Price: $5 * Buy At: Five Below * Size: 3 g (contour) / 6.5 mL (highlight)
The City Color Contour Stick in Light is a dual ended product with a cream contour and liquid highlight.
Instead of the contour stick being rounded, it is in the shape of a lipstick for some reason. I think it’s probably designed to get sharp lines using the flat side, but I still just find it odd. The contour shade is a great color for me, it’s light enough for my fair skin and isn’t warm or orangey at all. The highlight end is a mousse-like liquid and has a sponge applicator. There is shimmer in the highlight, which I know is a turn off to a lot of people. However, when it’s properly blended out, I think it looks really pretty on the skin. It's definitely a cool toned shade, sort of a silvery white. I haven’t gotten into liquid highlights that much, but they are definitely good for highlighting the chest or shoulders if you are wearing something that shows them off. Cream contouring or highlighting is still not my preference over using powders, but I think this duo is a nice addition to a collection to give you both items in one, easy to use format.
Price: $8 * Buy At: Target * Size: 16 g / 0.56 oz
The Elf Beautifully Bare Natural Glow Face Palette is a small quad with a highlight, bronzer and two blushes.
Elf has other quad palettes, with blushes, illuminators and contour. I liked this one because it has all three, and since it is so small, I figured it would be great to travel with. Since this quad is part of the new Beautifully Bare line instead of Elf’s studio line, the packaging is different. Instead of the matte black, the entire compact is mirrored, which could actually come in handy, in addition to just being visually appealing. All four shades felt smooth and creamy to the touch, but once I tried to swatch them on my arm, they became sheer and patchy. The contour shade is the best, but it's still not something that would make me reach for this quad, and I wouldn't say it alone is even worth $8. The two blushes aren’t great, and they look like the same color! So, if you aren't a fan of peachy, coral blushes, they won't be your cup of tea. The highlight is too dark on my fair skin as well, but it would be fine on anyone darker, however, it is hardly reflective and hardly even has shimmer, so I don't even know how flattering it would appear on a different skin tone. In case it wasn't apparent, I really don't like this quad and I was super disappointing. I usually like Elf products, so this was a big let down.
Price: $5 * Buy At: Five Below * Size: 6.9 g / 0.243 oz
The Desert Treasures Bronzer in Oasis is a traditional warm bronze shade with some shimmer. The Desert Treasures Bronzer in Sand Storm is a pink toned bronze also with some shimmer.
The Desert Treasures bronzers come in a black, square compact with a clear lid. I can see why people may not like these bronzers, as they do have some shimmer, Oasis more so than Sand Storm. But it is important to keep in mind that these are bronzers not contour powders. These are designed to warm up the skin and create a glow, not chisel out features. I don’t always show blended out swatches for products, but for these bronzers I felt it was important. While the intense swatches in the center would be pretty as eyeshadows, on someone fair like me, it would look terrible to apply a bronzer so opaquely. You can tell especially in the blended out swatch of Sand Storm that is definitely is a pinky bronze, and could really be used just as a blush. My skintone is on the pink side, so I would use a shade like this to bronze and warm up my face, but for more yellow or olive based skin tones, Oasis would be a better choice to use in the traditional sense of a bronzer.
Price: $30 * Buy At: Ulta * Size: 6 g / 0.21 oz x2
The Tarte Don't Be Afraid to Dazzle Highlight & Contour Palette is a contour and highlight powder duo.
The duo isn’t too large, but it does have a decent sized mirror, so it makes for a pretty good travel companion. The packaging is pretty simple, it's just gold with a rather boring purple title on the lid. What drew me in to the duo was the contour shade--it’s not warm toned at all and it is a good color for my fair skintone. It is sort of interesting, however, because the highlight is a bit dark in comparison...so while the contour shade is perfect for my light skin, the highlight doesn’t show up as much as I would like. So in all honestly, while the contour is great for my skintone, I'd say the overall duo is designed for a medium skintone. One of my favorite highlights is in Tarte's Showstopper Palette (which is super underrated and I use it all the time), so if the highlight in this duo was the same as the one in that palette, this duo would be the best thing for me. Don't get me wrong, I do still like this duo. The contour shade is pigmented, but easy to blend out and the highlight also has a soft texture and applies evenly. Yes the contour and highlight shade are both full sized, but at $30 for two shades, it is honestly not the best deal. If you don't have a ton of contour or highlight shades, I would recommend putting in an extra $10 or so to just get a larger contour/highlight palette over this duo.
Price: $4.99 * Buy At: Walgreens * Size: 0.23 oz / 6.5 g
The Jordana Sculpt N' Go Creamy Contour Stick in Light is a light taupe shade. Many affordable cream contours have a balmy texture, but this one does not! The product still applies smoothly and evenly, but it is not too thin or dewy. The Sculpt N' Go Contour Stick has a natural matte finish, making it easy to achieve a natural contour. Another thing about this formula that makes a natural looking contour easy, is that it is super easy to blend! It's actually pretty foolproof, maybe even more so than a contour powder. In addition to its pigmentation and ease of blending, the contour stick is very buildable. When I use this product, I like to apply it under my cheekbones, blend it out, and then apply a bit more for some extra definition. It goes without saying that I really am a fan of this product! It is foolproof and super affordable, so I would recommend it to anyone!
Price: $15 * Buy At: Ulta * Size: 0.45 oz
The Makeup Revolution Ultra Cream Contour Palette consists of four highlighting and four contour shades.
The Ultra Cream Contour Palette comes in the same black packaging as Makeup Revolution’s other palettes. The shades have nice pigmentation, but are not super intense, so I do not think this palette would be ideal for darker skin tones. The texture of the creams is pretty thin and slippery, which has its pros and cons. The slippery texture tends to be easier to blend out than a drier cream product. Because the creams have a thin formula, they aren’t as intensely pigmented, but that could be good or bad depending on your preferences. The creams also have a bit of a dewy finish, which may or may not be what you are looking for with a cream contour palette. While the formula of the palette is not perfect, you do not see many cream contour palettes at drugstore prices, and it still gets the job done, so I will continue to use it.
Price: $5 * Buy At: Target * Size: 0.44 oz
The Wet n Wild Contouring Palette in Dulce De Leche is a duo featuring a matte highlight and contour powder.
The duo comes in a fairly large, circular compact with a clear lid. Both shades come with quite a bit of product, and since the pans are so large, it is easily fits most brushes. The powders have a smooth, silky texture. They are a bit powdery and do kick up some excess product in the compact, but it does not affect the final result. Both colors have great pigmentation, as you can tell in my swatches. The contour shade looks quite natural on the skin--it’s not too warm or too cool, and it blends out very easily. Since the highlight shade is matte, it is geared more towards brightening up and setting the skin, than to give a glow. As far as drugstore contour products go, I definitely think that this Wet n Wild duo is a great product, in addition to being super affordable.
Price: $4.99 * Buy At: Ulta * Size: 0.52 oz
The Essence Lighter Skin Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder is a bronzer designed for people that are on the more fair side.
The Sun Club Bronzing Powder comes in a large compact with a clear lid. Because of the product’s light shade, I do not have to worry about going overboard like I do with most other bronzers. Even though the color is light, it still has very nice color payoff. The product gives warmth and color to the face, but does not make it look orange or muddy on the skin. The Sun Club Bronzing Powder applies and blends very easily on the skin, making it very foolproof! So, while this product is not geared towards everyone, (Essence also has a darker bronzer) I think it is absolutely great for anyone with a fair or even light skin tone, as bronzing is not always so easy.
Price: $28 * Buy At: Ulta * Size: 0.39 oz
The Fiona Stiles Sheer Sculpting Palette is a trio of matte contour shades. The palette comes in two shades, the shade I purchased, of course, is Light/Medium.
The Sheer Sculpting Palette has a faceted purple lid and a decent sized mirror on the inside. All three shades come in a fairly large square pan, perfect for a contour or bronzer brush. This trio has a very light taupe shade, a light warm taupe and a medium dark warm taupe. The lightest shade is almost too light for me, which is really saying something. However, this makes it a great shade for blending out the darker shades, giving an even more natural appearance. The darkest shade is a bit on the warm side, but it can still work for my skintone. As the name suggests, the shades are somewhat sheer. This is designed to make contouring more foolproof and to avoid a harsh line. The more sheer pigmentation makes blending quite easy and it gives a more natural looking contour. When using this palette, you can still give the face dimension, but it does not appear obvious that you have contoured your face.
Price: $45 * Buy At: Ulta
The Lorac Pro Contour Palette is a slim palette with three highlight powders and three contour powders. All the shades are matte, with the exception of the shimmery highlight.
The Lorac Pro Contour Palette has the same rubberized packaging as the Pro Palettes, which is nice and compact, but will get dirty faster than other kinds of packaging. The formula of the highlight and contour powders is very similar in texture to the shadows in the Lorac Pro palettes. The powders all have a very soft texture, making them prone to powder kick up. This is not a big problem, especially if you tap off your brush before applying product to the face. The color selection of this palette works quite well on my fair skintone. This is quite nice to see, since many contour palettes have a lot of shades that are too dark for me, or they have contour shadows that are far too warm in tone. This being said, this palette probably would not work well for darker skintones.