Why does contour look muddy or orange on pale skin? It’s frustrating when you’re trying to give your face definition, and it just ends up looking dirty.
Before you spend cash on expensive brands, let’s talk about contouring with drugstore makeup. Can you find the cool tones for natural-looking shadows?
We researched the question and were thrilled with the answer. We found the best drugstore contour for fair skin. Check out the reviews below.
What shade of contour should I use for fair skin?
If you wish to add warmth to fair skin, use a bronzer. However, if you want definition and depth, you need contour with cool and neutral tones.
By all means, if you want to experiment with bronzer instead of contour, do so. We selected the best bronzers for fair skin and added them to the end of the article.
How do you contour with fair skin?
Once you’ve moisturized, primed, and apply foundation, it’s time to contour. If you’ve never done it before, we recommend watching a couple of videos.
Choose a color that’s one or two shades darker than your foundation. Grab a brush or makeup sponge to blend.
Use the thin lines to apply the contour, then blend it.
Start lightly brushing on contour along the hairline and the edge of the forehead. Imagine your forehead divided into three equal parts, and go light on the middle section.
Next, apply contour along the hollow of the cheekbones. Begin at the sides of the face by the top of the ear and move inward, angling downward. Stay below the cheekbones.
After that, put contour underneath the jawline from the bottom of the ear. Stop just before the chin.
If you’d like to contour your nose, it’s easier to highlight along the bridge first. Then put two thin lines of contour along the sides and blend.
After applying contour, it’s time to use highlighter and bronzer if you so desire.
Which is the best kind of drugstore contour?
There are three types of contour: cream, liquid, and powder.
The most common kind is powder, and it’s often sold in palettes. That’s convenient as you have access to multiple shades that you can blend for the perfect color.
Also, a powdered contour is helpful for oily skin. You’ll need a brush to apply and blend the powder. Chances are you’ll have to supply your own.
The next most common type of contour is cream, often in a stick applicator, sometimes in a palette. It’s thick, so it’s helpful to have a makeup sponge for blending.
But cream contour is the easiest to apply. It results in a dewy, natural finish.
Finally, there’s liquid contour, or rather, there’s a way to cheat with foundation or concealer. Choose one that’s two shades darker than your base.
If all else fails, we recommend contouring with bronzer if you can find one that’s neutral or cool-toned. (Check the bottom of the reviews today to see examples).
Best Drugstore Contour for Fair Skin in 2023
Now, here are reviews of the best drugstore contour makeup for pale skin.
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP 3 Steps to Sculpt Face Sculpting Palette
What is the best contour palette for pale skin? NYX is at the top of our list. They offer three shades in this compact. It’s suitable for contouring, highlighting, and illuminating.
Moreover, you can get fair, light, medium, and deep palettes. The one for fair skin has neutral tones, whereas the others have warm tones.
It’s easiest to apply this makeup with a pro contour brush. First, use the deepest shade along the hollows at the temples, under the cheekbones, and under the jawline. The medium color highlights along the top of the cheekbone and the bridge of the nose. Then, the lightest shade illuminates under the eyes, and so on.
Reviewers say although the illuminator has a subtle shimmer, the other shades are matte. They blend best on skin that has moisturizer, primer, and foundation. Otherwise, the powder may settle into pores.
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Highlight & Contour Pro Palette
This cream palette has eight refillable shades ranging from illuminator to a deep shade of contour.
The average person may only use two or three of the colors. But the option is there to experiment to your heart’s content.
Users say the cream is richly pigmented. A small amount goes a long way.
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Wonder Stick
Here’s the best cream contour we found. It’s in a two-ended applicator with highlight on one side and contour on the other. It’s available in a variety of shades, from universal, light, and medium to deep dark.
The contour glides onto the skin and blends with minimal effort with a sponge. The applicator is just the right size for drawing the lines, and the contour is highly-pigmented.
COVERGIRL Trublend Contour Palette Light
Covergirl’s light Trublend Palette may be too pale for some with pale skin. Many reviewers recommended going for the medium palette.
On the bright side, these are custom shades designed by a celebrity makeup artist named Pat McGrath. There’s contour, highlight, and bronze in one compact. Each blends perfectly. Although the texture is sheer, a little setting powder will keep it in place.
Furthermore, this is oil-free and fragrance-free makeup.
Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Highlight & Contour Palette, Matte
This palette is made for sensitive skin. It’s formulated without harsh ingredients and safe for sensitive eyes, too.
Reviewers love it because the powders blend like butter. Those with fair skin are pleased that neither the contour nor the bronzer looks orange. The shades have cool undertones.
Also, the package includes an angled contour brush.
L. A. COLORS I Heart Makeup Contour Palette – Light To Medium
This palette of eight powder shades includes one shimmery highlight. The rest are matte.
It’s a nice selection for a budget price.
Fair warning: the colors have warm undertones.
MegaGlo Contouring Palette by Wet ‘n’ Wild
This compact has two complementary powders for contouring. One shade creates the shadows, and the other highlights. It’s a straightforward way to sculpt your face on a budget.
Users say the powder is fragile, but the powder is nicely pigmented and easy to use.
Rimmel Insta Flawless Insta Conceal and Contour Palette
Conceal, contour, and highlight with this three-pack of creamy shades. It works best on top of foundation.
As much as we wanted to love this palette, we found that the deepest shade goes orange. Alternatively, the concealer helps hide redness.
Rimmel Insta Contour Duo Stick, Light
We’d say this is the best contour stick for oily skin. One end is highlight with iridescent shimmer and the other is contour.
Each end is pointed for making fine or broad lines. Both shades blend satisfactorily with a damp sponge.
Depending on your skin’s undertone, you may find the contour is a bit too orange.
Milani Contour & Highlight Cream & Liquid Duo
This is a two-ended applicator with cream contour and liquid highlight. The liquid applicator is a sponge that brings to mind concealer. Reviewers say it has a bit of shimmer that blends nicely but still looks glittery.
The cream contour, however, has a natural finish and a cool undertone.
The applicator is conveniently sized, and the lids stay put.
Maybelline New York Facestudio Master Contour V-Shape Duo Stick, Light
You’ll either love it or hate it. The colors are great for pale skin, but the unique applicator format can be challenging to manage. That’s because one half of the creamy stick is contour and the other half is highlight.
Imagine lipstick that’s split between chocolate and vanilla. That’s what it looks like.
We saw many reviewers confessing that they used one side more than the other and ended up with a lopsided applicator.
At least it’s easy to blend.
Maybelline Master Contour Face Contouring Kit
How about a three-pack with blush, contour, and highlight? This one makes it easy to add definition to the face. It even comes with an angled brush.
Revlon PhotoReady Sunlit Dream Highlighting Palette
How can something this fun be so cheap? It’s the ultimate drugstore sculpting palette.
Each silky powder blends well on its own and with the other shades. Plus, the minerals in the formula create a soft-focus filtered look.
Revlon recommends the following steps. First, the lighter shade goes on the high points. Then put the third deepest shade in the hollows of the cheek as if it were blush. Finally, mix the other two and brush along the contours of the forehead, jawline, etc.
Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Sculpt Contouring Palette
Although this is called the “contouring palette”, the shades may be too orange for fair skin. Still, it’s worth a look as the colors are deeper than those in the highlighting palette above.
Can you use bronzer for contour?
Do you know what’s nice about fair skin? You can use bronzer as contour.
But you’ll need to be careful because bronzer generally has warm tones that could look muddy on pale skin.
Either tool can provide the shadows needed for an illusion of a slimmer face, stronger jawline, smaller nose, and so on.
How to use bronzer for contour
Just like contour, you’ll apply bronzer in the shape of the number three on either side of your face. This includes the temples, cheekbones, and jawline. (You can include the nose, too).
Also, dust a little bronzer on the sides of your neck because it needs to match your face.
Now, here’s a trick to make the bronzer look more like contour. Add blush. This tiny bit of color on your cheeks is the pièce de résistance.
L’Oreal Paris Cosmetics True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer
Which is the best drugstore contour bronzer for fair skin? We’re happy with this one from L’Oreal. It comes in light, medium, and deep shades.
It might seem a little pricey for drugstore makeup, but it’s a generous amount in a large compact.
It’s a silky powder with a barely visible shimmer. But most important, it’s not warm-toned so it doesn’t look muddy or orange.
Therefore, you can also enjoy it as a bronzer and give yourself a sun-kissed glow.
Milani XL All-Over Bronzer
With next to no shimmer, this bronzer is a favorite choice for many. It creates natural-looking shadows with the perfect amount of tint for fair skin.
Furthermore, it comes in a variety of shades that are all straightforward to blend.
(We noticed that it smells pleasant, too).
Rimmel Natural Bronzer, Sun Bronze
We found a shade of bronzer that creates a natural glow and doesn’t look orange. It adds radiance with a hint of shimmer.
The waterproof formula features SPF 15 protection from UV damage. It’s long-wearing makeup that lasts up to ten hours.
e.l.f Primer-Infused Bronzer
This bronzer is matte and long-lasting. It doesn’t rub off easily because it has lock-on primer powder.
Reviewers with light skin are thrilled that it complements their blush and does not turn orange. It provides a natural glow like a base tan.
What’s more, e.l.f. products are cruelty-free, vegan, and do not contain phthalates, parabens, and other nasties.
Maybelline New York City Bronzer
Maybelline’s bronzer comes in three shades, from light to medium. We recommend the medium for contouring under the cheekbones.
It’s a micro-milled powder with a creamy texture and a velvety finish. It contains whipped cocoa butter to help it last for up to sixteen hours.
e.l.f. Contouring Brush for Precision Application
Improve your experience with makeup by using the right tool for the job. This contouring brush is the perfect size, shape, and density for flawless application.
It picks up powder evenly and distributes it without fallout.
There’s no need to spend big bucks when there is plenty of drugstore contour makeup for fair skin.
Think of all the fun you can have without feeling guilty over what you spent.
The more practice you get, the more definition your face will have. Practice sculpting, and you’ll be astonished by what you can achieve.