11 Best Contour Brushes to Look Sculpted AF
You can buy the most expensive contour stick, cream, or palette in the world, but without the right tools, your makeup can only do so much. Sure, your fingers can blend everything out in a quickie, but if you want pro-level definition, streak-free blending, and precise application, using one of the best contour brushes around is essential. Thought your foundation brush was a can-all, do-all? Think again: in order to create a chiseled, flawlessly sculpted look, you're going to need the right high-quality makeup tool that's specially made for accenting the hollows of your face.
First off, how does one even contour in the first place? Well, it all depends on your face shape, but New York City-based makeup artist Benjamin Puckey previously told Allure that there's one simple rule for all contour beginners to know. "Anything you shade will optically recede," he said, so remember to use your contouring products on shadowed areas of your face, such as your jawline, under your cheekbones, and/or the perimeter of your forehead. It's also worth noting that contour and bronzer are two different products: "Contouring is about shaping and defining the structure of the face, while bronzing is about warming up the skin where the sun would naturally hit," New York City-based makeup artist Daniel Martin previously told Allure. Since contouring is all about mimicking the natural shadows on your face, a matte finish is essential to creating a natural-looking finish.
Now, it's time to get to buffing and blending. Below, take a look at some of the best contour-sculpting brushes for dagger-sharp definition no matter your budget.
Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Contour Brush
Chanel Les Pinceaux de Chanel Contouring Brush N°109
If there's one thing that professional makeup artists and Allure editors can agree on, it's the contour-defining powers of Patrick Ta's Major Sculpt Contour Brush. This Allure Best of Beauty winner has won over the hearts of our editors and New York City-based makeup artist Judi Gabbay Braha for its densely-packed bristles (which are synthetic, by the way) that work magically with powder and cream contour products. "Its bristles create a perfect stamp of contour with a seamless finish," she says. "Simply etch your contour with the brush under cheekbones and along the jawline, lightly buffing for a clean blend."
Looking for something a little more luxe? Enter: the Chanel Les Pinceaux de Chanel Contouring Brush N°109. This angled brush hugs the contours of your face as it sweeps subtle strokes of makeup for a natural-looking finish. It's worth noting that this brush can only be used with pressed or loose powder contour products, so keep that in mind before restocking your contour routine.
E.L.F. Dual-Ended Nose Contour Brush
Tom Ford #12 Eye Contour Brush
Allure associate manager of special projects Talia Gutierrez says that E.L.F's. Dual-Ended Nose Contour Brush is a mainstay in her makeup bag. This dual-ended brush features soft synthetic bristles on each end that are shaped to effortlessly apply and blend your product of choice. The firm (yet gentle) angled end provides precise application and sharp lines while the softer end is slightly tapered to blend any and all of your cream, liquid, or powder products.
If you're missing an eye-contouring option in your brush set, the Tom Ford #12 Eye Contour Brush is a great option. Its brush head is angled and made of firm synthetic bristles to effectively swipe eye shadow and contour products onto your eyelids, creases, and inner corners without muddying your makeup look.
Huda Beauty Tantour Face Contouring Sculpt & Shade Brush
Sigma Beauty F40 Large Angled Contour Brush
Keep your makeup routine simple with the Huda Beauty Tantour Face Contouring Sculpt & Shade Brush, an option that Allure commerce writer Jennifer Hussein says minimized her makeup brush collection. "I contour literally every part of my face, neck, and collarbones with this brush in a jiffy," she says. Hussein says she uses this dual-ended brush's smaller end to apply all of her cream contour products (though it works just as well with powders) and blend her nose, while the fluffier brush end takes care of blending the perimeter of her face. "The way this brush diffuses and buffs my contour is the closest thing to magic there is," she says. No wonder this pick is an Allure Best of Beauty winner.
For a subtle, softer contour, Braha recommends swiping on your products with the Sigma Beauty F40 Large Angled Contour Brush. "Its flexible bristles give a diffused contour perfect for beginners or those looking for a subtle sculpt," she says. "I recommend using this with powders."
Fenty Beauty Sculpting Bronzer Brush 195
Real Techniques Soft Sculpting Contour Makeup Brush
Braha says that the smaller size of Fenty Beauty's Sculpting Bronzer Brush 195 makes it wonderful to work with, especially on smaller areas of the face like the eyes and nose. "This brush is small enough to fit into hollows of cheeks and temples yet works just as well for larger areas like the jawline," she says. "The bristles are super flexible and soft enough for a diffused blend."
Blending on a budget has never been easier, thanks to the Real Techniques Soft Sculpting Contour Makeup Brush. The synthetic bristles are lightly packed and slightly angled to hug your contours as it glides and applies makeup. As its name suggests, this brush's fluffy head can be used for a soft, subtle contour rather than dramatic results.
Morphe M405 Angled Contour Brush
$14.00, Ulta Beauty
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Complexion Brush
The MAC Kabuki 182S Buffer Brush feels like a plush cloud on the skin, but that's not the only reason why we're loving it. This puffy, domed brush has softer bristles than most contour brushes, plus it's made to seamlessly blend all of your makeup products for a more natural finish. It's the finishing touch to ensure your makeup is perfectly diffused, plus it's small enough to tuck away in your bag.
When it comes to contouring, it's all about the angles — angled brushes, that is. Morphe's M405 Angled Contour Brush is not only an under-$20 choice (cha-ching), but its angled brush head makes it a master at applying crisp, precise lines. Its synthetic bristles are also lightly packed, so blending is a breeze with this pick.
What makes Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Complexion Brush so unique is its larger brush end, which you may have noticed isn't angled. That's because its large, flat-top head is made for buffing not only your contour products but just about any base makeup you have in your bag, including foundation and blush. The tinier angled end also deserves a shoutout for its pin-point contouring abilities, which can also be used to apply and blend concealer on your undereyes.
Want more makeup suggestions? We got you:
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Originally Appeared on Allure