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Contour kits: High-end versus drugstore

By Meagan Pasley

Photos by Ellie Simpson

I’ve spent numerous hours watching videos on how to contour my face but always felt too intimidated to try it for myself. What if I made it too dark? What if I didn’t blend it out enough? I didn’t want to walk around with a dirt looking smudge on my face. However, I finally decided to give in and try out a contour kit.

I was interested in seeing how a drugstore contour kit compared to a high end one to find out if cost really matters. I decided to test out the e.l.f contour kit against the Tarte Pro Glow To Go contour kit. The e.l.f kit retails for $6, while Tarte is $23.


The e.l.f kit contains two powders that can be used under the eyes and a light and dark brown powder to contour with.


The Tarte kit contains two shimmery highlight shades and one brown shade for contouring.


Before I put it on my face I wasn’t expecting much from either contour kit because there was very little pigment when I swatched them. I started with the e.l.f kit and used a dome shaped brush to apply it to the right side of my face.

On the first swipe against my face nothing showed up. I switched to using the darker shade and swirled the brush around multiple times to pick up as much product as possible. Product applied to my face this time, but that’s about all it did. The e.l.f contour kit was hard to apply and went on very patchy. Not the easy first contouring experience I was expecting.


Feeling nervous, I moved on to the Tarte kit. With the first swipe, product easily went on to the brush. This contour powder went on to my face much smoother; I didn’t need to use as much product to make it show. The Tarte powder blended so nicely that I didn’t have to worry about it looking out of place on my face.


If you want to put your money where your cheekbones are, I would recommend the Tarte Pro Glow To Go kit (although the e.l.f kit is a great deal for the price).


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