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The 10 Best Contour Sticks to Sculpt Your Cheekbones, According to Makeup Artists

Work those angles!

three contour sticks
Christine Giordano

Contouring may sound complicated, but when you want to play up your facial features and work your angles, there’s no better makeup bag MVP than a contour stick. They’re compact and a breeze to apply—you can even swipe on and then blend the formula with your fingers.

But what exactly is this underrated item? “Contour sticks are simply cream foundations in tube form, so you can draw in depth to areas of your face to create the cheekbones of your dreams, a snatched nose, a slim forehead, and a sleek jawline even Cindy Crawford would be jealous over,” says Meredith Boyd, Atlanta-based hair and makeup artist.

Meet Our Experts: Meredith Boyd, an Atlanta-based hair and makeup artist, Marylisa Diaz, a New York-based makeup artist at The Julien Farel Salon & Spa

Ready to swipe, shade, and sculpt your way to sky high cheekbones and more? These 10 contour sticks, selected by makeup artists, will pair well with cream blushes and highlighters, helping you make the most of all of your angles.

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1
Best With Highlighter
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP
NYX Wonder Stick
2
Best With Brush
MAKEUP BY MARIO
Makeup by Mario Soft Sculpt Shaping Stick
3
Best Matte Finish
KIKO Milano Sculpting Touch Creamy Stick Contour
4
Best for Layering
NUDESTIX
Nudestix Nudies Tinted Blur Stick
5
Best Liquid
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand
6
Best for Dark Skin
FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna
Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick
7
Best Drugstore
Maybelline New York
Maybelline Master Contour by FaceStudio
8
Best Vegan and Cruelty-Free
Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick
9
Best for Fair Skin
Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour & Highlight Sticks
10
Best for Oily Skin
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour
11

How do I choose the right contour stick for my skin tone?

To find your perfect stick, look for a product with your preference of coverage and a finish that’s suitable to your skin type. Some formulas can be quite sheer and shimmery, while others look matte.

Whatever you’re after, our experts recommend a contour stick that’s two to three shades darker than your complexion, and you can always swatch on the back of your wrist to get a sense of colors. “Choose the shade that compliments your undertone,” says Marylisa Diaz, a New York-based makeup artist from The Julien Farel Salon & Spa. “Depth might also be determined by how deep you prefer your contour.”

Just remember: “A little goes a long way, so less is best,” says Diaz.

12

How do you use a contour stick?

Diaz says cheek contouring actually starts with a smile: After applying foundation, flash yourself a soft grin in the mirror to find the high point of your cheekbone near your temple. “Apply the shaping stick along the cheekbone inwards,” says Diaz. “Blend the area with a brush or Beautyblender, then set with a powder.”

For extra definition, Diaz also suggests contouring other strategic spots where the sun would hit and create shadows—around the forehead, right beneath the jaw line, at the bridge of the nose, and the Cupid’s bow of the lips—all areas where you can follow the curvature of these features and then blend and buff for a natural finish. You can also contour your collarbones, cleavage, and the high points of your shoulders.

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