Kim Kardashian-West may have driven a huge surge in people looking for the best contour kit but she didn’t invent the makeup technique, far from it.
Drag queens for decades have been using makeup to alter their face shape, making their jaws slimmer, their cheekbones more prominent and applying highlighter to areas where the light naturally hits to create a healthy glow.
Contouring – or at least the full-face contouring made famous by KKW – has fallen out of fashion recently in favour of more natural enhancements, or a larger focus on strobing. Strobing makes more of your features using light, compared to contouring which focuses more on enhancing the darker areas of your face.
READ NEXT: How to contour
That’s not to say that contour kits are no longer relevant – they still should be a staple of any makeup bag because they’re highly versatile providing a gentle bronzing glow to your face or helping to sharpen the edge of your eyebrows with the lighter shades.
They can even double-up as a nude eyeshadow palette.
Below we’ve handpicked what we consider to be the best contour kits, sticks and powders for whichever look you’re after.
£42 | Buy now from Beauty Bay
Why we love it: There aren’t many brands that offer as many options when it comes to contouring than Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Its Pro Series contour kit offers multiple six-pan palettes of cream and powder contour, available in varying shades to complement all complexions, whether you’re fair or dark. It’s no wonder that the palettes are highly acclaimed.
Use the super creamy and pigmented shades to sculpt out your cheekbones and jawline and enhance with the highlight shades. Rest assured, this contour will last all day long.
Why we love it: Used by celebs, professionals and make-up lovers alike, the Revolution Iconic Lights is the holy grail of contour kits. Choose from eight different powders in a range of shades to blend, sculpt and highlight.
It’s popular because these powders build and are easy to blend, meaning its the best contour kit both beginners and pros. It’s also versatile enough that some shades make for the perfect transition shades on your eyes. All for £8!
FURTHER READING: Why we love Revolution Makeup so much
£62 | Buy now from John Lewis
Why we love it: The Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate contour kit isn’t just our Luxury Buy because of its price, it’s a luxurious addition to your makeup bag because of its incredible quality. The cream products in this kit are so buttery and silky, and they blend effortlessly.
READ NEXT: Find your perfect foundation match
Use the subtle, sheer highlight shade to lift and light your face, while the darker shade adds subtle and natural-looking definition to the contours of your face. This is a perfect addition if you’re a fan of the natural makeup look
£26 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: Just one product, but it’s all you need.
The queen of complexion, Huda Kattan – the brains behind the now-iconic Huda Beauty brand and the recently launched Wishful skincare range – created Tantour, a cream-to-powder bronzer and contour that gives a glorious, tanned glow to the skin.
Apply directly along your cheekbones to chisel and carve your face, or start small, layer it up and blend across your cheeks and temples for an all-round bronzer.
Why we love it: Expertly curated, the three products in Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Match Stix Trio are guaranteed to complement one another and are catered towards four complexion groups, to help match your skin tone.
One of the things we love so much about the Fenty brand.
Easy to apply directly onto the skin and blendable with even your fingers, there’s no need to shell out for expensive brushes or sponges with this contour kit – which is lucky because it’s not cheap.
The sticks are also magnetic, meaning they can be stored together, and they’re small enough to fit in your handbag, meaning they’re perfect for contouring on the go.
£19 | Buy now from NYX
Why we love it: Another eight-pan palette joining this list of the best contour kits is the NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette.
It has four highlight and four contour shades to help you find your perfect combination and if you run out of one, no need to buy the whole palette again – the individual shades are available as refillable pans at a cost of £3.50 each.
£20 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: When it comes to this contour kit from Kevin Aucoin, two powders are all you need.
The sheer bronzing shade slides effortlessly onto the skin, sculpting your skin and ensuring that it stays flawless all day.
This is fantastic as a standalone bronzer, to give yourself that holiday glow.
Then combine it with the celestial powder for a subtle but gorgeous highlight that makes your complexion look flawless.
For the quality of Kevin Aucoin, a highly acclaimed brand, the price is great. It’s also only two products, so there’s no overcomplicated routine that takes up your time – simply swipe, blend and go.
£24 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: This contour stick from Benefit’s fantastic Hoola range makes contouring easy and accurate. The cream formula turns to a powder consistency once blended in and the benefit of a powder finish is that harsh lines are not prominent, meaning it leaves you with a soft matte look.
Benefit’s Hoola range is great for adding that warm bronze look to your skin and the pigment on this contour stick is great, because it doesn’t have the orange tone to it. It offers more of a natural tan.
We love the packaging; Benefit always has a quirky fun theme to its packaging and the gold stick gives it a little luxurious look to it. The tube has an engraved bamboo sketch around it, which is the icon for this Hoola range.While the stick itself has a nice curve in the middle so that you have a good grip when you’re holding this.
What’s more, the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick is long-wearing, easy to apply because of the dome shape stick, and the smooth formula is easy to define those killer cheekbones.
If you want a natural-looking contour that isn’t too obvious then this is the best contour stick for you; it will give you a great day time look without the heaviness. It’s a great addition to your makeup bag for when you’re on the go, quick and easy to contour and you then just blend with your fingers.
£8.99 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: This palette from Sleek MakeUP (one of the best cheap makeup brands around) is a great multi-tasking contour kit. From a contour powder, highlighter and/or blusher or bronzer, Face Form has all this in one neat compact designed to suit all skin tones.
All three colours in this palette – which is available in four different shades: light, fair, medium and dark – have a powder finish. The contouring powder is matt and has no sign of shimmer or glitter to it, which makes it a great bronzer too.
The powder highlighter has a soft shimmer champagne colour, no matter what shade you opt for it will still give you a soft-focused look. The blusher that comes with the set gives you a subtle pop of colour to your cheeks giving you that fresh look.
All of the Sleek MakeUP ranges are highly pigmented which means creating your contoured look will be a breeze with this palette.
What’s more, this is another great piece to add to your makeup bag for when you’re on the go because it has a little compact mirror on the lid – all for less than a £10. What a bargain!
Elly is a production journalist and sub-editor for a number of national newspapers and magazines including The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, and Woman and Woman’s Own magazine. A beauty-enthusiast, she loves travelling – especially to the States – reading and calligraphy