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Contouring is one of the biggest beauty comebacks to resurface in the last couple of years, thanks in part to the Kardashians and viral YouTube tutorials showing the makeup technique’s transformative powers. However, if you’re not a pro, there’s a fine line between creating a chiseled and defined effect and looking like you’ve painted on muddy-brown stripes onto your cheek bones, jawline, nose, and forehead. Without the proper technique and tools, contouring can look harsh and downright disastrous. Aside from choosing the right formula and color for your face shape and skin tone — usually a neutral or cool toned brown or taupe shade — using the right contour brush is the key to success when it comes to creating a sculpted appearance that enhances your angles.
Regardless of whether you opt for a cream or powdered formula, an angled sculpting brush is going to be your best ally when it comes to shaping the face. In general, you want to look for a densely packed option that’s either angled or fanned depending on how “sharp” of a look you’re after. Angled makeup brushes hug the curves of your face, which allows you to create a super-defined line that can be seamlessly blended out to the level of your personal liking, for either a more subtle look or something a bit more dramatic. Finding a brush that’s dense enough to pack on the pigment, follows the lines of your face, and is able to blend out lines of demarcation is critical when it comes to nailing the contour, and these top-performing brushes — along with watching a how-to video or two — will help you advance from beginner to pro-level status in no time.
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1. Eco Tools Define & Highlight Brush Duo
This brush duo comes with not only a contour brush, but also a fanned addition for highlighting so you can create the perfect light and shadow interplay on your face. It’s designed with high-quality bristles that won’t transfer to your skin, and it’s super affordable.
2. Beauty Junkies Angled Kabuki Brush
This angled kabuki brush is designed with just the right amount of density to deposit pigment for definition, but the bristles are still soft enough to get a good blend. It performs like high-end counterparts, but at a fraction of the cost.
3. Real Techniques Sculpting Brush
This affordable sculpting brush is designed with ultra-hygienic taklon synthetic bristles that pick up makeup easily, but are non-porous to ensure that they don’t absorb dead skin cells or harbor bacteria.
4. Keshima Foundation Brush
This flat top kabuki brush makes contouring and highlighting a breeze. The super densely packed bristles allow the brush to pick up just the right amount of product and help buffing, blending, and angling easy.
5. Elf Contour Brush
This angled contour brush is specifically designed to help you carve out cheekbones with powder, cream, and liquid formulas. You can also use it to apply foundation, bronzer, and blush too.