Tessa Thompson's Makeup Artist Says This Is the Easiest Way to Contour


(Image credit: @kilprity)

I have to preface this by saying that I'm not a contour queen by any means. It took a lot of trial and error for me to even understand the basics of contouring or what works for my particular face shape. I am fortunate enough, however, to be able to call in a little help if I'm ever struggling to understand challenging skincare or makeup concepts.

Today, I decided to enlist the help of celebrity makeup artist Keita Moore. Having painted the faces of stars like Tessa Thompson, Janelle Monáe, Laverne Cox, Tiffany Haddish, and Iman, I knew he would have great advice. Moore also just has a really great eye for what pops on darker skin tones. He even addressed a major concern for me—learning to contour on Black and Brown skin. I thought it would be easy peasy to learn myself, but found that this wasn't exactly the case. He shared a ton of great tips and tricks with me along with the best contour makeup out there. Keep scrolling for all his insight.

How to Contour for Beginners


(Image credit: @kilprity)

I get it—learning to contour isn't always a walk in the park. When I first learned, I found that shade matching myself and learning to blend out those harsher lines were the biggest challenges. It's also just tough to know exactly where to place your contour makeup so that your face looks incredibly snatched. Well, Moore has some advice for us all on the matter. "My best advice would be to figure out the anatomy of your face," he says. "Your face shape, where the light naturally touches the high points of your face, and also where the shadows are. Use the shadows as your guide when contouring."

So yeah, learning what your particular face shape is is extra important. Rounder face shapes will want to contour differently than rectangular or oval shapes. When I first did a deep dive into it, I found that looking up contouring charts for different face shapes was extremely helpful. Everyone's face is also unique, though. Play around until you find what works best for you.

Contouring Tips for Tan, Black, and Brown Skin Tones


(Image credit: @kilprity)

Another thing I found frustrating when I first started learning to contour was the lack of information out there about contouring for darker skin tones. I found that I couldn't use the same contour makeup as those with lighter skin tones because it just didn't show up very well for me or didn't look right. Moore also has a few tips for this.

"Know the difference between bronzing and contouring," he says. "These two work together but are different. Use a slightly warmer and deeper shade to warm up the skin by bronzing. Your contour should come next and should be two to four shades deeper than your foundation shade (whatever you're comfortable with) and go into the shadow areas of your face, then blend. It's important to also know the lighting of the occasion you'll be attending. If you're going outside to the beach or to a festival, bronzing should be good enough, however, if you're going to a gala or out for drinks and it's nighttime lighting, you can bronze and contour."

Of course, it's everyone's own choice what kind of contour makeup they prefer—whether that's a cream, stick, powder, you name it. But Moore loves using one particular type for darker skin tones. "I love using creams—something lightweight that blends easily. You can do the same with liquid as well. I find that light creams give you more control and are easier to blend. I also recommend taking a powder the shade of the cream and lightly setting it."

Best Contour Products

1. Makeup By Mario SoftSculpt Shaping Stick

2. Danessa Myricks Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder

3. Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick

4. Fashion Fair Iconic Pressed Setting Powder

5. Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick

6. Maybelline Facestudio Master Contour Stick


(Image credit: @kilprity)

7. Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Cream Bronzer

8. NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Cream Highlight & Contour Stick

9. Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Creme Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo


(Image credit: @kilprity)

10. Huda Beauty Tantour Contour & Cream Bronzer

11. LYS Beauty No Limits Cream Bronzer and Contour Stick

12. Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer

Up Next: Makeup Artists Say This Product Tricks Your Skin Into Looking Years Younger

Shawna Hudson
Associate Beauty Editor

Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.