We’ve all seen perfectly contoured faces and marveled at their beauty. How do you get such amazingly defined cheekbones? It’s impossible for someone’s face to look so sculpted! Can I achieve this look too?
YES, YOU CAN, KUTIE! Contouring is no longer a technique just for celebrity makeup artists. It’s easy for anyone to define their features and sculpt their face and jaw. As long as you know your face shape, pick the right products, contour shade, and contour palettes, and follow the application steps, you’ll be a contouring pro in no time!
Benefits of Contouring
Contouring is a makeup technique designed to add dimension to your face and sculpt your natural bone structure. It can help slim down your face by contouring the cheekbones and add depth to the eyes by contouring the eye crease. You can also slim the appearance of your nose and sculpt your jawbone to help chisel your jaw and add definition to your whole face.
When it first started, contouring meant lots of products slathered onto someone’s face. Sometimes the final result looked like a totally different person! Luckily, contouring has changed and it’s possible to have a more natural skin tone appearance while still achieving the definition of contouring.
The main ideas of contouring are to apply a darker shade to areas you wish to add more depth, such as your cheekbones, jawline, and sides of the nose. You will use a lighter shade on areas you wish to diminish or conceal, such as chin, middle of the forehead, and bridge of the nose.
Gather Your Products
The best way to rock your contour look is to make sure you pick the right products. Because contouring involves using different colors to highlight and sculpt the appearance of certain parts of your face, it’s important to pick the right shades for your skin tone. You’ll be picking products slightly darker and lighter than your usual shade, so set these aside in a special contouring section of your makeup drawer.
Your bronzer will be used to enhance the angles of your face so pick a shade two shades darker than your skin tone. You want the bronzer to be dark enough to create definition, but not so dark that it looks like mud is on your skin. Test a few options to determine what fits best, and choose between cream contour or powder contour.
Concealer or Highlighter
The other item you will need for contouring is a lighter shade product, either a concealer or a highlighter. If choosing a concealer, pick one that is one or two shades lighter than your normal skin tone. It might seem jarring at first, but everything will be blended together smoothly so it won’t stand out too much.
Highlighter is perfect for the inner corners of your eyes, your cupid’s bow, and a small dab in the middle of your forehead.
If you’re overwhelmed by picking the right shades, consider purchasing a set such as Kaja Beauty’s Play Bento set, that will include everything for you. Contour sets will include everything you need in coordinated colors to make your contour dreams a smooth reality!
Do You Know Your Face Shape?
The purpose of contouring is to create definition and structure for your face, so it makes sense that contouring will be different for each face shape. Different face shapes have different bone structures and areas that need highlighting, so make sure you follow instructions for your face shape.
If you don’t already know your face shape, there are some easy ways to determine which shape applies to you. Look in the mirror and have something easily accessible to measure your face and follow these steps:
- Your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline will need to be measured so jot down the width of these areas.
- Also measure your hairline to the tip of your chin so you know the length of your face.
- Determine which areas of your face look soft or rounded versus sharper and more angular.
- We want to know how each facial part compares to each other, so take a look and see which parts are wider or longer than the others.
If the length and width of your face are similar in appearance or measurement, you might have a round face. Also check to see if the cheeks are the fullest part of your body and your jawline and hairline appear rounded, rather than angular.
With a round face, you might want to create shadows with your contouring. Determine where the hollows of your cheeks are by sucking in your face. Your bronzer should be applied slightly higher than the hollows and blended upward to help sculpt your cheekbones. Also be sure to apply bronzer down your jawline, which will help create more angles to your face.
If your forehead and cheeks are wider than your chin, you might have a heart-shaped face. Your prominent cheekbones and narrow chin mean you don’t need a lot of contouring thanks to your great angles! You can chisel your cheekbones a little more and can also apply bronzer along your temples.
A square face shape will have a similar face length and width, making your face look square. Your jawline and hairline are also more straight rather than rounded, which enhances the square appearance.
The strong angles of your square face will mean you will want to soften your features with a highlighter. Use your concealer or highlighter on the high points of your face (brow bones, tops of cheekbones, and tip of nose). Because you already have strong angles, you will not need any or much bronzer to contour, but you can apply any to areas you want to define.
An oval face shape also has cheeks that are the widest part of the face, but unlike round faces, the face is longer than it is wide. If your chin and forehead appear narrow, you probably have an oval face shape. Your hairline, cheek hollows, and just below your chin should be the focus of your bronzer with this face shape.
Blend Your Colors
Now that you’ve followed your face shape to pick the areas to add bronzer and highlighter, you might be a little alarmed when you look in the mirror! Surely this mish-mash of different colors isn’t right! Worry not, Kutie! Once you blend everything together with your sponge or brush you’ll be rocking that chiseled look in no time.
Gently wet a beauty sponge to prepare for blending. Use that sponge to create small, circular motions along the lines where your bronzer and highlighter meet. These circles should help blend everything together, as well as blend it into your foundation.
Keep blending until the lines look seamless. Although you will still see the difference in colors in order to highlight certain areas, it should seem like a smooth transition. If the lines look too harsh, or too sharply divided, keep blending.
If the contoured and highlighted areas still aren’t blending into your foundation well, it’s possible you picked a bronzer too dark and a concealer too light for your skin tone. Consider trying with a new color to see if that blends better, or opt for pre-picked contour kits or a contour palette.
Set & Spray
Once your contour work is complete, you want to make sure to preserve it so the look lasts all day! There are two options to complete your look: setting powder or setting spray.
Setting powders and setting sprays will give you a sheer finish to make sure your contour shines. If you have a dry skin type, consider using a setting spray to get some extra moisture into your skin. Setting powder works well on oily skin to ensure that your skin keeps a matte finish and doesn’t get too shiny or show too much texture.
Final Tips & Tricks
We’ve gone through all the important steps on how to contour based on your face shape, but here are some final tips to keep in mind.
- Don’t go overboard with the highlighter or concealer. Too much highlighter can leave you shiny, and too much light concealer can wash you out.
- Likewise, limit the bronzer to the areas you want to contour. Too much bronzer and you’ll look like you have a spray tan…. But only on your face!
- Make sure you apply your foundation first! Although it seems like contouring will cover your face, it’s meant to sculpt and define parts of your face only. Foundation will still help even out your skin tone and hide any blemishes.
- Before you apply your foundation, don’t skip the primer!
Wrapping It Up
Are you feeling glamorous yet? You certainly look chiseled and sculpted! Contouring used to be an art form saved for the most expert of makeup artists, but hopefully, now you realize how simple it can be.
Picking the right products in the right shade can be the most important step. Once you’ve done that, identify your face shape and choose the areas you want to contour and highlight. Blend everything together, and set it to finish and you’re done! Have fun contouring, Kutie!
How To Finally Master Contouring In 4 Easy Steps | Elle
A Guide To Determining Your Face Shape | Cosmopolitan
How To Contour For Your Face Shape | Allure