Some people are really into contouring, highlighting and generally reshaping the face. Chiseled cheekbones and razor sharp highlights are their thing. Me, well I just don’t care enough to take the time. Enter the Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Stick Trio! I can’t lie, I really only use the “Contour” shade and, if I’m really feeling fancy, the “Bronze,” but – spoiler alert – I am totally in love! For those of us without the patience, time or even real desire to sculpt the face on a day to day basis, these genius little sticks are absolutely wonderful!


So, what exactly is the Contour Stick Trio? It’s a set of three beautifully creamy, easily blended sticks of color in a warm “Bronze” shade, a cooler “Contour” shade and an ivory “Highlight” shade. All of them are matte and allow you to simply draw lines onto the face where the added effect is desired, blend out, and voila! Instant bone structure. 🙂 As I mentioned, I mainly stick to the “Contour” shade and typically just run a quick line under each cheekbone, blend out with a Real Techniques Stippling Brush, and I’m ready to go. It’s so quick and easy and really helps the face to look more “finished.” If I’m feeling really fancy and whip out the “Bronze” shade, I will put a bit on the forehead as well as above the contour line, sometimes along the jawline, and blend as before. Such an easy addition that actually makes a noticeable difference!

L to R: Highlight, Bronze & Contour

I must say that though each shade is quite pigmented and the “Contour” shade looks pretty dark, it works well even on my light skin. However, I feel like the “Highlight” shade is a bit too deep for my skin, so it doesn’t really seem to show up that well for me. I’m going to guess that these shades are aimed at medium-light to medium skin tones, though I’m not 100% certain on that. The more you blend, the less intense the color which means that the seemingly deep-toned little “Contour” stick still works on my light skin! And the blending is quite easy! The sticks are very creamy so they blend very easily, yet somehow seem to stay put. You’re not left with a harsh line, just a soft shadow that looks completely natural. It’s truly wonderful!


Though this set is fantastic, but it does have a few flaws. As hinted at above, it’s not going to work for absolutely everyone. I’m surprised that it doesn’t come in a shade range, but it’s just the one set of colors. It is adaptable and I can certainly use the “Bronze” and “Contour” without issue, but the “Highlight” is pretty useless to me. I’m ok with that since I prefer highlighting with something more reflective anyway, but I would recommend testing these out in person to ensure that the shades will work for you. I really wish each stick were sold individually as well. If I run out of “Bronze” before everything else, I don’t want to have to buy the entire Trio again. Or, more appropriate to my liking, if I just want to contour with it, I want to have the option to buy only the “Contour” stick. But alas, you must buy these as a set…at least for now. The other potential drawback for some would be that you need to sharpen them. Smashbox does give you a sharpened with the set, but if you hate bothering with that step, it’s something to keep in mind. All in all, I really enjoy the ease and convenience of these wonderful little sticks and find it almost worth the $45 price tag. Like I said, I wish they were sold individually as well! If you use all 3 shades, or even just 2, the price seems fair. The option to just buy what you need would make me happier though, and additional shade ranges would also be beneficial. 😉


So that’s it! I apologize for what feels like such a short review, but I’m currently feeling rather ill and I’m trying my best. Besides, I could stand to be a bit more brief most days, and I doubt anyone is disappointed by a quicker read! 😉 I also feel as though I’ve kind of covered the bases here and there’s no need to harp on for hours if the topic is quick and to the point. I hope this review of the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Stick Trio was helpful and I hope to see you again next week for more beauty babble!!! 🙂


1 Comment

  1. Interesting…I’ve just never gotten onto the contouring bandwagon. I see it on some people and it looks amazing, and yet it seems like it takes so much time and effort…so I have just never really invested in the tools to do it! I do think it would be better if you could buy these pencils individually, as you say, because I could definitely see people running out of one pencil sooner than the others. But they do sound like they have a nice consistency.

    Side note, Smashbox must be cleared as animal-friendly? I think the last I heard they were not. I’m excited to see them on your site, I’ve been wanting to try some of their products but wasn’t sure if they were still hanging in the middle on the whole testing/not testing thing.

    I hope you feel better soon! Summer illness is no fun. :/

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