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Best body contouring makeup

Which body contouring makeup is best?

You work out, you eat right, and still, your abs aren’t quite as defined as you might like. Or maybe it’s your decolletage that needs a bit more oomph. Just like you can contour your face for more pronounced cheekbones, you can do the same to abs, arms or chest to add a bit more definition. If you want natural-looking, effective body contouring makeup, the Morphe Glamabronze Face & Body Bronzer is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a body contouring makeup

Transfer-resistance is key

While transfer is a problem with any makeup, including the one that goes on your face, it’s of particular concern with body makeup. Transfer refers to how much a product rubs off. Because body contouring makeup is often applied in areas that come into contact with clothing, you’ll want to find a transfer-resistant formula so the product stays put.

If possible, start with a base of color

While you can contour winter-pale skin, starting with skin that already has some color on it makes the product blend more smoothly and look more natural. A spray tan can also work, but you should make sure it’s natural and not too orange. While this is more of a consideration on paler skin, most skin tones look best when contouring summer skin that’s seen some sun. If you absolutely must contour pale skin with no color base, apply an allover base color first to help the contour blend smoothly and be sure to pick colors that match your skin’s undertones. It’s also important to note that skin color is not always the same on the face and body. If you can, swatch the contour where you want to apply it, not on your face or wrist.


It’s true on both your face and your body: products glide on more smoothly and evenly on exfoliated skin. Be gentle but thorough. The one difference when contouring your body is that you won’t want to apply moisturizer on the parts of your body you want to contour. A completely oil-free skin surface is best. After exfoliating and drying the skin you want to contour, wipe it down with witch hazel to provide a smooth base.

What to look for in a quality body contouring makeup


If you’re new to body contouring, try a cream-based product first. It’s easier to control and blend, it’s easier to wipe off and start again if you need to, and it’s usually hydrating to the skin. A powder product can look good, but it is more likely to rub off on your clothes.

Two to three shades darker than your skin

To make sure your contouring looks natural, don’t go more than three shades darker than your skin. Contouring is accentuating natural shadow, so picture how your skin’s shadows look and play them up. One common technique of contouring is to apply it along the cleavage line or the line that naturally goes down your belly’s center when you have “six-pack abs.”

Don’t forget to highlight

Contouring is playing with light and shadow. While we tend to focus on the shading part of contouring, highlighting the places where light naturally falls can be equally powerful. To do this, think about how your body parts would look angled up toward a light source.

How much you can expect to spend on a body contouring makeup

On average, expect to pay between $20-$40 on body contouring products. 

Body contouring makeup FAQ

How do I keep body contouring makeup from transferring onto my clothes?

A. Besides making sure to apply your body contouring to clean, dry skin, use a contour product that’s designed for minimum transfer. If it’s in a spot that’s going to come into contact with clothing, consider a setting spray and let it dry thoroughly before getting dressed. 

What kind of applicators work best with body contouring makeup?

A. If you plan to contour your body regularly, it pays to buy a separate contour brush than the one you use for your face since you’ll likely be applying different products. If you’re using a cream, you can also try a sponge applicator, but be sure to start slow so you don’t overapply it.

What are the best body contouring makeups to buy?

Top body contouring makeup

Morphe Glamabronze Face and Body Bronzer

What you need to know: This line comes in a variety of shades, from cool bronze to darker, richer shades.

What you’ll love: Highly blendable and flattering, this contour is specifically designed for the body. 

What you should consider: It’s a pressed powder, so you may need a setting spray to make sure this stays in place near clothing.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Top body contouring makeup for the money

Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Away Bronzing Coconut Body Stick

What you need to know: This creamy formula features five types of coconut ingredients, including coconut oil, for a hydrating, glide-on application.

What you’ll love: In addition to offering transfer-resistant, waterproof color, this bronzer nourishes skin for a silky, healthy feel. It blurs imperfections and smooths skin for a natural glow. 

What you should consider: This can be on the chalky side, so apply to recently moisturized skin to help it go on smoothly. 

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Worth checking out

Dermablend Leg and Body Makeup

What you need to know: This is more of a medical-grade product, designed to cover up body blemishes like varicose veins and scars, but it can be used to contour.

What you’ll love: This is formulated without animal products and is free of triclosan and fragrance, so it won’t clash with perfume or scented lotions. It also comes in an impressive 12 shades.

What you should consider: Because this product is designed to cover blemishes, it’s highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon


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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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