The 10 best cream contouring palettes & kits, from beginner to advanced

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The 10 best cream contouring palettes & contouring kits

When it comes to the art of face contouring , what do cream-based products offer that their powder counterparts cannot? Think better blendability, a more natural finish and greater versatility when it comes to application. The only downside is perhaps their shorter lifespan - but nothing a good finishing powder  or makeup setting spray  can’t fix in our experience.

With a contouring kit out there to suit both beginners and experts alike, finding your perfect match has never been easier. Making the skill of sculpting, chiselling and enhancing your features more accessible than ever, here’s our definitive edit of the best cream contouring palettes and kits around for showing your features in the best possible light.

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Stila Shape & Shade Custom Contour Duo

Difficulty level: Beginner

Shade range: 3 from ‘Light’ to ‘Deep’.

With a blendable pigmented formula and silky texture that glides onto skin, this portable contouring palette allows you to build up to your preferred level of intensity with ease. On-the-go? Simply blend in with fingers, but if you have a little more time on your hands, we’d highly recommend the accompanying Shape & Shade Custom Dual-End Contour Brush , £31 - a versatile bristled bombshell with a wider narrower end to chisel cheekbones with and a smaller rounder end to highlight high-points of the face and for more targeted application. It also comes with a very handy guide for tailoring your contouring to your particular face shape - a great way to sharpen up on your sculpting skills if you ask us.

£31.  Buy online .

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L’Oréal Paris Infallible Sculpt Contouring Palette

Difficulty level: Beginner.

Shade range: 2 from ‘Light/Medium’ to ‘Medium/Dark’.

A budget beauty buy which provides bank balance pleasing amounts of high definition without the high price tag, this slimline palette proves contouring can be matte without looking flat. With a range suiting fair to medium deep complexions, its crème to powder finish makes for the perfect match for combination and oily skin types and its fast-setting formulation makes it ideal for quick contouring touch-ups when on-the-move too.

£9.99.  Buy online .

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Estée Lauder New Dimension Shape + Sculpt Face Kit

Difficulty level: Beginner.

Shade range: 1 shade that suits fair to medium deep complexions.

In terms of names, ‘New Dimension’ couldn’t be a more apt description for this particular contouring palette. Adding a subtle but noticeable dose of multi-faceted volume to foundation, its sleek compact and blendable creamy duo of contouring and highlighting shades are refreshingly wearable and provide a quick and easy way to boost tired complexions if transitioning from desk to dancefloor.

£34.  Buy online .

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Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate

Difficulty level: Beginner.

Shade range: 2 ranging from ‘Intensity One’ to ‘Intensity Two’.

A favourite among makeup pros and novices alike, this contouring and highlighting dynamic duo is lauded for its supreme sculpting ability. Subtly adding shadow and light to enhance bone structure and emphasise the distinct characteristics of your own individual features, not only does it melt into skin seamlessly, but its buildable formula allows you to be as creative or understated as you like to suit either day or night effortlessly.

£58.  Buy online .

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Hourglass Illume Sheer Colour Trio, £54

Difficulty level: Beginner.

Shade range: 1.

Ideal for fair to tanned skin types in particular, this power trio holds the key to perfectly glowing, sunkissed skin. Containing a bronzer, blush and highlighter in one chic compact (complete with handy mirror too), we’ve found more hands on application to be the best port of call, which considering its moisturising formula, is a treat for both face and fingers alike.

£54.  Buy online .

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Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Stick Trio

Difficulty Level: Beginner to intermediate.

Shade range: 1 universal shade.

Providing both depth and dimension at a swipe, this trio of pencil case alternatives provides a more precision-friendly alternative to the roster of palettes and compacts out there. Comprising of ‘Contour’, ‘Bronze’ and ‘Highlight’ Sticks to experiment with (plus a sharpener too), they can be used dry for more sculpted coverage or wet for a sheerer finish and also come with a useful #Shapematters pull-out to help unleash their full potential.

£29.50.  Buy online .

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Sleek Cream Contour Kit

Difficulty level: Intermediate.

Shade range: 3 from ‘Light’ to ‘Dark’.

Comprising of two highlighting and four contouring shades, each palette’s comprehensive range of colours suits a wide range of skin tones. Deliciously creamy and providing a shade spectrum certain to set your creative juices flowing, each boasts subtle light manipulation abilities when applied down the sides of the nose, along the jawline or in the hollows of the cheeks.

£10.99.  Buy online .

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Cover FX Contour Kit

Difficulty level: Intermediate.

Shade range: 6, from ‘N Light’ to ‘N Deep’.

How does beautifully dewy skin and naturally contoured skin sound? An appealing prospect to say the least, the secret lies in this contouring compact’s clever combination of the brand’s Total Cover Cream Foundations and Cream Highlighter to make skin look its best at every angle. Enhancing rather than masking, it adds vibrancy to fatigued skin in need of a pick-me-up when (and where) needed most - a little something extra for boosting the cover up prowess of your foundation of choice when concealer alone isn’t enough.

£40.  Buy online .

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Laura Mercier Flawless Contouring Palette

Difficulty level: Intermediate to advanced.

Shade range: 1 universal shade.

With its emphasis placed more on the discreet rather than the dramatic, this palette’s array of three neutral brown matte crèmes and two crème highlighters mix the worlds of smooth layering with clever contouring seamlessly. With great colour payoff, impressive choice and a step-by-step tutorial included also, the variety at hand to help formulate your particular contouring formula and its travel-friendly size offer both portability and perfection in equal measure.

£35.  Buy online .

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Cream Kit

Difficulty level: Advanced.

Shade range: 4, from ‘Fair’ to ‘Dark’.

Six contouring creams, endless possibilities: this contouring palette is the crème de la crème of the cream contouring world if you ask us. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s the shape-shifting makeup cheat whose results really need to be seen to be believed. Reportedly counting Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner as fans, the secret to unlocking its full power lies in smart shade selection, tactical technique and lots and lots of practice. This tutorial from brand founder Anastasia Soare  also comes in especially handy...

£39.  Buy online .