Cream contour products are remarkably rare amongst beauty brands, and I have absolutely no idea why. To me, using a cream formula for contouring just makes sense: it looks more natural and the texture lends a dewy radiance to the skin that powder products just can’t achieve. YouTube is rife with contouring tutorials using liquid foundations, but this is just too much of a Kardashian effort for me. I have tried using various cream foundations (in darker shades) to contour, but it is often difficult to find the correct shade.
Imagine my pleasure when I came across the Shape & Shade Custom Contour Duo by Stila. The palette includes two shades: one for highlighting and one for contouring. The contour shade is totally matte (hallelujah!), making it the perfect sculpting tool, but it still brings a subtle glow to the complexion thanks to the cream texture. The highlight colour has the faintest pearlised iridescence, brightening the face without that OTT shimmer effect. It is, arguably, the most wearable highlighter I have ever come across, and truly the perfect partner to the contour shade in the palette.
The formula has an incredibly soft and velvety texture, making it very easy to work with. Being highly-pigmented, pressing the brush lightly once into the pan collects plenty of product for the entire face. It blends beautifully, making it easy to achieve a seamless, natural finish. I find that it benefits from being buffed well into the skin, which also ensures that it will stay put all day. With normal/combination skin, I personally haven’t had any issues with this product transferring or wearing off through the day.
Stila’s Shape & Shade Custom Contour Brush is designed to be used with the Contour Duo, and if you struggle with contouring, this dual-ended tool will do all the work for you. On one end, the large brush features dense but soft bristles that hug the angles of the face, and its flat surface blends the product out beautifully. On the other end, the small pointed brush allows more precision for sculpting areas such as the nose and brow bone. If you are a more comfortable with contouring, I would say that any buffing or stippling brush that you have laying about will do, as long as it is on the denser side. I use a Bobbi Brown Blending Brush for softer, more diffused shaping, or for more precise sculpting, I use a small concealer brush to contour the nose, and a Bare Minerals Precison Face Brush or Illamasqua Blush Up Brush (which is a very similar shape to the Stila Custom Contour Brush) for the rest of the face.
Stila has taken the guesswork out of contouring, including a simple contouring guide with the Contour Duo. The guide shows how to use the palette to sculpt different face shapes, as well as how to flatter features such as the nose and jawline. The palette is available in three colour ways (Light, Medium and Dark), meaning that everyone can share in my joy for easy cream contouring.
The Stila Shape & Shade Custom Contour Duo retails for $52 and is available at Mecca Cosmetica and Mecca Maxima.