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In order to help you shape your face and compliment your natural radiance, we’ve gathered and reviewed 5 of the best drugstore bronzer for contouring. These products made our list thanks to their ability to provide a smooth and barely-there professional finish. We believe these products will be secret weapons in your beauty arsenal.

There is a very fragile, tricky line between Bronzing and Contouring and this seems to confuse a lot of people.

There are a lot of articles and even tutorial videos that can serve to explain these techniques.

However, since we strive to be of your assistance and professional guidance through the maze of beauty care, we are here to help.

That’s why we have also listed the best bronzers to use as a contour for your face. We hope that this way, you can step up your makeup game.


Quick Overview: Our Top Picks of the Best Drugstore Bronzers for Contouring

Our first pick for the best drugstore bronzer for contouring is The Balm Bahama Mama. We appreciate that it makes use of both Silica and Dimethicone. The first one can help to provide a long-lasting matte finish. As to Dimethicone, we love how it can assist to smooth the skin and keep any greasy residue away.

Our second-best pick is the Sleek Makeup Face Contour Kit. We were impressed with the combination of two shades. We find them suitable for contouring, as they can be easily mixed up to compliment the skin tone. Furthermore, we could choose between a subtle bronze effect or a contour.  

The third product on our list is the Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer. One of the features that caught our attention is that it can be suitable for all skin types. The inclusion of Murumuru Seed butter can contribute restoring the skin’s elasticity and thus diminish the signs of aging.

The fourth bronzer is the E.L.F Sun-kissed Glow Bronzer. With added Vitamin E, we find this bronzer easy to use to contour the face. We also noticed it could blend very well on the skin and give a smooth finish.

The fifth best bronzer for our selection is the Maybelline Mineral Power Bronzer. Due to the absence of Talc to its formulation, we believe it can benefit those who struggle with acne-prone conditions. The presence of Aloe vera extract can further help to soothe and calm the skin.


Bronzing helps mimic a sun-kissed effect, illuminating and bringing highlight to the face.

Most bronzers have a bit of shimmer, and usually, it is applied on the forehead, on top of the cheekbones, and jawline.

Regarding brushes, typically a big fluffy brush is used to blend the product in neatly and have that natural finish to it.

Bigger brushes even out the distribution of the product on the face.

Most bronzer products have a bit of tint to them, so you have to choose accordingly to your skin tone.


On the other hand, contouring is used to sculpt the face and make the features pop out. That serves to give the face a strong definition as opposed to bronzing (source)

It gives the illusion of a shadow on the areas of your face that you want to hide. These areas are the same zones where you apply a bronzer.

These include the forehead, the cheekbones, the sides of the nose, and the jawline. That is done to sculpt the face and make it slimmer.

Contouring often makes use of a thin and more accurate brush. That is to concentrate more on the area being contoured and to make sure the product stays only there (source).

Most contour products are matte since we do not want the attention to go on the shimmery side. It’s completely the opposite since we aim to lift the face naturally.

Where To Apply A Bronzer And A Contour

Bronzers are usually applied on top of the cheekbones where the sun naturally hits the face. However, contour powders have to accentuate the zone under your cheekbones.

Most often, when contouring, it is advised to do a “fish face” by sucking in the air. By doing so, your cheeks will deflate, and you will see the underside of your cheekbones (source).

When applying the bronzer on top of your cheekbones, it gives you that flushed look. It has a more natural and soft finish that we can wear every day.

But when contouring under, you are giving the illusion that your cheekbones are popping out while the underside of it is being hidden.

How To Contour With A Bronzer

In order to contour well, you will need to find a matte bronzer that is roughly two to three shades darker than your skin tone (source).

Remember that you are mimicking a shadow to hide bits of your face and not to pop it out.

We recommend on using two brushes for this tutorial as you are using both techniques: an angled contour brush and a big, fluffy powder brush such as a kabuki brush will do.

When you have all these, you can start to contour by following the steps below (source).

Step 1: Start by mapping out your face. With the contour brush, coat the ends of the brush and lightly stroke the areas of the face that need contouring: around your hairline, under your cheekbones, and jawline.

For cheekbones, we recommend using the angle of your ear that goes down the cheek. You can also suck in air and do the “fish lips.” 

Make sure to stop two fingers away from the side of your lips. So, you can use your pointer and middle finger to place them on the side of your lips and mark where you should end.

Sometimes, the neck needs contouring too, but this optional and can be done under your judgment.

Include the sides of your nose to make it slimmer and narrow. 

Step 2: Still, with the contour brush, start blending out the product with light strokes. Keep doing this until the product has melted onto your skin.

When the streaks are getting less intense, you can continue blending out using a powder blush. That is to make the shading a bit more natural.

Step 3: You can add highlighter or blush if you wish, but it is also good to set your makeup with a translucent powder for a clean finish.

Another option is to try a setting spray. It can help settle the makeup for the whole day.

And when it comes to contouring, we find it extremely helpful.

Product Reviews: Our Top Five Choices of the Best Drugstore Bronzers for Contouring

The absolute winner for our compilation is the Balm Bahama Mama. We like that this product has a matte finish and has a suitable undertone for contouring.

It is free of the unnecessary orange tints that can ruin the subtleness of the effect and make it look artificial.

It contains Mica, a non-toxic mineral ingredient that is gentle on skin. Upon testing it, we love how it can help to define the features of the face.

There is no added sheen or sparkle, and it lasts throughout the day. We noticed that we could use only a small amount at a time as it is very pigmented.

It easily blends onto the skin without any issues. Also, we find this bronzer can be gentle to use even on sensitive skin as it does not contain talc.

What we didn’t like about the product is that it might get loose easily. When coating your brush, it tends to have too much product stuck on it, and you would have to tap a lot of excess powder.

What We Liked:

  • Talc-free
  • Gentle on skin

What We Didn't Like:

  • Requires a dry base for best application

Our second favorite pick is the Sleek Makeup Face Contour Kit. One of the things that caught our attention is that it comes in two shades.

The one is matte and darker for contouring and bronzing while the other can be used for some added shimmer.

The powder is a very pigmented bronzer and may appear dark, but it is actually very buildable. Thus, putting on the skin is easy.

We also find it long-wearing and suitable to use on a regular basis. From our personal experience, we recommend you to use a small amount of the product since a little goes a long way.

Also, because it comes in a pressed powder form, it can last for a long time depending on use.

It also does not have an orange tint to it. And since there are two shades to choose from, you can prefer a lighter or darker nuance of bronze depending on the skin tone.

What we didn’t like is that it tends to look muddy if you do not blend it well. We advise you to try light strokes whenever you are applying it.

This product may not work for dark skin, so if you're looking for a good bronzer for dark skin, you can check out this guide.

What We Liked:

  • Matte finish
  • No orange tints

What We Didn't Like:

  • Might not be suitable for dark complexion

The Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer is our third choice for the best drugstore bronzer for contouring.

After trying it out, we concluded that it could be used both for contouring and bronzing the face. But more importantly, we like how it can nourish and moisturize the skin.

We also appreciate that it is hypoallergenic. Thus, people who have sensitive skin might find this a suitable match.

It is infused with Murumuru Butter which is basically Palm Butter. This ingredient is used as a moisturizer and can soften skin. It also has a very smooth and slightly creamy texture.

Another feature that we appreciate is that the product is formulated as non-comedogenic.

That can benefit people who struggle with acne-prone conditions, as it limits the chances for breakouts.

Upon testing it , we did not look greasy after application. It can be worn alone or over makeup as it gives a beautiful tan-like glow. It is very buildable and blends well.

What we did not like about the product is that it has a subtle orange tint to it. Another feature that we do not like is that it has a strong scent.

What We Liked:

  • Prevents shine on the face
  • Easy to blend

What We Didn't Like:

  • Overwhelming scent
  • Has an orange tint

The fourth place on our list is conquered by the E.L.F Sun-kissed Glow Bronzer. We love the implement of Vitamin E to its formulation.

This Vitamin is known for its tissue restorative properties. It can help to speed up cell reproduction, thus inhibiting the synthesis of collagen.

There are two shades that we could choose from depending on the skin tone. We also like that it blends very well.

We do not find it very pigmented, so we recommend applying a second layer on top of the contoured area.

One of the features that we do not like about this bronzer is that it does not show up very well once you are outside or under natural light. Again, we recommend layering the product.

Another feature that we consider a downside is that there is a bit of an orange side to it. It also tends to wear off rather quickly instead of staying on throughout the day.

What We Liked:

  • Buildable
  • Easy to wash off

What We Didn't Like:

  • Contains shimmer
  • Not too noticeable

Finally, we have the Maybelline Mineral Power Bronzer that landed on our fifth position. We enjoy that this bronzer has micro minerals that allow the product to glide onto the skin smoothly.

Thus, we did not notice any patchy blots. It is also very pigmented, showcasing a rich, bronze color.

We appreciate that it is free from talc, which can make it suitable for people who fight with acne. Another significant plus is that it is very buildable.

Among its active ingredients, we were impressed with the fusion of Aloe Vera leaf juice, and Chamomile Flower extract.

It comes in a loose powder form, which may be a bit difficult to control especially when coating the brush. You may need to take some time to tap away the excess.

What we also did not like about the product is that it was a bit hard to blend in. We recommend light strokes and using only a minimal amount at a time.

What We Liked:

  • Easy to even out
  • Isn’t cakey

What We Didn't Like:

  • Loose powder may be difficult to control
  • Contains glitter

The Bottom Line

Bronzing and Contouring are both different techniques. However, both of them serve to help enhance our natural beauty.

We believe that the key to making our look more authentic is to blend the product as much as possible. After all, these methods are easy to implement, as long as you have the will to learn.

Our top choice for the best drugstore bronzer for contouring is The Balm Bahama Mama.

We found that this particular product combines the best of both worlds and it can give an intense sun-kissed look.

We also love that it is gentle to use every day, and we approve the combination of active ingredients.

Unlike most bronzers, it does not contain talc. Instead, it contains Mica which is a non-toxic compound which can make it suitable for acne prone or sensitive skin types.

However, we do believe that all of the five product that made it to our list can be beneficial for various conditions and issues.

If you have fair skin, you can read our top bronzers for pale skin here.

And if you possess an attractive chocolate skin, you may want to check out these bronzers.

The Best Drugstore Bronzer For Contouring

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