The best contouring makeup: from high street to high-end

16 February 2015
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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The best contouring makeup: from high street to high-end

Unfortunately, we aren’t all blessed with model-esque cheekbones à la Jourdan Dunn and so, we have to rely on other means to shape and sculpt our face. Luckily, the contouring craze has trickled into the shops, from high street to high-end, and there are numerous palettes, sticks and compacts which promise to suck in your cheekbones, lift your face and enhance your features.

We scoured the market to see which 10 could live up to their hype without leaving us with shocking stripes. Whether you’re looking to keep it cheap or feel rather spendy, there’s something in here for you…

Follow us on Twitter @getthegloss and Hanna @hanna_ibraheem

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Beauty UK Contouring Palette, £4

A must-have for the contouring newbie, this product is perfect if you’re trying your hand at sculpting for the first time. This Beauty UK palette contains three shades; a contour, highlighter and bronzer and even has a clear and easy-to-follow instruction guide on the bottom of the palette. The contour, an ashy brown, teams up with the orange-based bronzer to create a subtle shadow, while the matte highlight emphasises high points on the face. Each creamy shade is easy to blend and melts onto your base without feeling heavy. It lasts for a solid 5 hours before needing touch ups, and thanks to its very reasonable price tag, you really can’t go wrong.

Buy online  here

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Makeup Revolution Ultra Blush and Contour Palette, £6

Ever since launching, Makeup Revolution has firmly earned a place in our hearts as one of our favourite drugstore brands, and this Ultra Blush and Contour Palette is just one of the many reasons why. Available in 3 options (pink, golden and neutral), each inexpensive palette contains 8 shades packed with shimmer and matte blushers, a merged baked blush and a merged baked highlighter. Each shade is heavily pigmented and transfers on to your brush easily. Simply swipe along the hollows of your cheeks and jaw line for instant cheekbones then follow up with the highlight for a touch of radiance and some blush for a pop of colour - you’re good to go.

Buy online  here

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Sleek Face Form Kit, £9.99

Complete with a contour powder, highlighter and either a blusher (fair and light) or bronzer (medium and dark); this handy kit is the perfect multi-tasking accessory for your handbag. Available in fair, light, medium and dark, this range of useful compacts cater to all skintones. The contour powder is heavily pigmented to deliver an intense hit of sculpting, but can be easily blended to reach your desired level of shading. Partnered with a pearly highlighter to bring your cheekbones, brow bone and nose forward, and a sparkly bronzer/blusher to add some dimension; this kit brings some serious pro-worthy skills without the need to splash out.

Buy online  here

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Autograph Face Contour Palette in Medium, £12.50

Perfect for those wanting delicate definition, this Autograph palette provides two shades and a straightforward instruction guide to aid you towards subtle cheekbones. The darker shade (similar to a bronzer) faintly sculpts the hollows of your cheeks, while the peachy highlighter illuminates high points on the face. If you’re looking to practice but don’t want to overdo it, we recommend opting for this. Its reasonable price tag also means you won’t feel guilty if you get it wrong and have to wipe it all off.

Buy online  here

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Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour, £19

Why didn’t anybody think of this sooner?! Easy to use, easy to blend and easy on the pocket; Clinique answered the prayers of all makeup aficionados when they released this ingenious Chubby Sticks for contouring on the market. Similar to their other cult-worthy Chubby Sticks, this fool-proof crayon requires just a few simple swipes for chiselled cheekbones - merely draw, dab and dot to your heart’s content and blend out with the warmth of your fingers. Its smooth and creamy texture glides on with ease and thanks to its pigmented formula, this Chubby Stick firmly stays put.

Buy online  here

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Urban Decay Flushed, £22.50

A favourite of makeup artist Liz Pugh , these heavily pigmented Naked Flushed compacts match the performance of their eyeshadow counterparts and have quickly gathered a large following. Packed with a silky and full-sized bronzer (shimmer or matte, depending on shade), shimmery highlighter and blush, you have all you need to easily achieve enhanced, sculpted and dewy skin. Each powder has a jet-milled formula, meaning it’s incredibly lightweight upon application; so whether you’re aiming for subtle definition or dramatic shading, the powder sits comfortably on the skin without feeling packed on. Additionally, unlike many other palettes, each shade (Naked, Streak, Native and Strip) has been designed to suit any skin tone – giving us the perfect excuse to stock up on the whole lot.

Buy online  here

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NARS Matte Multiple, £30

Another reason to get drawing, NARS Matte Multiple comes as a handy multi-tasking crayon to add a hint of colour to your cheeks and lips. While it’s available in seven shades, we recommend giving Cappadoce (golden bronze), Altai (rose bronze) and Vientiane (copper bronze) a whirl, if you’re looking to contour. Similar to a lipstick tube, you simply twist the bottom to reveal more product, making it the perfect tool for contouring on the go – just grip on to the matte packaging and get creative. The creamy and buildable texture smoothly glides on and melts into the skin to deliver a long-lasting and warm contour. If you’re going for a muted makeup look, dab some on your lips and you’re done – effortless yet effective.

Buy online  here

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Laura Mercier Flawless Contouring Palette, £35

A hint in the name, this beautiful palette delivers all you need to master the tricks of artificial shadow and light, regardless of your skill set or skin tone. It comes complete with 3 contouring creams and 2 highlighting shades, so you can have fun trialling different combinations to discover what suits you best. Once you start mixing you’ll notice that each shade has a smooth and creamy texture – though be warned, they’re all heavily pigmented, so we suggest going in as light as possible and building up. At first glance this palette might seem slightly daunting, but thanks to a handy pull out instruction guide (which is concealed behind the mirror!), you can get to grips with the basics and learn the steps to achieving the best feature-enhancing tips.

Buy online  here

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Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49

A woman after our own heart, Charlotte Tilbury released this gorgeous face sculpt and highlight compact to help us emphasise our best features. The beautiful and light-textured bronzer has been blended into a universal shade to suit any skin tone, while the highlighter includes Light Flex Technology to add radiance to your complexion. Charlotte understands that the trick is all in the light, and so these long-lasting powders leave you with the perfect balance between sculpted dimension and soft-focus luminosity. What’s even more, once you lay your eyes on the beautiful rose gold 1920’s cigarette case, you’ll be itching to pull this out of your makeup bag any chance you get.

Buy online  here

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Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate, £56

Creamy yet costly, this Tom Ford palette is suited for the skilled contourers among us. A power duo of one rich dark shade to define and a sheer light shade to brighten, this magical palette lifts and transforms the face to subtly enhance the features. The creamy textures set on the skin to last throughout the day, but can also be blended with warm fingers and built upon for higher intensity. While the dark shade is matte to avoid reflecting light, the highlight imparts a gorgeous glow, bringing healthy colour to the entire face. Another winner from Mr Ford.

Buy online  here

Follow us on Twitter @getthegloss and Hanna @hanna_ibraheem