Celebrities have been contouring their faces for a long time, and it’s only in recent years that the trend has gone mainstream, and it’s easy to see why. Used correctly, contouring products can create the illusion of depth and shadow for an angular look.
While the best contouring products come in a variety of formulas, including powders, sticks, creams, and liquids, Florida-based makeup artist Allison Kaye says liquid contouring products are the best to use because they “have a finer consistency and are easier to blend.” She also told Allure magazine, “You can use as many products as you want to create the look you want.”
When shopping for a liquid contour powder, the key is to choose a cool-toned product that mimics the shade, explains New York makeup artist Suzy Gerstein. Warmer tones, on the other hand, look more like bronzer and don’t have the same effect. In short, Kaye says, “contouring creates a shadow, while bronzer adds warmth.”
If you’re having trouble finding a contour color that suits your skin tone, Kirin Bhatty, a makeup artist in New York and Los Angeles, suggests opting for a concealer that’s one to two shades darker than your normal skin tone. In addition, she says, “contouring with concealer is a great way to find the perfect skin tone because there are so many options and shades.”
Again, you have to consider the finish of the product. Gerstein prefers to use a matte or blurring effect contour fluid rather than a shimmering effect contour fluid to mimic the natural texture of the skin.
Another factor to consider when picking the best contour fluid is its blendability.” New York-based makeup artist Judi Gabbay exclaims, “It’s crucial to have enough time to blend the contour fluid to get the most natural results. Additionally, she says the best way to determine this is to test the product on the back of your hand.” She told Allure, “If the product dries too quickly, it may not be right for you. Amrita Mehta, a makeup artist who works in both New York and California, echoed Gabay’s sentiments about bendability.
Additionally, Mehta recommends applying and blending products “gradually” “rather than all at once,” starting with short strokes and pushing the contour into the skin to “lighten any hard lines.” Additionally, she says, “Always smudge upwards, not downwards. That way, your face won’t get dragged down and your cheeks won’t get muddy.”
All of this information may seem overwhelming, but the art of contouring is actually quite simple.” Kaye says, “When applying contouring fluid, apply the liquid to the areas where you want to create a shadow – underneath your cheekbones, on the sides of your nose, on the top of your head, and along your jawline. Also, keep in mind that there are three ways you can blend contour liquid: with your fingers, a beauty sponge or a makeup brush.
For a more refined look, your fingers are the best tool; however, for a more defined effect, a brush or sponge is ideal. According to Mehta, the best way to contour is to start with short lines, always blending upwards rather than downwards. “That way your face doesn’t get dragged down and your cheeks don’t end up muddy,” she explains.
Now that you know what liquid contour creams are all about, check out Allure magazine’s picks for the best liquid contour creams on the market that are both contouring and beginner-friendly – from drugstore picks to luxury favorites, they’ll all work to create a flawless complexion.
Mehta loves the ease of use of the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand (2022 Best of Beauty Award winner).” She told Allure, “The built-in applicator makes application a breeze, and the creamy formula means it smudges like a dream. Depending on your skin tone, you can choose from fair/medium or medium/dark. Whichever option you choose, this creamy contouring product will leave you looking radiant.
Giorgio Armani A-Contour Liquid is a Gerstein staple.” It has a nice smooth feel, goes on easily, and is slightly more conservative in pigmentation, making it perfect for those who are afraid of overdoing it.” Despite Gerstein’s praise for the product, it’s worth noting that the contour liquid is only available in shades 20 and 21, but we’re hoping the brand expands its offerings with more different shades.
Gabbay especially likes Milani’s Conceal + Perfect Liquid Contour Cream because of its affordable price. She also mentioned the product’s easy-to-use sponge applicator, saying, “This applicator can be used directly on the cheekbones, jawline and bridge of the nose to create the perfect contour every time. There are four shades to choose from, so you can look as glamorous as you want.
Bhatty recommends Rare Beauty’s Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer because of its “light and airy” formula, which is available in a whopping 48 shades. It even has added glycerin and Vitamin E-rich sunflower oil, which is an added bonus in our book because these ingredients have moisturizing properties that are ideal for dry skin. Additionally, this concealer is paraben-free, making it the perfect choice for sensitive skin.
Also an Allure editorial favorite and a three-time Reader’s Choice Award winner, Tarte Shape Tape Concealer is an excellent liquid contour cream that can put the finishing touches on any makeup look, according to Kaye. In terms of application, this makeup artist suggests “using a sponge to apply this product evenly to the skin to create a contoured look.” Additionally, this product comes in a wide range of 44 shades, so you’re almost guaranteed to find a shade that matches your contour perfectly.
Lancôme’s Teint Idole Ultra Wear Full Coverage Concealer tames cheekbones in seconds. Winner of the 2022 Best of Beauty Award, this matte finish, nourishing formula is infused with moisturizing glycerin and fatty acid-rich moringa seeds that glide on the skin. Customers can pick from 20 shades for fair, medium and deep skin tones.
Gerstein likes that the KVD Beauty ModCon Long-Wear Moisturizing Liquid Gel Contour Cream “comes in a variety of shades and undertones.” She also praises the product’s easy-to-blend, weightless formula, which is “great for layering under bronzer when you want a more layered look.” The liquid contour cream is also enriched with glycerin, which helps skin retain moisture.
Available in 24 shades, Nyx Professional Makeup’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealer is a 24-hour long-lasting concealer that ensures your contour stays put all day (and all night). With a creamy, waterproof formula, this concealer is cruelty-free and extremely pigmented, so a little goes a long way. Oh, and did we mention it retails for under $10?
Contour with ease with Too Faced’s Born This Way Super Concealer Multi-Purpose Contouring Concealer. Its full-coverage, long-wearing formula (which lasts up to 12 hours and is available in nearly 40 shades) is oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it ideal for acne-prone skin. Its diamond-shaped toe applicator is also ideal for contouring cheekbones and jawlines.