Furthermore, Mehta suggests building and blending the product “gradually rather than all at once,” starting with short strokes and pushing the contour into the skin to “soften any hard lines.” Additionally, she says, “Always blend upward rather than downward. This way, you’re face is not being dragged down and you don’t end up with muddy cheeks.”
All of this information may seem overwhelming, but the art of contouring is actually quite simple. “When applying liquid contour, place the liquid on the areas you want to create [a] shadow — just under your cheekbone, sides of your nose, top of your head, and your jawline,” says Kaye. Also, keep in mind that liquid contour can be blended in one of three ways: with your fingers, a beauty sponge, or a brush.
For a more subtle look, your fingers are your best tool; however, for more defined results, a brush or sponge is ideal. According to Mehta, the best way to buff out the contour is by starting with short strokes and always blending upward rather than downward. That way, she explains, “your face is not being dragged down, and you don’t end up with muddy cheeks.”
Now that you’ve got the full rundown of liquid contours, check out all of Allure’s picks for the best liquid contours on the market that are both buildable and beginner-friendly — from drugstore picks to luxe faves that’ll chisel your complexion to perfection.
Mehta loves how the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand, a 2022 Best of Beauty Award winner, is so user-friendly. “The built-in applicator makes it easy to apply, and the creamy formula means it blends out like a dream,” she tells Allure. Depending on your skin tone, opt for shade Fair/Medium or Medium/Dark. Either way, this creamy contour product will have you looking oh-so glowy.
The Giorgio Armani A-Contour Liquid is a staple in Gerstein’s kit. “It’s got a nice slip to it that makes it easy to work with and a slightly more conservative amount of pigment, so it’s ideal for those who are afraid of overdoing it.” Despite Gerstein’s rave review, it’s worth noting that this liquid contour only comes in two shade options, 20 and 21, but we hope the brand will expand to include a wider variety of different shades.
Gabbay especially loves Milani’s Conceal + Perfect Liquid Contour for its wallet-friendly price tag. She also calls attention to its user-friendly sponge-tip applicator, which she says “can be used directly on cheekbones, jawline, and bridge of the nose to create a perfect contour each time.” Select from four shades to get your glam on.
Bhatty recommends Rare Beauty’s Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer for its “airy and light” formula, which is available in a whopping 48 shades. It’s even spiked with glycerin and vitamin E-rich sunflower seed oil, which is an added bonus in our book because these ingredients boast moisturizing properties and are ideal for dry skin Plus, this concealer is paraben-free, making it an excellent pick for sensitive skin types.
According to Kaye, the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, which is also an Allure editor favorite and three-time Readers’ Choice Award winner, doubles as an excellent liquid contour to finish off any makeup look. In terms of application, the makeup artist suggests “using a sponge to blend this product into the skin to create [a] contoured look.” Plus, with a wide shade range that runs 44 deep, you’re almost guaranteed to find your perfect contour match.
For chiseled cheekbones in a matter of seconds, swipe on some of the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer. This 2022 Best of Beauty Award winner boasts a matte finish and nourishing formula spiked with moisture-boosting glycerin and fatty acid-rich moringa seed that glides across skin. Shoppers can take their pick from 20 shades across fair, medium, and deep skin tones.
Gerstein likes that the KVD Beauty ModCon Long-Wear Hydrating Liquid-Gel Contour “comes in a variety of shades and undertones.” She also calls out its blendable and weightless formula, which she notes is “lovely for layering underneath a powder bronzer when you want even more depth.” As a bonus, the liquid contour is also enriched with glycerin to help skin retain moisture.
Available in 24 shades, Nyx Professional Makeup’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealer offers 24-hour wear time, ensuring your contour stays in place all day (and night). Its creamy, waterproof formula is cruelty-free and so highly pigmented, so a little truly goes a long way. Oh, and did we mention it’s available for under $10?
Contour with ease using Too Faced’s Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer. Its full-coverage, long-wearing formula — which lasts up to 12 hours and comes in nearly 40 shades — is both oil-free and noncomedogenic, making it a solid choice for acne-prone skin. Its diamond-shaped doe-foot applicator is also ideal for carving out your cheekbones and jawline.