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9 Best Contouring Products for Pale Skin

9 Best Contouring Products for Pale Skin

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.

Pr + purchased by me.

9 Best Contouring Products for Pale Skin

If you love defining your cheeks check out my step-by-step Pale Girl’s Guide to Contouring and  Pale Girl’s Guide to Highlighting!

9 Best Contouring Products for Pale Skin

All products are cruelty free and some are vegan.

OCC John Doe, em Cosmetics Chiaroscuro Fair, Light, Silk Naturals Vegas Vixen, Swatch
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
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.

NARS Altai, Silk Naturals Vegas Vixen, OCC John Doe, em Cosmetics Fair Swatch

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
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)

Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soliel, NARS Olympia, Pumpkin n Poppy Oak Bark, Nyx Taupe, swatch

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)

NARS Olympia Contour Blush Review Swatches
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 Oak Bark Contour
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 Taupe Blush
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.

Neutral Toned

Cool Toned

Warm Toned

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.

See the 2016 Best Contouring Products for Pale Skin!

Looking for more? Check out

What are your picks for the best contouring products? Are there any other pale skin contouring products I should check out?



  • Is nyx taupe shimmery? Cuz many contour powder/blush products have glitter or shimmer in it. I’m looking for something without any shimmer

  • I love the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer and Hoola by Benefit. I use a light hand with both. A great one to check out is The Hamptons by Serenity+Scott. It’s technically a blush but works great as a contour for us fair skinned gals.

  • Thank you!!! I needed this. My skin is so pale.. and I need to work on my contouring skills.

  • I would love to get either the Too Faced Matte Bronzer in Milk Chocolate Soleil or the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette.

  • I have heard about Nyx taupe. I definitely need to get this! 🙂 Thanks! Oh, and you so cute! You have so much flair, and you are beautiful!

  • You look beautiful in the red wig!! any chance for you to review the coverfx custom drop soon?

  • I love NYX taupe. It is so inexpensive and easy to use. It am not as fair as you but I am definitely a fair person so it is great. I remember the first time I used bronzer it was from the first UD Naked Flushed palette and it looked so orange on me! They should have a disclaimer – Don’t use this if you are fair! It doesn’t matter if it is for contour or just plain bronzer – it’s so warm.

  • Great article-I think I’m going to try NYX taupe. I’m very pale, & there isn’t tons of info about contouring for pale skin, & not many products either. Most stuff on me is too orangey & too warm toned, or looks like I have dirt on my face. For the time being I’ve been mixing shades I have in a Coastal Scents 88 palette, but the thing is with those is that each shade is pretty tiny, so I’m almost out, & IMO, the eyeshadow in the big palettes isn’t the same as the hot pots, so it’s not like I can just find the equivalent. So I think I will try the NYX one. I did see a video of a girl using Maybelline color tattoo Tough as Taupe as a contour product, used in conjunction with a warmer bronzer. Tough as Taupe definitely is cool toned from photos I’ve seen of it, but my concern is how easy it’ll be for me to blend it on my cheeks. For only being $7 though, I should just try it, since if it doesn’t work on me for that purpose I can always use it as an eyeshadow base.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I love to personally use L’Oreal True Match Concealer stick to contour and adding NYX Matte Bronzer in Light to set it.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

      • 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.

  • Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer and NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium are my favorite to use for contouring in the Summer.

  • 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 would love to try the Milk Chocolate Soleil. I also love the last photo of you, your makeup and hair look perfect!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Thanks for this post, I’m always looking for bronzers & contouring for pale skin!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Wow! I don’t recall ever seeing you with platinum blond hair. I’e tried the Nars and love how it feels.

  • 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.

  • I have olympia and taupe…now I want that OCC John Doe! I love this collection. It’s such a great guide!

  • I have tried NYX Taupe and TF Milk Chocolate Soleil. Neither one worked that well, so I’m thinking of getting the elf contour palette just to see if that works for me. I have also tried Benefit Dallas but it was WAY too dark. I hear NARS Laguna and Benefit Hoola work pretty well, but I’ve already spent enough trying to get good contour products.

  • 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 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. 🙂

  • I love this post! I’m not exactly fair-toned, but I’m really not dark, either. I’m somewhere in-between and I was all but ready to give up trying to contour. I was about to pick up the new NARS contouring blush, but I decided to put it down at the last minute because I’ve been a little down about contouring, feeling like nothing sits on my face well (my skin has been drastically changing over the last eight months and I’m just trying to get used to it), but you make it look great and so do-able for lighter skin. Even though I”m a few shades darker than you, I’m now re-inspired to try contouring again. My skin has evened out a lot now that we’re past the dry winter days, so I’m going to check out these products and see which one will work best 🙂

  • 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.

  • This is great! I’ve hit major pan on my NYX Taupe, so I was wondering what to try next.

  • 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.

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