Best Drugstore Contour Palette

Bronzer or contour, are they the same when it comes to sculpt the face? One can warm up and define the face, the other has the power to highlight, uplift and shape. As much as you might be used to apply only bronzer and not a contour powder, in this article I will show you how important it is to use a contour powder and the best drugstore contour palette that will make this job easy and affordable.

When your face starts to look more mature (or ageing, in case this word doesn’t harm you), there are important makeup tricks that can reverse time. Being 39 years old, I have been learning what I can keep or not in my makeup routine and what could be improved to make me look younger. Just because I worked as a makeup artist, it doesn’t mean, I know everything, especially when my face changes year after year and some makeup techniques have to be readapted. One of those techniques, the way I sculpt my cheeks, I noticed this last month, that bronzer wasn’t enough to lift my face the way I desired.

I went to a drugstore and I was determined to find a contour palette in powder that first would chiseled my cheeks, second I could carry in my makeup bag when I travel, and third would be “budget-friendly”. As a makeup artist, I have several contour palettes, but they occupy some undesirable space in my makeup bag when I have to travel. I didn’t have anything small and with the right contour shades for my skin tone.

After searching for the best contour palettes in the drugstore, I came to the conclusion, Nyx , Elf and Sleek have the best ones. Which one should I choose, that was the question, but it was easy to answer. Before I show you the palette I bought, let’s get a few things clear, such as “why contouring?” and “can you still use bronzer whilst using a contour powder?”.

In this article, by the way, I’m focusing more on the powder version of a contour palette, and not the cream texture, just because, powder is quicker and easier to be applied.


Kim Kardashian, the “queen” of contouring.
Image source: Pinterest

When Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, showed his contour technique on Kim Kardashian, every makeup lover started to do the same. Some, however, exaggerated and seemed liked a “clown”. The secret of a good contouring is blend the dark contour shade until it becomes part of skin, as if it creates a natural shadow when light hits the centre of the face. The natural shadow simulated by contouring, lifts and sculpts the face as a “botox” effect.

A bronzer has normally a terracotta colour and a contour powder a light brown colour. If you have dark skin tone, the best colour for contour powder it will be dark brown. The brown shade, opposite to the terracotta one, will reproduce perfectly the natural shadows that are reflected when the sunlight hits the face.

To be more clear: a bronzer simulates the tan shade that skin gets when sunbathing, instead contouring simulates the shadows when sunlight hits the face.

When face becomes more mature, the jaw and temple bones get wider and face looses a defined cheek bone structure. Contouring will help to structure the face, recreating a defined “young” cheek bone structure.

Bellow, check the image to understand what’s the best contour method according to your face shape.

How to contour according to each face shape.
Image source: Pinterest


Image source: Pinterest

Yes you can and you should! Contouring looks more natural when it’s blended with bronzer. The brown shade of contouring seems more subtle when it’s complemented with bronzer. For example, I can use bronzer without a contour powder, but the opposite I could not, just by the fact that contouring can leave harsh lines when it isn’t blended with bronzer.


The best drugstore contour palettes I found when I went to Boots in London were the ones from the images above Nyx, Elf and Sleek.

To decide which one would be better for me, I focussed on the size of the palette (to be practical to travel), if the shades would be the right ones for my skin tone and if the palette included bronzer and a highlighter. According to this, the decision was very easy: Sleek Face Form Contouring Palette in Medium.

Sleek Face Form Contouring Palette in Medium

Sleek Face Form Contouring Palette is available in 4 shades: fair, light, medium, dark. The shade I chose: medium, has exactly what I was looking for. A medium brown perfect for contouring, a bronzer shade perfect to blend the brown contouring and a highlight to complete the process. All 3 together lift and define my cheek bones.

Before and after using Sleek Face Form Contouring Palette in Medium

Sleek Face Form Contouring Palette – £9.99


If you like the brushes I used to apply the contouring, you can get the same from Revolution:


One of the things that I like about Sleek Face Form Contouring Palette, besides being a perfect contouring palette, is the fact that it can be used as an eyeshadow palette and create an eye lift. Do you use a contour palette in your makeup routine? What’s your favourite drugstore contour palette?


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  1. I love teaching posts and you did a great job with this one! Thank you!

    1. Thank you for your positive feedback 😊 ❤️

  2. So useful and informative! This palette contour palette from Sleek looks perfect for travelling, so compact and I love it’s available in four shades. I’ve never been good contouring my face, I really don’t know how to contour and achieve a natural, seamless result. I might give it a go using a contour palette in light hues like the Fair one from Sleek.

    1. Thank you Blanca. This is an easy contour palette to use, so I think you would like it too.

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