nyx contour stick review

NYX Contour Stick Review

Latest posts by Crystal Schwanke (see all)

I never used to contour my face outside of (very) special occasions, but I’ve been experimenting more and more lately. NYX Contour Stick (or Wonder Stick) looked perfect. I never contour with a dark shade without using a light, usually pearlescent one, too. This product has both. 

Plus, I’ve been a fan of NYX Cosmetics since I discovered them several years ago. I still don’t know how it’s possible to offer that quality at that price point. Over the past year or so, I’ve tried several products designed to help sculpt your face and play up your bone structure. In most cases, they didn’t come in pairs; I just mixed and matched new items with things I already had.

I’m a sucker for convenience, so the NYX Contour Stick stood out. I couldn’t wait to try it.

NYX Contour Stick in Fair
I love that the NYX Contour Stick is dual-ended. The colors looked promising overall, but I gave the light shade the side-eye because it seemed a little too golden for the job. Photo by Crystal Schwanke.

Why I Don’t Like It (But You Might)

I was disappointed. 

The only real complaints I have are:

  • It’s a little orange on me (I’m very fair, and my undertones lean a little cool even though I’d consider them primarily neutral). The overall vibe I get from my face is “pale, glowing orange” but it’s not as over the top as I first thought. I actually think it’s the light shade–not the dark one–that’s more of a problem, but the darker shade gets warmer as you blend it, too.
  • It didn’t last all day. But that could be from trying so hard to blend it in and not using enough in the first place. It just disappeared after a little while, and I wasn’t upset about it. I’d say you can get a good five to six hours out of it. I touch my face a lot, so you might get more wear time than me.

If your skin tone is fair-medium or darker, you might be able to avoid those issues. In that case, I think you’ll love it. It’s creamy, convenient, inexpensive, and easy to get. If the dark shade had been more cool-toned (it looks like it is in the tube, but goes on orange) and the light side a little less yellow, it would’ve been perfect.

Fair NYX Contour Stick
I got the lightest shade, Fair. Photo by Crystal Schwanke.

What the NYX Contour Stick Is All About

In theory, the NYX Contour Stick is the perfect contouring product. If they’d extend their color range to include cooler undertones, at least on the lighter end of the spectrum (it’s all I’ve tried, so I can’t speak for medium and deep ranges), I’d shout about it from the rooftops. Or, you know, maybe an upstairs window. It’s safer that way.

For $14.00 (less if you shop at Ulta and enjoy all their coupons), you get two shades that work together to give you the sculpted look you’re aiming for. There’s a creamy, deeper shade on one end with a natural finish (close to matte, but it feels and looks too creamy to call it that). On the other end, there’s a lighter, pearlescent shade that complements the deeper one. 

It’s a two-in-one product that stands out in a sea of one-or-the-other products. To get the same effect, in most cases, you’ll have to pick the contouring and highlighting shades separately. That approach is more expensive, takes up more room, and could lead to mismatched undertones if you can’t swatch before you buy.

Pairing the shades and offering a creamier finish make this a beginner-friendly option. If you’re a contouring newbie, you will love this thing.

NYX Contour Stick is cruelty-free, vegan, and comes in eight shade combos. 

Pros of the NYX Contour Stick 

  • You get the contour and highlighting shades in the same stick, which is more convenient than juggling, storing, or carrying two different products.
  • It’s inexpensive.
  • The color range is pretty good (eight shades) and should work for most skin tones.
  • The lightest shade is very light, so if the undertones work for you, you might still be able to use it even with fair skin.
  • The effect can be subtle and natural, but you could build it up if you wanted more drama.
  • It’s creamy and pleasant to apply.
  • It blends well.
  • It’s easy to find (you don’t need a department store, Sephora, or to order online to get your hands on it).

What’s Not So Great About It

All of my gripes about this product have to do with my skin tone and how dry my forehead is right now. The NYX Contour Stick is probably as universally flattering as can be, especially with dual-ended options. Fenty Beauty’s color range looks better, but you don’t get the combination of matte and pearlescent shades in one product.

  • If you’re fair-skinned, it’ll probably look orange on you. Maybe not as orange as it looked on me, depending on your undertones. 
  • I found that the highlighting shade brought out the texture in my skin and looked more evident than I would’ve liked. My skin’s on the drier side right now, as the weather’s been cooling off, and I just spent time in a different state where the water didn’t agree with my skin. I could do better with my hydration habits, too.

My Experience and How I Applied It

Oh, I just went for it. 

Though I used a light(ish) touch, both ends of the NYX Contour Stick were creamy and pigmented enough to lay down a good amount of color. I was a little surprised, but I figured I’d blend it all in, and it’d be fine.

Before the NYX Contour Stick in Fair
Here’s the before. I went ahead and applied all my makeup, leaving the contour stick for last. Photo by Crystal Schwanke.

The Dark Side

I applied the darker shade to my temples, hairline, just below the cheekbones, on either side of the bridge of my nose, along my jaw, and under my chin. At this point, it didn’t really look all that orange. That came later, with blending. It looked like a neutral-warm brown. It was a little warmer than I would’ve chosen if there had been other options I thought would be light enough for my fair skin, but I thought I could make it work.

The Light Side

After that, I applied the brighter, yellow-champagne, pearlescent shade. It went along the tops of my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, the middle of my forehead, just above my upper lip, and the middle of my chin. 

NYX Contour Stick before blending
I have to say, it was fun to draw on my face like this. I put the dark shade on areas I wanted to recede and the lighter shade in places I wanted to bring forward. Photo by Crystal Schwanke.

Blending

Once everything was in place, I attempted to use my fingers to blend it in. That didn’t give me the desired effect (still a little streaky, and my skin looked dirty). I used a damp sponge to tap it into place, attempting to meld it with my foundation. That made it look better, mainly because it seemed to tone down the color (and probably removed some). 

The Results

Still, the final result was a glow I didn’t want because it was too orange-bronze for me (maybe it will work if I ever use a sunless tanning product again). When you contour, the shade shouldn’t be so warm-toned, as it’s meant to look like a shadow. Cool browns–even gray-brown–are ideal. Bronzing is different. 

The light, pearlescent shade, which looked more yellow in the tube than on my skin, was okay, but still too warm. I would’ve preferred a pink-champagne shade. I think it my skin looked drier and more textured in some lighting,

too. It never really blended in that well and seemed to just sit on my skin. 

Results of NYX Contour Stick, front view
Here’s how it looked from the front, all blended in. Photo by Crystal Schwanke.
Side view of NYX Contour Stick results in Fair
And here’s the side view. I feel like the deeper shade is still a little more obvious than I’d like, but blending it wasn’t too bad. Photo by Crystal Schwanke.

Who the NYX Contour Stick Is Good For

I hate to keep harping on the orange look, but it’s such a roadblock that keeps me from 100 percent embracing the NYX Contour Stick as the perfect contouring option in all the land. So, if you don’t have fair skin with cool or cool-neutral undertones, this is probably the product your makeup arsenal is missing and so desperately needs.

So who is this good for?

  • Those with light (not fair) to deep skin tones.
  • Beginners.
  • People with any skin type except very dry or very oily. The light shade could highlight the dry patches and show off any texture in those spots, and the creaminess of the product might not be the best match with very oily skin. 
  • People who like keeping their makeup products in a small pouch (it takes up less room).
  • People who love budget-friendly makeup gems.
  • People with makeup collections so extensive, they love it when they can reach in and pull out two products in one and save time. No need to spend time looking for a complementary shade!

Where to Buy It

I picked my NYX Contour Stick up at Ulta. You can get it online or in the stores. 

NYXCosmetics.com is the way you can get it straight from the source if stores near you don’t carry it.

Beauty supply stores, drugstores, Target, and Walmart also carry NYX Cosmetics.

Other Contouring Options to Try

As impressive as the NYX Contour Stick–Wonder Stick Cream Highlight & Contour Stick–is, it’s not for everyone. Here are some options you may love instead:

#01 NYX Highlight and Contour Palette

NYX Highlight and Contour Palette

This option is also from the NYX line and still somewhat affordable ($25.00), but instead of two shades, you get eight. An individual would rarely need that many shades for their skin, but it allows for combining shades to get the perfect color. It’s also handy if you tan during some months of the year and need different shades to address that–or you might find your ideal bronzer in the mix. 

#02 Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick and Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick

The color range on these makes me happy. It truly does look like there’s something for everyone, and you can mix and match them as you’d like (some people may prefer this, while others may not).

The thing that I don’t like is the price. You have to pay almost $30.00 each–that’s much more than the price of NYX Wonder Stick. You’re getting more product, yes, but if you’re just experimenting with shades and contouring, that big jump in price might be hard to swallow.

I’d certainly rather try a $14.00 product with less product than spend $60.00 on more product when I’m not even sure I love it–or the effect it’s supposed to give–yet. 

It’s more to carry around or store, too.

#03 Wet n Wild MegaGlo Dual-Ended Contour Stick

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Dual-Ended Contour Stick

Wet n Wild became a significant part of my makeup collection when I was a broke college student. I never gave it up, even when I became obsessed with high-end brands and stopped considering most drugstore makeup. Like NYX, it’s one of those hidden gems in drugstore makeup. The products tend to perform well for a fraction of the cost of other options.

This MegaGlo Dual-Ended Contour Stick is similar to the NYX Wonder Stick. The two colors are paired up for you in one convenient stick, costing less than $10.00. You should be able to find it almost anywhere, from drugstores to Target and Walmart. The drawback with this one? It only comes in two shades: Light/Medium and Medium/Tan. If those don’t work for you, you’re out of luck. I’m betting many people at the lighter and darker ends of the spectrum can’t use it.

FAQs

Question: Which contour stick is the best?

Answer: The NYX Contour Stick is good as long as you don’t have fair skin. Other standout options are: Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour & Highlight Sticks, Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick, and UOMA Beauty Double Take Contour Stick.  

Question: How do you contour with the NYX Wonder Stick?

Answer: The idea is to add the darker shade to the areas you want to recede and the lighter shade to the spots you want to stand out. The easiest way to visualize this is to think of playing up your cheekbones–the dark shade goes underneath to create the illusion of a shadow. In contrast, the lighter shade goes along the tops to bring them out more.
Start with the darker of the two shades, applying directly to your skin. Draw along your hairline, down your temples, just underneath the cheekbones, along the bottom edge of the jaw, and down either side of the bridge of your nose. 
Then apply the lighter shade along the tops of your cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, in the middle of the forehead, above the upper lip (in the center only), and in the middle of your chin. 

Question: What contour stick is good for fair skin?

Answer: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick has my vote for now, but I wish it was dual-ended like the NYX contour stick. Buying two shades is expensive, plus they take up more space in your makeup bag.

Question: Do you put a contour stick on before or after foundation?

Answer: I’ve always put it on after my foundation. If you find that yours looks too intense, you could try applying it under foundation and then use a makeup sponge to blend everything together. In most cases, it’s best to wait until you’re done with your foundation and concealer to apply the contour sticks and highlighting products.

NYX Contour Stick Review: Final Thoughts

You just might! If the color wasn’t too orange for me, I’d list this in my top 20 makeup products of all time, and I’ve tried thousands of products over the years. If your skin tone is at least fair-medium, there’s probably a shade in the line that will work for you. 

I will tentatively recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have skin as light as mine because it’s such a good product in all other ways, from price to application and blendability. 

If you have fair skin, especially if you have cool undertones, you’ll probably want to stay away and look to other options. In a pinch, you could even look to eyeshadows (powder or cream) to get the range of shades you might need. I’ve done that before.

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