In case, after several months spent inside not applying makeup, you need a refresher on what contouring is: It is a cream or powder that you apply in a three shape (along your forehead, cheeks, and jawline) to create the illusion of a more chiseled bone structure. Highlighter is the ying to contour’s yang — while contour should be a few shades darker than your natural skin tone, highlighter should be a few shades lighter, and should be applied to the high points of your face (cheekbones, brow bone, tip of the nose, and cupid’s bow) to create the appearance of lifted, bouncy, and glowing skin.
Since 2017, I’ve loyally used KKW’s Creme Contour — it effectively defines my cheekbones and warms up my complexion. I’ve long loved it’s buttery formula — no matter how much I apply (a touch for daytime, more for night), it makes my cheekbones look naturally well defined.
That being said, I have some long-held grievances with KKW’s product. For one, it’s $30, and generally only lasts me a few months. And while I love the contour side, I’ve never been obsessed with the highlighter — it’s metallic-y, and not the most natural-looking.
I’ve long searched for a replacement. The NYX contour and highlight stick’s price was right, but I had trouble finding a shade that wasn’t too orangey for my complexion. And they discontinued celebrity favorite Dior Light & Contour Sculpting Stick before I could even get my hands on it. But a couple of weeks ago, as I was researching new, indie brands, I stumbled across Uoma Beauty, a brand founded by cosmetic-industry veteran Sharon Chuter (she’s worked with, among others, Revlon, L’Oréal, and Benefit). One of the brand’s best sellers was a two-in-one contour and highlight stick that promised to help “shade, highlight, define, and contour like a pro.” I read tons of rave reviews on Ulta and Influenster — people noted the “insanely creamy” formula and “perfectly dewy” highlight stick — and decided to take the plunge.
This product so quickly replaced my KKW. In fact, it knocks any contour and highlighter stick I’ve ever tried out of the park in terms of adding depth and glow to my complexion. The intensely rich pigment and creamy consistency is similar, if not more blendable, than that of KKW’s — when I apply it with my Fenty Beauty Sculpting Bronzer Brush, it buffs right into the skin, creating a natural bronzy shadow. And, to my delight, the stick’s highlight side is equally as good — dewy and buildable (it reminds me of my Marc Jacobs Glow Stick, a highlighter so versatile and pearlescent that I keep it full-time in my makeup bag). And while it is about $10 more expensive than KKW’s, it comes with about double the amount of product. And since the formula is so richly pigmented, a little goes a long way. I expect it’ll easily last a year, even if I use it daily.
Contour newbies will be pleased to hear that it is also incredibly easy to use. And you can get a lot of different uses out of it. On days when I’m wearing barely any makeup at all, but just want to add a little extra dimension, I use my fingers to gently tap a bit of the contour product along the shadows of my face — it always comes out looking seamless and natural. And on days when I just want a little brightening, I slide the highlight side across my high points for a little extra glow. I’ve recommended this to several of my less-than-savvy makeup friends (including my mom, who has never “contoured” in her life), and they’ve all fallen just as hard as I did.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.