Huda Beauty Contour Cream: The best overall contour cream

Price when reviewed: £31 | Check price at SephoraDue to its highly pigmented makeup and staying power, the Huda Beauty contour cream has cemented its place as our overall pick for the best contour cream. The product isn’t cheap, but a little will go a long way so this little gem will last you quite a while. The first thing you’ll notice about this product is the sleek container it comes in. You can tell just by the outer packaging that you’re getting a quality product.

This contour blends really well, too. It’s soft and doesn’t disturb your base layer of foundation underneath. The great thing about this product is you can build it up according to how dramatic or subtle you want your contour to look. It’s recommended to apply this cream with a good angled brush by dotting along the contours of each side of the face and then – you guessed it – blending it in.

Key details – Size: 11g; Format: Single palette; Shades available: Five

Check price at Sephora

2. Fenty Beauty Contour Stick: The best contour cream stick

Price when reviewed: £23 | Check price at BootsIf you haven’t yet tried the Fenty Beauty Match Stix contour, then you really need to. This product allows you to contour like a pro, with very little effort required. This cream really does blend like butter, making it exceptionally easy to apply, so it’s good for beginners as well as the contour queens out there. It’s also super lightweight, which is ideal for those who don’t like the feel of a heavy face of makeup.

What’s also great about the Match Stix contour – and what Rihanna’s makeup line is famous for – is that it comes in a variety of shades so it can cater to all skin tones. The brand is also completely cruelty-free. In addition, this contour cream comes in a stunning pink outer packing which will surely complement your makeup table. It’s also small enough to be popped in your handbag when you’re on the go so you can touch it up as needed.

Key details – Size: 7.10g; Format: Stick; Shades available: Ten

Check price at Boots

3. Sleek MakeUP Cream Contour Kit: The best budget contour cream

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at Amazon

This cream contour kit from Sleek MakeUP is perfect for those looking for something more affordable: you get six different shades included in the set, three of which are for highlighting and the other three specifically for the darker contours. The different shades are intended to be applied to different areas of the face, and there’s a particularly handy instruction guide included, which shows you exactly where each shade needs to go for that ultimate supermodel look. Contouring can be quite difficult at first, so the extra help is a nice touch that will have you feeling like a pro in no time.

The product itself has a thick, creamy consistency with a matte finish, and the darker colours are slightly more pigmented than the lighter ones to give you that shadowy effect. It’s buildable, too, meaning you can simply add more layers if more pigment is desired, and the palettes come in a choice of shades to suit your skin tone. For the best results, it’s recommended to use an angled brush to apply the product, alongside a blending brush to seamlessly blend it all in.

Key details – Size: 12g; Format: Multi-palette; Shades available: Three (sets with six different shades)

4. Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer: The best 2-in-1 contour cream

Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at BootsAnother great product from Fenty Beauty, this contour cream is designed to give you that warm sunkissed look without you having to jet off to somewhere hot. Although it’s slightly on the pricey side, Fenty Beauty knows its stuff when it comes to contour creams: since this product is designed to give your more of a natural look, the sheer shades are not as harsh as other contour creams, and can be built up with multiple layers without feeling too heavy on the face.

Blending is made even easier with this cream, and its light, smooth texture leaves the skin feeling soft and silky instead of sticky or greasy. The Fenty Beauty cream bronzer is really two products in one: as well as contouring the face in a natural and subtle way, it also acts as a bronzer by adding warmth and colour. Available in seven different tones, there’s a shade available for everyone. And what’s more, you can use either a beauty brush or your fingers to apply it.

Key details – Size: 6.23g; Format: Single palette; Shades available: Seven

Check price at Boots

5. Trinny London Contour Cheekbones: The best contour cream for mature skin

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at Trinny LondonMakeover expert Trinny Woodall has launched some brilliant products aimed at over 50s, and the Trinny London Cheekbones contour cream provides a natural-looking contour that’s ideal for mature skin. Available in three shades, the different options all have undertones that cleverly mimic the natural shadows of the face for a super subtle look. The cream-based formula is easy to apply and blend, which can be done with both fingertips as well as a brush, in just a matter of minutes.

To bring back youthfulness and definition to the face and to get the best use out of the cream, it should be warmed up first between the fingertips and then applied to the cheekbones, jawline, bridge of the nose and temples. Trinny London has also provided a clever online tool on its site, which asks you a few questions about your skin type and tone to help you determine which shade to buy. It’s definitely worth checking out before you make your purchase.

Key details – Size: 4g; Format: Pot; Shades available: Three

Check price at Trinny London

6. e.l.f. Cream Contour Palette: The best vegan contour cream

Price when reviewed: £9 | Check price at Feel UniqueFor an economical and completely vegan contour cream designed to give you that professional finish, the e.l.f contour palette is a total steal at under a tenner. It comes with four different shades, which all work together to give you that sculpted, snatched look. There’s one light tone which serves as a concealer plus three contouring shades—two of which are more on the warm bronze side and one that has more of a greyish undertone.

You can either stick to your favourite shades, or experiment by mixing them together until the tone is just right. The cream has a smooth and luscious consistency that’s easy to apply and blend, and just a little bit goes a long way. In addition, its sturdy outer packaging is a major plus as it keeps the palette from drying out, which can happen to all makeup if not properly protected.

Key details– Size: 12.4g; Format: Multi-palette; Shades available: One (set of four different shades)

Check price at Feel Unique

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