I’ve got 9 of the best contouring products for pale skin to share with you. When you’re pale, it can be difficult to find the right contour products because it often seems like everything is too dark or too orange. These products are not too dark or too orange. I’ve also got multiple formulas covered, too.
All products are cruelty free and some are vegan.
1. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Crème Colour Concentrate in John Doe
Described as a pale ash-toned taupe. This is a creme product that can be used on the eyes, lips, or cheeks. This is the coolest and lightest of the shades that I have here. I would recommend setting with a translucent powder. I stalked Sephora’s website for weeks, waiting for this to get in stock and when I was notified by email that it was back, I snatched it up. It goes in and out of stock frequently. (vegan)
2. Silk Naturals HD Cream Bronzer in Vegas Vixen
Described as a matte brown. This is a creme product that can be used as a contour or bronzer. It’s the warmest-toned of all the shades I have here. (vegan)
Wearing em Cosmetics Chiaroscuro Stick in Fair
3. em cosmetics Chiaroscuro Stick in Fair
Described as a fair contour shade. I swatched both Fair and Light, so that you could see the difference in the two. Fair is very similar to OCC John Doe. This is a cream stick. It also comes with a highlighting side. I picked this up during one of the em Cosmetics BOGO sales. They’re one of the best products that em Cosmetics makes.
4. NARS Matte Multiple in Altai
Described as a rose bronze. This is a creme product that you can use as a blush or contour. I found it very easy to blend out.
Wearing NARS Matte Multiple in Altai
5. Silk Naturals Blush in Drama
Described as a medium matte neutral brown contour, similar to MAC Emote. This is a loose powder product and it’s the only one I don’t have a swatch for because I can’t find it in my collection. You need to use a light hand with it. (vegan)
6. Too Faced Matte Bronzer in Milk Chocolate Soleil
Described as a matte light brown. It smells like chocolate, too! This is a pressed powder. Definitely use a light hand with this. (vegan)
Wearing NARS Contour Blush Duo in Olympia
7. NARS Contour Blush in Olympia
Described as ivory rose. It’s sort of a peachy brown on me. It comes with an ivory highlighter. It’s a pressed product. I find this to be a very flattering shade on my skintone. I feel it’s a pretty neutral shade on me.
Wearing Pumpkin and Poppy Contour in Oak Bark
8. Pumpkin & Poppy Contouring Powder in Oak Bark
Described as a light cool taupe. This is a loose powder and one of the coolest toned contouring products that I have. (vegan)
Wearing Nyx Blush in Taupe
9. Nyx Blush in Taupe
Described as a matte taupe. This is a pressed powder product. It works pretty well as a contour for me.
While I don’t contour regularly (and I probably should always contour my cheeks and nose so that they’re more defined), I’m happy that I have several options that work for me.
What are your picks for the best contouring products? Are there any other pale skin contouring products I should check out?
Tags: cruelty free, em Michelle Phan, NARS, Nyx, obsessive compulsive cosmetics, pumpkin and poppy, Silk Naturals, Too Faced, vegan
Awesome post. Us fair ladies seem to get the contour/bronzer shaft. It’s great to see all the tried and tested options for fair skin in one blog post. I’m a big fan of NYX blush in Taupe and also Nars Olympia. I recently ordered OCC Cream Colour Concentrate in John Doe and I’m super excited to see how it works for me.
I also have been known to use some basic taupe/light neutral brown eyeshadows to contour with. They work great, but if you use it regularly, your run out pretty quick.
So glad you find this helpful! Yeah it’s just hard to find the right tone when you’re pale.
Great info and swatches! Right now, I’m playing around with Milani’s matte bronzers as contour products. But I love the idea of the em Cosmetics sticks. I will keep my eyes open for a sale and pick up Fair.
Yes, definitely one of my favorites!
I have been using the NYX blush in Taupe as a contour for a long time. It works really well for my fair, not porcelain skin tone. I reserve bronzer for warming up/mimicking a sun kissed glow on the high planes of my face.
Glad you like Taupe too!
I love your makeup in pic 8! Great face! I’ve never even tried contouring, because it already takes me at least half an hour to do my makeup already. I’m so slow.
I have olympia and taupe…now I want that OCC John Doe! I love this collection. It’s such a great guide!
Yay I knew you would like it
THANK YOU. Being pale and trying to get on board with contouring….I definitely needed this. I’ve been considering the splurge on the Nars Olympia duo.
It’s definitely hard to find the right products.
Good to know!
Happy you found it helpful!
Wow! I don’t recall ever seeing you with platinum blond hair. I’e tried the Nars and love how it feels.
It’s a wig Glad you love the NARS!
The many looks of Phyrra!! I would also add Maybelline Fit Me bronzers to this list because all of their shades are pretty sheer but buildable.
If only they were cruelty free!
I’ve been contouring more lately, usually just my cheekbones for daily looks but sometimes I’ll do some face sculpting for more dramatic looks. I don’t understand why there aren’t more products out there specifically for contouring… everything is too shimmery, too orange, blah. My go-to is Faint eyeshadow from my Naked Basics palette. It is more on the golden side but if I apply it lightly and then blend it out with my soft fluffy kabuki, I think it looks okay.
Yeah too orange is definitely an issue i run into
Great post! I haven´t tried any of these products, yet.
Are there any must haves for you?
Great post and I love all the different hair shots!
Aww thanks! I love changing my hair
I just love that picture of you in Oak Bark!
Nice picks! I have just enough color to not be considered pale, but my daughter is very fair so I keep articles like these in mind in case she gets into makeup later on.
Glad you find it helpful
OMG I love you with the blonde!
Great post Phyrra! As a redhead I have searched high and low for contouring/bronzing products that work for my fair skin. I really like how that Nars duo looks in the shot, and I’ve heard good things about it from other pale girls too. I will have to try that one next. I’m currently loving the Pixi bronzer.
Definitely check out Olympia
Awesome post with a great selection
Yay happy to hear you like
When I got color-matched at your Cover FX event, Andrew the MUA suggested I use the medium setting powder as a contour, so maybe that might work for other pale folks, too!
That’s a fabulous idea
really great set of contouring products!
What a great selection!
Glad you like my picks!
I like Oak Bark! I still have yet to swatch those NARS products. They didn’t have any in those shades when I went to Sephora
awww what about nordstrom’s? they usually get them before sephora
Thanks for this post, I’m always looking for bronzers & contouring for pale skin!
they can be tricky to find
Great post. May I also suggest Illamasqua Hollow Cream Pigment? That looks awesome on pale skin, I do use it on clients and it is a nice finish.
Thank you so much for the suggestion! I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.
Admittedly, I don’t know if it’s vegan or cruelty-free, but I’ve been loving Kevyn Aucoin’s Candlelight Duo (it’s a cream contour and highlighter). It is a great true-shadow shade.
Everything I’ve seen indicates that Kevyn Aucion is cruelty free
I would love to try the Milk Chocolate Soleil. I also love the last photo of you, your makeup and hair look perfect!
Thank you so much!
Great post!! Thank you for sharing!!
I love the look of the em cosmetics one. Shame it isn’t vegan
The OCC one is
This post = win. I am interested to try contouring, but my phosphorescent paleness has made me kind of leery! Added to which, the brand selection down here is, uh…not great I’d heard about the Nyx blush before, but not the others…
I sooo feel your pain!
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer and NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium are my favorite to use for contouring in the Summer.
Mattes are definitely nice for contouring
I am about your coloring or a tad bit darker. My favorites are (powder) My Sculpted Face by It Cosmetics and (cream) a customized trio of foundation, contour and highlighter by Giella custom blend cosmetics.
I’ve never heard of these brands, I need to check them out! Thank you!
You know It Cosmetics. They make a contouring/highlighting palette with a variety of browns and a matte and shimmer highlighter. I can actually do my whole face (except lips) with this since it not only contours and highlights it works as eyeshadow, liner and brows.
Wow that sounds like a great product. Yeah I’ve never heard of the Giella
Thank you for this post! Being pale is one reason I’m bad at contouring, because the colors always stand out too much. Good to know there are so many suitable options.
You can also use a foundation that’s a shade or two too dark, in a pinch, too.
This is great for so many people ! People always share stuff for tan skin and but not so much for pale. By the way you look great in every hair shade
Thank you so much Betzy!
I love this post- I’ll have to look into that OCC shade!
I love that it’s perfect for a light / natural contour
I love to personally use L’Oreal True Match Concealer stick to contour and adding NYX Matte Bronzer in Light to set it.
Sounds like a good match for you!
my favorite is the Too Faced Chocolate Soeli
It’s got a great texture and smell
You have gorgeous skin!
Thanks! I often hate it because of my rosacea
I think Laguna would be too dark if Taupe is too dark
Definitely give one of these a go!
I hope one of these works well for you
I am considering getting John Doe to contour with as my skin is extremely fair and I have a strong preference for neutral toned products when it comes to my skin. I had a quick question about another shade in the OCC Crème Colour Concentrate range, Vice (the matte white). Would Vice work as a highlight for someone like me with extremely fair skin?
I can’t seem to find a matte highlight shade that shows up on my skin at all. I wonder if John Doe and Vice would work well together. I have lots of pretty blushes to use with them and I have theBalm’s Mary-Lou Manizer for a bit of shimmer. Would Vice work?
I’m eyeing NARS Olympia – oh my that looks so pretty!!! I love the contour shade! I’m a bit worried the highlight won’t show up though. Will definitely check it out next time I’m at a counter or Sephora though!
i haven’t tried Vice, but it might work. I have used Illamasqua Skin Base Lift in White Light, which is a white concealer, as a concealer and a highlighter and it’s matte. In addition to OCC Vice, the OCC Skin Conceal in R0 or Y0 might work as a highlighter. I love love love the Skin Conceal (and i need to get my review up), and I use Y0 or R0 (depending on my mood), to apply it in a triangle shape under my eyes and along the top of my cheekbone to highlight.
Thank you so, so much for your reply! It’s super helpful! I saw a video you did with Illamasqua Skin Base Lift in White Light and it looked AMAZING. It was part of your post on the Top 10 Cruelty Free Concealing Products. I was so happy to see a matte white product that worked so beautifully to brighten, highlight, and conceal. I would have bought White Light right away but Sephora no longer carries Illamasqua online (so sad!) and ASOS had it but it was OOS (free worldwide shipping on orders of $25USD or more). I definitely want to get White Light from ASOS when it’s restocked.
I also watched the Goss Conceal & Glow video you linked to and thought it was brilliant! I learned so many new techniques from both of you! Thank you!
I was thinking about getting OCC Skin Conceal! I’m not sure which shade to get, R0 or Y0, though I will probably go with R0 as my skin has neutral undertones that lean a bit to the cool side. I currently use NARS Chantilly for concealing and it blends into my skin seamlessly, even if I have no foundation on. Would you recommend R0 or Y0 based on how well Chantilly matches my skin? I’m super excited and looking forward to for your Skin Conceal review!
I think I’m going to try Vice along with John Doe. The more I read about the Creme Color Concentrates the more I want to try them. I was so excited to see shades like Grandma and District in a product that is safe for use in the eye area (and lips and face)! I love OCC.
Sorry this is so long! >.< Thanks so very much for your help!
I’m neutral and sometimes I feel more cool / warm than others. I think I use R0 for under the eyes / cheekbones and Y0 for anywhere else on my face. Chantilly is a great concealer, I have the stick concealer of it and love it.
I hope that you’re able to pick up White Light because I definitely think you’ll lov eit.
You already have my favorite listed- NYX Taupe. I use a fan brush held horizontally and work it in the hollows of my cheekbones, and under my jawline. I generally find bronzers too orange or red for a good contour, and shimmery finishes defeat the purpose of a contour (ie: shimmer catches light & brings forward, contouring should create the illusion of depth). Taupe is the perfect finish and shade for my ultra-fair (Graftobian Lady Fair or Bombshell) neutral toned skin.