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The Best Makeup Brushes for Contouring and Highlighting

Contouring can be one of the toughest things to get right. Do it wrong and you look like you’ve smeared dirt all over your face. Do it right and it can transform your face.

The first step to making sure your contouring is on point is to have the correct brush. Fortunately, there are an abundance of affordable brushes that’ll help make contouring (and highlighting) easier, whether you’re just learning, or you’re a seasoned pro.

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Beauty Junkies Contouring and Highlighting Kit

Let’s jump right in with a kit. If you want to make one purchase that includes everything you need to sculpt your face with makeup, this makeup brush set is for you. The brushes in this set were designed to make highlighting and contouring easy with either cream or powder makeup.

Included are a sculpting brush, a duo fiber brush, a highlighter brush, a detailer brush, and a contour sponge. All of the brushes are made with synthetic bristles that are hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Additionally, it comes with a makeup case that’ll hold even more than the included brushes.

About the brushes

The sculpting brush is dome shaped with narrow, dense bristles that are perfect for both application of makeup and blending.

The small precision detailer brush will do an amazing job at tackling the more difficult areas like the nose, under the lower lip, and inner eye.

The duo fiber brush is what you’ll need for lighter makeup application. It’ll let you build up color in a way that looks natural.

The highlighting brush is tapered with soft bristles made for applying highlighter effortlessly.

The makeup sponge should be good for getting an airbrush finish when using cream makeup, but you may find that this sponge is a bit too soft to be of any use.

Pros
  • Great value for the price.
  • Very soft bristles.
  • Four brushes and a sponge to handle different jobs.
  • Great with cream or powder makeup products.
  • Synthetic hypoallergenic and antibacterial bristles.
  • Hold up well to washing with no shedding.
  • Includes bonus brush case
Cons
  • May include more brushes than you need.
  • Included makeup sponge not as soft as the beauty blender.

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Real Techniques Sculpting Brush

Real Techniques brushes are some of the most amazing affordable brushes around, and this sculpting brush is no different. It meets the quality of other high end brushes making it one of the best makeup brushes for contouring at a low price. This brush has soft bristles with a wide, angled head designed to create defined contours. Aside from contouring, it works for highlighting, and even applying blush.

The dense bristles pick up the perfect amount of product and blends makeup in smoothly. But be careful, a dense brush also means you’ll have to use a lighter hand to avoid harsh lines.

Pros
  • Works for contouring, highlighting, and blush.
  • The dense bristles will pick up the perfect amount of product.
  • Doesn’t shed.
  • High end quality for an affordable price
Cons
  • Larger brush size may make it difficult to use with a smaller makeup palette.
  • The brush is very dense, and may not be right if you want something on the fluffier side.

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Sigma Beauty F25 Tapered Face Brush

The tapered shape of this Sigma brush allows you to have very precise placement of product while contouring. This is a very versatile brush that does a great job multitasking. Use it for setting powder, and blush as well.

The brush is dense enough that it will pick up makeup product, but soft enough that it won’t remove the foundation that you’ve already applied to your face. When washed, it doesn’t shed, and holds its shape.

Pros
  • Versatile. This brush can contour, set powder, and apply blush.
  • Tapered shape places makeup on face with precision.
  • Holds up well to frequent or regular washing..
Cons
  • Large size may take some getting used to.

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Morphe G30 Flat Contour

With this brush from Morphe, you can create perfect contours thanks to the wide, flat edge. Cream products are where this brush really shines, but it’s also excellent with powder and liquid.

The brush is soft, so it doesn’t create any harsh lines. This makes it the perfect brush for a beginner just starting out with contouring.

Pros
  • Perfect for contouring newbies.
  • Excellent with cream makeup products.
  • High quality, low price.
Cons
  • Flat shape that may not be preferable for someone who wants an angle.
  • Handle is a bit on the short side.

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EcoTools Deluxe Fan Brush

This is a great brush to get if you want something that’ll work well with illuminating powders and highlighters. The hand cut bristles are incredible soft, making gentle application a breeze. The handle shape is incredibly comfortable to grip while applying makeup.

This is the least expensive brush on the list, at just under $6, but you wouldn’t even be able to tell because it’s great quality.

Pros
  • Low price that can’t be beaten.
  • Perfect for powders.
  • Very soft bristles.
  • Not too flimsy or thin.
Cons
  • A bit plusher/more full than the usual fan brush, so if you want something lighter, this is not the one.
  • Doesn’t pick up color as well as some of the other brushes on the list.

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Keshima Professional Contour and Blush Brush

This is a brush that is built for even application of makeup along the cheekbone, with soft bristles that still leave you with plenty of control. It picks of a good amount of makeup, but the brush doesn’t absorb the product so it’s easy to clean, and doesn’t shed when washing. As a bonus, the brush comes with a manual that gives tips on how to use it.

Pros
  • Money back guarantee if you don’t like the brush.
  • Doesn’t smear on product.
  • Includes a helpful information guide for using the brush.
Cons
  • Might be too soft depending on your preference for brush firmness.

Quick Contouring Tips

So you’ve picked out the best makeup brush for contouring, but you still need to make sure you’re applying your makeup correctly. The first step is simply knowing the correct place to apply your makeup for the perfect look.

Cheekbones
When contouring your cheeks, make sure to apply the makeup directly beneath the cheekbone. This will help slim your face and make your cheekbone pop.

Jawline

To contour your jawline, apply the makeup from your earlobe down your jawline until you reach your chin. When blending, keep the makeup mostly beneath your jaw, not all over the side of your face and chin.

Forehead
For the forehead, the best it’s best to concentrate on applying your makeup lightly around the hairline and hollows of your temple.