Pale Girl Problems: The Contouring Struggle is REAL

contouring for pale skin 1

One of my very first (and most viewed) posts is about contouring for pale girls (holla). Since that 2013 post, I feel like contouring has blown up even more and every makeup brand is now offering some sort of contouring kit. I (sadly) have not tried any of those kits because I’m 99.9% sure they are too dark/orange for my pale, pale skin that responds to more of a light brown/grey-toned contouring product. Even though contouring as a trend has blown up, the struggle is still VERY REAL for those of us porcelain princesses to try and find a contouring shade that works for us. I’m not going to tell ya how to contour because everyone else (ahem Kim Kardashian) has already done so, but I will tell you about the new additions that I’ve added to my contour arsenal since my last post. Read on my  vampires for some great contouring options :).

contouring for pale skin makeup brushes 6

Let’s start with the oldies but goodies:

Mac Powder Blush in Taupe Shape – I’ve loved this beauty for years after finding it at a CCO. It’s a perfect “light” contour, lighter than anything I found on the market to date. Sadly, this has been discontinued so if you can find it you should grab it! If not, a suitable substitute is Mac’s Taupe although it is a bit darker than Taupe Shape.

Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow – Hollow (now renamed Hollow Toffee) is  the only cream option of the bunch. Hollow was ridiculously hard to get my hands on previously and now that Sephora no longer carries the brand it may be even harder now. While I wouldn’t bend over backwards to try and get my hands on it now that contouring products are everywhere, it is quite lovely. It looks like a muddy mess in the container but oh the results are so worth it. I particularly like wearing this in the winter and as a “base contour” when I know I’ll be adding a more defined and darker product on top.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Exposed – I’m sure you’ve all either (1) heard the hype or (2) gave into the hype and purchased this bad boy already. For those of you with a normal skin tone, I’m sure this makes a lovely taupe-ish blush. Shout out to my lady vamps who love this for contouring. Now, of the bunch, this is probably my least favorite in tone because it tends to lean pink on my skin but it is the most accessible to purchase. Also, I’ve had this for a couple of years, use it frequently and there’s no sign of the blush wearing out any time soon. I don’t know what Tarte does to these blushes, but they last for-freaking-ever.

Mac Pro Longwear Eyeshadow in Fashion Fix – Now here’s a unique product for ya. I saw this eyeshadow at my local Off 5th CCO counter and knew it would be an amazing contour. This is my attempt to quench my burning desire for the Chanel Notorious grey powder blush that I still kick myself for missing out on. Chanel, will you pretty please bring this baby back? Want and need. This multitasking product, unlike the others, must be used much more carefully because it is a much darker grey/taupe color. I use this as a defining contour and love it.

Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium*The heavens parted and the angels sang* when this product was created.  In comparison to the other products, this one looks much more like a traditional bronzer that would probably not work for the pale girls among us. But behold it is not. It is magical and everyone should get it. RIGHT NOW. This is a game changer. Easily in my top three makeup products of all time (let’s be honest, I don’t really know what would come before it in that list).  This contour is pretty expensive but the pigmentation is so GAH that I think it will last me at least 10 years. Amaze. Gorge. Phenom. Wowza. Get the picture?
contouring for pale skin makeup brushes 5

contouring for pale skin 2 makeup

Now let’s talk tools…

See the images above and below for my favorite product and brush pairings although I do switch them around to suit my needs. Of course you already know of my love for Real Techniques especially the Contour Brush and the Expert Face Brush. I also adore the Sedona Lace brushes (much more than those YouTuber-pushed, shedding POS brushes) in 217 and FB05. The pièce de résistance is definitely the Nars Ita brush which is worth every penny and lives up to the hype surrounding it. Ita is AMAZING and works perfectly with the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder. Honestly though, I love each and every one of these brushes and whole-heartedly recommend all of them. contouring for pale skin makeup 3
A couple of alternatives to the products above…

  • I’ve tried to get my hands on NYX Powder Blush in Taupe for years (okay I haven’t tried all that hard TBH) but it continuously evades me during my weekly trip to Ulta.
  • I’m also VERY interested in Shiro Cosmetic’s Cheekbones Contouring Powder in “Do Your Research” but haven’t yet made the purchase (although I’m very close). I just hate loose powder in any and every makeup product.

I hope this was helpful, my pale sistahs (or mistahs)!

How real is your contour struggle?

Are there any other amazing contour products for us pale girls? I truly want to know – let me know in the comments below!

Check out other posts from the “Pale Girl Problems” series:

BlushConcealer / Contouring / Foundation Matching / Halloween CostumesPros to Being a Pale Girl


26 thoughts on “Pale Girl Problems: The Contouring Struggle is REAL

  1. Hi gorgeous!
    I just read about five of your back posts (nice linking!). If I want to use just ONE contouring product, will that look okay? And if so, which would you pick – the Kevyn Aucoin one? I’d spring for that and the brush, it if looks natural.

    I’m going to BlogHer and I want to look fabulous! I didn’t find any techniques for contouring on your blog – got any recommendations?

    Keep being fabulous, you Pale Porcelain Princess! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hiiiiiii 🙂

      It was quite a link party, wasn’t it? Ha.

      Yep, I usually just use one product and the Kevyn Aucoin is my go-to. It really is worth the money if that’s something you want to do (contour that is). If that’s something you’re like, “ehh, I can take it or leave it” then I would pass and go for Tarte since that’s cheaper and easier to acquire. Nordstrom carries both the Nars Ita and Kevyn Aucoin, so I vote for you to just place a lil online order 🙂

      As for techniques, I try to stay away from that since I’m more of a product junkie than a makeup artist. As for recommendations, I’m a YouTube addict and watch makeup videos all day, err day so there’s no one go-to video for me. Generally, I hit my temples, jawline and I run my brush from the top of my ear above the natural cheek hollow of my face stopping along the vertical line at the edge of my eye. About 2 inches. That makes no sense. Ummmm… How about this: – here’s a video of Jaclyn Hill using the Ita brush. She’s no PPP, but she’s pretty damn fierce.

      I hope that’s helpful! Have so much fun at BlogHer!!! I can’t wait to hear the stories…haha.


    • Pale girls gotta stick together!

      I swatched that palette in store and didn’t mind the lightest contour and lightest highlight shades, but I wish she would offer them individually! I would rather spend a little more money on an individual product that buy a whole palette that I will probably never use. (Speaking to all the contour palettes, here!)

      I’m glad that works for you! Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this so much! Your pale girl posts are what got me hooked on your blog- this ties everything together so well! Have you tried the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil? I’ve had good luck with that – just have to use a REALLY light hand.


  3. Great reviews, even for those not so pale but wanting to look natural! 😉 I think I might be making a purchase… Nars Ita brush looks awesome.


    • OMGeeee. The Kevyn Aucoin would def still work with your skin tone. I’ve even seen it used on much darker skin that yours and it was still GORGE. Nars Ita will change your life. GET IT. I will drive you to the mall myself 🙂

      PS – Did you like all my abbrevs?!


  4. LOVE this post. I don’t really contour because I feel like it makes me face/foundation look much too dark in comparison to my neck, but perhaps a lighter bronzer is in order 🙂


  5. Amazing blog 🙂 I have recently blogged about my newest contouring product I have bought. The smashbox contour stick trio. There’s one colour for all skin shades, however, because of the creamy texture they blend so well so will look good on pale skin. You should check my reviews and product tips on my blog! Seriously, it’s a good product! Lovendu xo


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