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.
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
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."
Let me tell you, this cream bronzer packs a serious punch. It's so pigmented that I've always been able to use it as a nice, sharp contour. It looks gorgeous on the skin and really is true to the name.
I love this cream-and-powder duo. It leaves your skin so luminous, sculpted, and glowy. It's basically a cream contour and setting powder in one—it's perfect for use on darker skin tones à la Moore's advice.
So many makeup aritsts on TikTok love this contour and cream bronzer, and for a good reason. The formula is pigmented and easy to blend but is also incredibly buildable if you'd rather start with a light hand.
11. LYS Beauty No Limits Cream Bronzer and Contour Stick
Basically, there aren't many Anastasia Beverly Hills products out there that I don't like. They're all just that good. The brand's cream bronzer is a great subtle option as it warms up the skin nicely but still adds the sculpted definition you're looking for.