Drugstore Contour Highlight Palette Reviews

Even if you aren't a fan of makeup, I'm guessing you've heard the phrase "contour and highlight," right? While this technique has been around for decades (like in drag and theatre) it was brought to the masses by makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic. Don't recognize the name? His most famous client: Kim K.

Anyway, contour and highlight palettes have been around for a few years and very recently drugstores brands have caught onto the trend. I purchased all of the ones I could get my hands on and tried them out for you. Here are my reviews:

Rimmel Kate Sculpting Kit

  • $6.99
  • 3 shades, pictured is #3
  • Highlight, contour, blush
  • I found this at Walgreens, but only saw it once. It is online.
  • The shimmer highlight was nice, the contour was ok, but the blush was my fave. Could be hard to find in stores.
Wet N Wild Megaglo Contouring Palette
  • $3.67
  • 2 shades, pictured is the lightest of the two
  • Both are matte, but did not show up very well on skin. I have a friend who tested the caramel one and she had the same results.
  • The formula is very nice and it is very silky.
Above are swatches, so you can see the colors on my skin before blending them in. 
A couple of things to note: 
  • since these are swatches, I applied them heavily so they could be seen on camera. I also brought them down a little further than I normally would when applying
  • I don't have an after picture here, because these palettes deliver a natural-looking c&h that isn't visible enough to tell a difference on camera. I would really have to pile it on to get it to show up on camera, and I didn't want to do that here since I'm sure most of us wouldn't wear the product that way.

Maybelline Master Contour
  • $12.99
  • 2 shades, pictured is light to medium
  • Features matte contour, blush, and shimmer highlight
  • This one looked the muddiest on my skin. 
  • Did not feel this one was worth the price for my skin tone.
NYX Cream Highlight & Contour Palette
  • $14.99
  • So far, I have only seen this at ULTA and NYX online, but this brand is sold in box stores, like Target, and a CVS drugstores.
  • Features creamy matte contour, highlight and shimmer accent
  • I liked the cream contour on my cheekbones, but it looked muddy on other areas of the face.
  • Note, there is also another NYX cheek contour palette, which I shared here, but since the shade was so dark on me, I didn't include it in this post.
L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Contour
  • $12.99
  • Comes in 3 shades, pictured is light
  • matte contour and shimmer highlight
  • Has a pro-sculpt brush (didn't like it) and a guide on how to place product
  • While definitely pricey, I liked the formula of the powder 
Swatches on face of contour and highlight before being blended in.

Arm swatches of highlight and of contour, done in natural light

Overall, contour powder or cream should be more grey or taupe in color, to mimic shadows, unless you have a medium or darker skin tone, where brown would work better. I found that WNW and L'Oreal were the closest to a proper contour color and I liked them the best. Maybelline was my least favorite, in terms of color. I still prefer high-end contour kits/palettes/colors, but these were fun to try and definitely an affordable option.

SEE ALSO: Strobing 101

Have you tried contour/highlight before?

Extra Elle
  • I had a great weekend. My plans changed and instead of a quiet night in, I went to my first Atl Hawks game and then out after that.


  1. I'm always reading about contouring but haven't tried it. It sounds like the WNW is the product to start with and such a great price point too! Thanks for sharing your reviews!

    Doused In Pink

  2. looks interesting. I'm still thinking if I wanted to try this out and not sure if I'll look recognizable but the options you provided are showing there is a way to try

  3. I love this review! It seems like everyone has a kit now - it's hard to know which ones work!

  4. Contouring totally intimidates me, I just started to kind of do it and I really need to get a better pallet. I'll try one of these until I get the hang of it then move on to a more expensive brand. Great post!

    Whitney & Blaire

    Peaches In A Pod

  5. I've always been so intimidated by contouring, but if the drugstore brands are finally catching on I may have to pick one of these more affordable options up to try out <3
    Green Fashionista

  6. good to know there are some affordable options out there! i like how they seem pretty simple to follow too - i'm sure i would need a road map for this if i ever tried haha

    xoxo cheshire kat

  7. Always love a good drugstore review! The WIN one is such a good price!

  8. interesting!it's always a good thing to read about conturing..
    thanks for sharing

  9. This is great! I've been wanting to get a contour/highlight set for awhile but I wasn't sure which to go with! Definitely going to see if I can find these in my store! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  10. I prefer higher end contour shades as i find they look better on my skin for some reason. I do love NYX products so might try these.
    Emmy | Emmys Beauty Cave | Bloglovin

  11. Great reviews. The Rimmel shades are so great for Spring. Happy Monday gorgeous!!

  12. I had that WNW one in my hands this weekend & put it back. That, along with the shimmer compact. I now want to go back & get it.

  13. Thanks for the review! I have tried contour/highlighting but I feel like it doesn't look good one. I think I don't apply it properly. Too bad,I can't afford a personal makeup artist to do my makeup everyday.

  14. Great review. I have not tried any of these Drugstore brands for contouring/highlighting. But, I did get Anastasia Beverly Hills contour palette and illuminators last year, and after trial and error finally figured out a system and love them. x
    Star Noir

  15. You have the best comparison posts, Elle and I was planning to pick up the Wet n' Wild one and definitely will after reading this.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  16. Great roundup post! The Wet N Wild palette is my favorite, there is so much product and it's really affordable!

    xx, A Little Dose of Makeup

  17. Glad you were able to review all of these for us. I only have the WNW duo and I like it for everyday use, especially since I don't crazy with contouring to begin with. I find that it's quite pigmented, but it could just be that I'm not big on contouring. LOL! If that makes any sense. Hope you have a great Monday!
    xo, Lily

  18. Great reviews on these. I have the Maybelline Master Contour in the light/medium and the medium/dark. I'm working on my reviews for this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the others.

  19. I thought the Maybelline Contour shade looked a little off so I'm glad I didn't pick it up. I was going to get the L'Oreal one, but then Makeup Geek released their contour powders so I bought one of those instead. I love it!

  20. This is a great review, Elle! I'm so intimidated by contouring but I've really wanted to give it a try! I feel like I will have stripes of colors all over my face haha! It's definitely on my things to do for the next month!

    Xo, Rachel
    A Blonde's Moment

  21. I am a contouring novice! It actually makes me very nervous but I like that makeup is now trending towards making everything pretty foolproof! Thanks for the reminder ;D
    Thank you for the visit hun, the entire blog’s been redesigned!
    Would love to get your thoughts!

    Xx- Julie

    Haute Khuuture Blog

  22. Great review as always. I don't really see myself doing contouring, but if I ever do, I'll know what to try, so thanks!

  23. Great reviews! I don't have a contouring palette yet and was considering buying one so this was great timing! Thanks!

  24. I've been seeing these contour palettes everywhere, Elle! I remember back in the day when only MAC and MUFE used to carry them. Good to know that WnW is a good one:)

  25. thanks for sharing..
    i am such a make up amateur..

  26. I got a contour product from Ipsy and it was a lot of fun to put on and I really liked it once I figured it out. Unfortunately, I haven't taken the time to do it again since then! Boo! I guess I just don't have the patience for it. I need to go look and see if its any of these that you reviewed here, I can't remember the brand of it.


  27. I haven't found a drugstore palette for contour/highlight that I love so far. I like you prefer the higher end options. Great review.

  28. I have the make up forever sculpting duo. It is my first foray into contouring. I get so many compliments on my makeup when I do it. I need to check out some of these too to do an everyday contour that fits the budget.

  29. I've been curious about these! I think I might give the WNW a try :)

  30. I haven't really done any contouring or highlighting, but I've always wanted to try! One of these seems a lot more cost efficient than dropping $50 on a kit at Sephora that I might not really like.

  31. I have not tried this before.

    Quiet weekends are sometimes the best!

  32. I have the wet n' wild and have been pretty impressed with it thus far. Out of all the ones you reviewed the loreal one looks the most natural, I may have to give it a go. Thanks for the great review, Elle!

  33. Great guide...and good to know which colors are the best. I rarely contour and highlight but should really practice it more to get it down correctly.

  34. Thanks for keeping from spending unnecessary money. I loved the packaged on almost all of theses, but your reviews make me realize WNW is probably the way for me to go if I purchase. Love the swatch examples.

  35. Love this review! I still need to try contouring, so a drugstore is where I'll purchase products from first!


  36. I haven't tried any of these yet. I am weary of the actual palettes. I feel like there is going to be no perfect combination for my skin where I like everything in it. I have been contouring with a too faced bronzer, a milani blush and no highlight. I need a highlight!

  37. I have yet to try contouring but for these prices I might have to give it a try!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  38. Thanks for this review! I've seen these palettes out but wasn't sure if they were worth the money. You look great, Elle!

  39. I've been looking for that Rimmel one everywhere. I have the medium to deep in th Maybelline and I really like it. I didn't pick the light to medium because the color bronzer it came with would have looked muddy on my skin tone. Is it strange that I kind of don't want the L'Oreal one because I don't like how there's a face on the packaging lol???!

  40. Bummer about Maybelline... glad I saw this though because I've been thinking of getting it to try!

  41. Your reviews are always the best, thanks for being so thorough!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  42. I love this review. Especially since I was considering splurging on some high end contour kits but now I may go for some of the ones you tested!

    Paula- www.livingpaula.com

  43. I've never tried contouring before, but one of my besties is a pro at it. I love watching her work! :)

  44. Great reviews! I have so many high end contour and highlight palettes that I haven't had to try out drugstore ones. But I've been hitting pan on my favorites, so I'm definitely taking note on drugstore ones.

    Connie | Sponsored by Coffee | Etsy

  45. The L'Oreal visibly looked to be among one of the better ones - thanks for the review!

    little luxury list formerly Chic 'n Cheap Living

  46. I normally don't "do" contouring, but I like to see it in pictures, by makeup artists, etc. I loved the Rimmel and the Maybelline colors, they kind of look similar and I love when a palette has pink - I understand that it is for contouring and highlighting, but I liked to see the pink tone, anyway :) Yay, for what you said, that they deliver a natural-look, and that is what I most like!

  47. I don't have any of these, so I'm happy you reviewed them! I really like the shade and tone of the L'Oreal contour powder.

  48. I tried the Wet n' Wild one last year and felt very "meh" about it. Like you, it didn't show up well on my skin and the brown was more of a bronzer than a contour color on me. I am pale pale pale. (; I actually use the Sephora brand contour powder in the shade tranquil. It's that perfect grey contour color. I wish drugstore brands would come out with a cool tone grey for contouring instead of all these browns. They dont do anything for me except make me look orange. haha Oh pale life.

  49. fabulously detailed reviews, Elle, as always! i haven't tried any highlight and contour palette, from what i gather i'll probably have better luck looking at the 'higher end' stuff rather than my preferred drugstore, but i don't mind because i don't want to waste money on something that doesn't work.


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