My Favourite Brushes For Contouring

contour brushes 2009

Contouring is something I usually reserve for special occasions.  Mind you, I only stick to defining my cheekbones, anything other than that is beyond my capabilities and in any case I’m not really interested in looking that chiseled!  Most of the time I just want subtle definition and for a non-expert like me the right makeup brushes are a life saver.

From top to bottom first there is the Real Techniques Contour Brush.  This is a part of the Core Collection Set which costs £21.99 and is a great affordable option.  Unfortunately you can’t get it separately which is a shame but then I love all the brushes from this set so it’s a win win in my opinion.  This has a tapered end but is a bit more rounded and is the perfect size for getting the product exactly where you want it.  It also helps that the bristles are really soft with just the right level of density.

Like the Real Techniques Contour Brush, the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush in the middle is also tapered at the end but it is more slim line allowing for even more precision.  This brush picks up just the right amount of product and I love how the handle is cleverly designed to stop it rolling off your dressing table…..genius.  This is definitely a lot more expensive at £35, so it’s not for everyone but it sure looks and feels super luxurious.

Both of these brushes are great as they are multi-purpose – they can be used for contouring other areas of your face, highlighting or even as precision powder brushes, plus blending with them is a breeze.

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Now, when I want to go for that killer cheekbone look then nothing does it better than the Nars Kabuki Artisan Ita Brush.  I purchased this ages ago and yes, there are more affordable options, I know Real Techniques do a similar one in their Bold Metals range but this is what I have and it really does take definition to a whole other level.

The thin rectangular shape means you will get a striped effect to start with but then the key is to blend, blend and blend and I use a separate brush to do this.  I suppose for that reason it does take a bit more work and unlike the Real Techniques and Charlottte Tilbury brush, this one is not multi-purpose as it’s not really practical to use for anything other than defining your cheekbones.  It costs a whopping £43 and although I do like it, it is not a must have.

When it comes to a sensible recommendation I think the Real Techniques Contour Brush is a great all-rounder.  It’s multi-purpose, it does the job very effectively, the quality is great and although it comes as part of a set, all the brushes are fantastic making it great value for money.

So, over to you, what are your favourite brushes for contouring?? x

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  • Ana

    You have a really great set of brushes for contouring. I love the Real Techniques brush. It is beyond perfection!

    • Thanks. I agree the Real Techniques brushes in general are just so lovely x

  • Emily Valentine Parr

    I think that CT contouring brush is PERFECTION. I love the tapered point for precision application. I agree RT is always a great affordable option 🙂

  • Hi! I love my Real Techniques brushes, so good at their job and no shedding. I’m eyeing up the Nars brush you have and not tried CT’s brush or her palette, but love the foundation and shadows.
    Heidi x

    • CT products are just so amazing and this brush and the palette are super luxurious but worth the money x

  • Ahhhhh I still haven’t tried Real Techniques yet – I know, where on earth have I been!? They look so good!

    Layla xx

  • I also love using the RT Contour Brush, as well as the MUA angled brush.. I really want to try the NARS Ita brush, but there are a few dupes I may go for instead! x

    TR’s Thoughts

  • Rajwant Kaur Singh

    I’ve always wondered if the NARS brush is worth it or not!
    Will definitely look into the Real Techniques brush though, great review thanks for sharing

    • I do like the Nars brush but it is ridiculously expensive. Can’t knock the finish it gives though x

  • Thank you for a great post 🙂 All brushes look so good! As for me, my favorite contouring brushes are by RT. Setting brush is for highlighting products and stippling brush is great for contouring cheek bones, sides of the forehead and a nose. But I would like also to have a brush of the same shape like the NARS one, I believe it is great for contouring. Well, looks like it’s never enough when it comes to brushes :)))

    Asian “Beauty Trend” //

    • Thats so true, and it’s always great when you can use a brush for more than one thing or discover a new use for a brush – I’m always doing that xx

  • Emily

    Firstly, I am seriously in love with your photos! I agree with you on the RT brush, though I definitely need to approve my contouring first!

    Musings & More

    • Thanks for your lovely comment. My contouring is far from perfect but having the right brushes definitely helps. x

  • Samantha Frances

    I literally have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to contouring! I’m terrified of putting too much on and looking ridiculous! 🙂 This is really helpful, I’ve been considering getting the Real Techniques set for a while! Great blog 🙂 xxx

    • The Real Techniques set is amazing and I would highly recommend it. In fact, all of their sets / brushes are great xx

  • Tal

    Lovely post as per usual!
    My purse is definitely going to take a bruising because of this post haha xx

    How To Dress for a Fashion Interview

  • Have been tempted to buy the CT sculpting brush for a while now but just haven’t had the courage to splurge yet. My current favourite contouring brush is the Zoeva 109 face paint, which has similar shape and concept to the ITA brush. Love it!

    Renata x
    UD Naked Palette or Anastasia Contour Kit GIVEAWAY

    • The CT one is expensive but worth it – it blends beautifully xx

  • I have a RT contour brush that i absolutely love – it’s the one from their pink set. It’s just the perfect size and shape for my face 🙂 x

    Brenda BusyBee

    • I think i know which one you mean, they re all so great and always good to have in your stash xx

  • Both the Charlotte Tilbury and Real Techniques brushes look so good, can’t wait for Christmas so I can add these to my wishlist!

    Albana Janjeva | Stylist | | Skinnydip London Giveaway

  • I’m just like you, only contour lightly my cheek bones 🙂 I have a contouring brush from Zoeva, a bit similar in shape to the Ita brush< and I love it! x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

    • It’s so good when you find something cheaper and just as good, I guess next time that’ll teach me to do some research but at the same time I do really like this brush xx

  • I have a mini version of the Nars brush from the Tahiti Laguna Palette and I love it, though I don’t think I could spend £43 for the full size brush! I love Real Techniques’ brushes, the quality is amazing considering how cheap they are x

    Amy |

    • I know £43 is super expensive and it’s those ties when they try it out on you and you just can’t resist. xx

  • These look amazing☺☺ Thanks for this post♥♥

  • I really want to get my hands on the Charlotte Tilbury brush! I really like the Real Techniques for a nice, natural contour xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty | High-End Palette Giveaway

    • You can’t go wrong with CT, and it really does what it says xx

  • Amanda Maria

    I’m dying for the Nars Ita brush! its so pricey but everyone says its worth every penny!! Great post 🙂 I love the real techniques brush its amazing!

    • I know it is so pricey and I’m hearing Zoeva have something similar – not seen it myself so perhaps worth checking that out xx

  • I definitely agree with your choice of brushes! I often use the brush that comes with the Benefit blushers. It’s a similar shape to the Nars ITA brush and works well for contouring. I’d love the CT Powder and Sculpt brush too!

    Katya | The Beauty Harbour

    • Oh yes, that’s a good idea to use the Benefit blush brushes xx

  • I love the Ita brush! I really want to get that CT brush at some point, even though it’s very pricey! xx


  • Danielle Beautyblog

    The Charlotte Tilbury brush looks gorgeous! I have a few different ones I use but I always go back to my No7 blush brush, it’s the perfect size for me to contour with!

    Danielle’s Beauty Blog

    • Never tried this one before, No 7 are pretty underrated but I think they do some good brushes, I have crease brush from them and it is so good xx

  • Yeah can’t beat the finish this ones gives xx

  • The Nars brush looks amazing, but I don’t know if I should splurge or just go for a cheaper alternative.. But it’s still in my wishlist 🙂
    Love your blog, new follower! x

    • I purchased this one because i did not know about cheaper alternatives. I don’t regret buying this but I think the others would probably work in the same way xx

  • I’ve been wanting the NARS Kabuki Artisan brush for so long, the shape looks perfect for contouring!!

    Rebecca Coco

    • It really is. It takes a bit more work but once you master the technique it’s great x

  • I use the RT contour brush everyday and love it! I’d love to try something similar to the NARS Ita brush!

  • Kate

    I’m dying to try the NARS Ita brush, but I don’t contour often either, so I can’t justify the price.

    Champagne Daydream

    • I know it is super pricey but i think there are some cheaper alternatives that work in the same way xx

  • trend-mixblog

    These are such cool looking brushes! I love how you photographed everything too. 🙂

  • Agree, you can’t really go wrong with it xx

  • Ha I know what you mean, it takes sooo much blending and if you are not careful it can look very wrong!

  • Every time I do my makeup I’ll add in a bit of contouring but like you I only stick to my cheekbones & try to keep it natural. I love the look of the NARS ITA brush, it’s always been on my radar but so pricey. I have something similar from Zoeva though so I like to use that x

    Beauty with charm

    • It is so pricey but the effect it gives is great and if there is an alternative to it (i just wish i knew at the time ) then go with that xx

  • Athena Politou

    The RT contouring brush is a staple in my kit! I love it for powder and highlighting too, such a good multi-tasker!




  • You picked a product that pretty much everyone I know uses for contouring.. the CT contour and highlight duo! Great product and the brushes are also very very very good!

    Heba xx || The HebaBloglovinInstagram