I’ll be honest: When it comes to makeup, I’m not loyal. Testing hundreds of products a month has a way of making me feel like Up‘s Dug the dog surrounded by squirrels — so much to try, so little time. The two things I pledge allegiance to are specific brow and contour products since it’s not easy to find ones that match my coloring. And ever since I pulled the plug on Westman Atelier’s Face Trace Contour Stick, I’ve been astounded by the difference it makes.
Considering the brand’s fanbase, I probably shouldn’t be as shocked as I am. Jennifer Garner is a fan of its foundation stick, and as founder, expert makeup artist Gucci Westman has handled the faces of Jennifer Aniston, Julianne Moore, Anne Hathaway, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Demi Moore, and Martha Stewart (a prestigious list to rival Augustinus Bader’s, which is saying something).
As Stewart mentioned while sitting down with Westman in 2020, she uses the contour stick to define her eyes — a trick she says “looks so good.” I haven’t tried it that way yet, but every time I wear makeup, I swipe the medium taupe chubby stick in “biscuit” in the hollows of my cheeks and around the perimeter of my face (below the tip of my nose, too, on insecure days). If an Etch A Sketch for cheekbones exists, it’s this $48 stick.
This isn’t my first dance with contour products, but ever since learning about the trace amounts of asbestos that can contaminate talc-based products, I’ve been on the hunt for a clean formula in the cool, almost-gray shade that looks most realistic on my fair skin. The Face Trace Contour Stick checks both boxes (and now comes in two deeper colors), and now I can’t picture life without it.
Using it is ridiculously easy, something older reviewers at Credo Beauty seconded; to quote one 64-year-old, “You can teach an old dog new tricks.” Thanks to the cream format, I just smear a bit in the spaces I’d like to look more defined and blend it out with my finger or any makeup brush I have on hand. A fan in the 55+ age range dubbed it “instant cheekbones,” and they’re entirely correct — it makes mine look like they could cut glass.
No less important is that it doesn’t migrate to my face mask, which actually is surprising, considering how skincare-centric the formula is: It boasts jojoba oil, raspberry cell culture, and vitamins C and E along with oil-absorbing kaolin clay. Even if it didn’t have those additions, though, I’d love this stick with my entire heart — and I’m not alone. The packaging “feels expensive in your hand,” a different reviewer noted (probably because it is expensive). But between the non-drying formula, ease of use, and outsized effect the contour stick has on my confidence, I can’t begrudge the price tag.