We have some of our favorite celebrities and Instagrammers to thank for the rise in contouring. The distinctive technique involves blending makeup in meticulous ways to create serious definition, the likes of which many of us never imagined we could ever actually fake. Those killer cheekbones and that sleek, slimmed down nose are all yours—and you don’t have to go under the knife to make it happen.
If you aren’t quite the Claude Monet of contouring, don’t fret. Here are six of the absolute best beginner contour kits out there that will have you wielding your brush like a professional in no time.
e.l.f. Cream Contour Palette ($6)
The beauty of this palette from the beloved budget brand is in the creamy texture of the colors. Each hue is richly pigmented, and the darker tones are just right for creating those sleek lines that define the jawline, slim the nose, and bring out cheekbones. The lightest shade is versatile enough to use as a highlighter, and is perfect for brightening eyelids on those days when sleep is severely lacking.
Honest Beauty Contour + Highlight Kit ($34)
Sometimes less is more, and that’s definitely true in the contouring department. This classy palette contains three colors that work together in perfect harmony to call attention to your best features and brighten your complexion. The two deeper hues blend beautifully, while the lighter shade is infused with shimmery flecks that give the face a little extra glow.
Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette ($15)
It’s usually the prospect of creating those perfect lines that makes contouring such a scary proposition for the uninitiated. Yet with a palette like this one, the idea doesn’t seem quite so outlandish—in fact, this makes it look easy. It includes eight soft, heavily pigmented powders, including two that are dual highlighters. Use those to add a spark to cheekbones, eyelids, or anywhere you need a little boost.
NYX Cosmetics Wonder Stick ($12)
You don’t need an entire palette of colors to successfully contour your face. This sleek stick includes a color on each side: the darker shade is designed to create definition, while the lighter acts as both a concealer and a highlighter. The advantage of this product is its convenient silhouette. It can easily be tucked into a purse, pocket, or desk drawer for on-the-go touchups.
Cover FX Contour Essentials Set ($48)
“Essential,” indeed. This set includes four deeply pigmented powders that are formulated to complement one another and create a natural look. The shades are numbered, and it includes a handy guide that takes you through the contouring process step by step. You’ll highlight everything from your forehead to your lips, contour your nose and jaw, and add a subtle glow to brows for an illuminated finish.
CoverGirl truBLEND Contour Palette ($11.49)
The key to successful contouring is to blend—and blend some more. Obvious lines look harsh and unnatural, which is why this particular palette is such a smart choice for a beginner. It contains three malleable creams: one deep contouring shade, one rich bronzing color, and one vibrant highlighter. Use the handy guide to master your technique, accentuate your best features, and give your complexion a natural glow.