Contouring is a widely used fundamental technique used by makeup artists and beauticians. The idea of contouring is for primarily amplifying the facial features with their already existing qualities or adding onto them with modifications using various contours. The practice of contouring has been around for many years and has adapted to become a versatile technique that even complete beginners can learn and execute.
- Face Contours
- How to Contour Your Face (Step-by-Step Guide)
- How to Contour Your Face According to Face Shape
- Make-up Tools for Contouring
The practice of contouring includes countless methods from adding definition to the jawline to increasing definition on the cheekbones, and virtually anything related to enhancing facial features using makeup. Although contouring faces can seem intimidating and complex at first, the practice is surprisingly easy to understand and carry out, especially if you already know what look you are trying to achieve. For a fun and easy face contouring process, this article provides the key details and tools required for contouring, starting with the following step-by-step guide on how to contour your face.
How to Contour Your Face (Step-by-Step Guide)
Contouring is made easy with these five simple steps, with each step going into detail without any fancy or complex procedures.
Step #1: Apply Initial Foundation and Primer
The first step in contouring the face begins with an initial application of the primer, moisturizer, and foundation that can either be liquid or powder depending on the natural skin type and personal preference. Applying the foundation is usually done with a brush or makeup sponge, which makes it easier to accurately incorporate the right amounts throughout the proper areas. Consider using a setting or finishing powder for powder foundations.
Step #2: Start Contouring Face at the Forehead
For complete beginners to contouring, powder contours are the best way to start, especially since it is the easiest with a contour brush. If you have trouble picking out a contour brush to use, slanted brushes with soft and angled bristles prove to be the most versatile for precise, clean, and easy contouring. Start contouring by gently brushing contour beside the hairline, which will evenly blend the powder towards just before the middle forehead. Ensure that the contour on the forehead results in a well-balanced and evenly-distributed product throughout.
Step #3: Contour the Jaw and Cheekbones
Following the contouring of the hairline, the forehead section should be well-evened and blended before proceeding to the jaws and cheekbones. For locating your cheekbones, they are indentations found somewhere between the line from below your nostril to your ears. Lightly contour the indentation section just below the cheekbones to give it definition and exposure. In contouring the cheekbones, stroke the brush in an inwards pattern toward the face and back outwards. After the cheekbones are contoured and appropriately blended, then apply the finishing touches by contouring the section below the jawline starting from just under the ears and towards the chin. Considering all the steps were followed, the jawline contour should resemble a shape looking like a three.
Step #4: Nose contouring (Optional)
Although this step is entirely optional, contouring the nose can add some decent extra features to the contoured face and overall routine. In contouring the nose, use a highlighter to outline the nose bridge for added definition. Next, line both sides of the highlights with two contour streaks each, including the nose sides, for a smooth and well-blended look.
Step #5: Finish Contouring Face with Highlighter
Finally, the contouring needs a finishing touch from bronzer and highlights. The bronzer is especially helpful in polishing the overall look with a sun-kissed and gleaming glow. This works wonders in making the skin look healthier and rejuvenated. The combination of highlights and bronzer synergize to accentuate and complete the features for a further sculpted appeal.
How to Contour Your Face According to Face Shape
Face shapes differ from person to person, meaning the methods on how to contour your face can also slightly vary. Since contouring aims to emphasize or add onto existing facial features, faces are contoured depending on what their face shape is lacking or already has.
1. Diamond Face Shape
Diamond-shaped faces tend to come with wider cheeks and narrower chins and hairlines. The diamond shape gives a naturally longer face while emphasizing the wide cheeks.
Contouring faces in a diamond-like shape begin at the cheeks where there are hollow indentations from the cheekbones. In applying contour, line the cheeks with contouring starting from the base of the cheekbones just below the ears, and brush towards the center of the face while using the hollow cheek indentations as a reference guide on where to contour face features. For the optimal look, the contouring along the cheekbones should not go beyond the center of the cheeks. Since the hairline and chin are naturally narrow and well-defined on diamond-shaped faces, these do not need any contouring. Broadening the narrow chin and hairline can be done by applying some highlighters under the eyes in the shape of an inverted triangle.
2. Square and Rectangle Face Shape
Rectangle face shapes have about evenly sized width and length, with similarly sized hairlines and jawlines.
First, locate the cheekbones, which are found in the line between the point from just below the ear and the point outside the nostrils. Contouring starts along the sides of the forehead and continues downward following the natural hairline to create a slimmer-looking face shape. Afterward, begin contouring the hollow indentation made by the cheekbones and gently brush with an inward and outward motion towards the cheek’s center for even application. Only apply contour just beyond the cheek’s center, and should not extend too far towards the face’s center. For the best look, limit the contour lines to a shorter distance from the sides of the face. Then, from the base of the jawbone just below the ear, contour the jawline moving outwards to the point just before the chin.
Highlights can be applied below the eyes in an inverted pyramid shape, and also along the middle of the chin and forehead to create a narrower-looking face.
3. Contouring Long Face or Oval/ Oblong-shaped Face
Oblong and oval-shaped faces have especially long faces with narrower hairlines, cheeks, and chins.
Oval-shaped faces are easily the most simple for customized contours since they only require work along the cheekbones. Contouring long faces are done by applying the contour parallel to the cheek indentations then further blending the product until a balanced look is achieved.
Due to how oval and long face shapes tend to naturally have narrow and defined jawlines and foreheads, contouring these sections is unnecessary and can be skipped.
4. Contouring for Heart-shaped Face
A face in a heart-like shape comes with a pointedly narrow chin and cheeks slimmer than the hairline.
For heart-shaped faces, start contouring at the forehead’s center and lightly brush downwards toward the sides of the forehead. In contouring the forehead, follow the hairline as a guide while working downwards.
Then, proceed with contouring at the cheeks, using the hollow indentation just below the cheekbones as a reference for the contour lines. Remember to follow a brushing pattern of stroking inwards towards the center of the face then back outwards for a uniform and evenly distributed look.
5. How to Contour a Round Face Shape
Rounded face shapes tend to have evenly sized width and length throughout the chin, hairline, and cheeks. The round shape also means it lacks visible definition throughout the facial features.
For round face shapes, contouring starts beside the temples of the forehead. From the temples, continue applying contour by moving the brush down towards the cheek indentation, where the cheekbones will guide on where to contour face features and the proceeding contour lines heading to the center of the cheeks.
After contouring the cheeks, proceed to contour the jawline from the base of the cheekbones just by the ears, and work the contour lines moving down towards the chin. Especially for rounded face shapes, contouring the jawline will give some noticeable length and definition to the otherwise rounded and short face shape.
To finish off, highlight and contour face features just below the eyes in an inverted-looking triangle form. Adding some highlights along the chin and forehead middle will give a wider and broader look, breaking the roundedness of the face shape.
Make-up Tools for Contouring
Of course, contouring requires a set of makeup to be applied, as well as the proper makeup tools for incorporating and blending the product smoothly throughout the skin. Contouring makeup can come in three different types that vary in consistency including powder, liquid, and cream.
Powder Contour. Powdered contour is perfect for beginners since it is seamlessly easy to apply and work with. The powdered form tends to result in a more slick and matte finish when applied, which is great for oil-inclined skin types.
For powder-based contour makeup, we recommend the following products:
1. Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit
Powder contours are generally ideal for beginners, which is what makes the Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit an excellent starter kit for contouring. The kit is designed to be as simple as possible with three powders including the contour powder itself, a highlighter, and the bronzer. The included brush is used for easily and accurately applying, blending, and even building the product
2. Morphe 8R That’s Rich Complexion Pro Face Palette
The Morphe 8R That’s Rich Complexion Pro Face Palette comes with everything needed for a full-out facial kit. The highly versatile kit includes two blushes, two bronzers, two highlighters, brightening powder, and a matte finish contour. To top everything off, the kit comes in five different colors and 8R, which is great for styling just about any skin tone.
Cream Contour. Cream-based contours come in sticks and are generally less flexible compared to powdered contours. Cream contours provide more vibrantly rich colors. Since cream contours are thicker with more consistency, they are usually applied with a makeup sponge for evenly and more accurately incorporating the product onto the skin. The creamy aspect makes this contour easily applicable for an overall natural and healthier-looking skin. Also, its cream factor is better for those with dry skin and wrinkles since powdered contour will only add definition to fine lines.
For powder-based contour makeup, we recommend the following products:
1. Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème Contour
Recently, Patrick Ta has been receiving countless praise for its high-quality products, with the Major Sculpt Crème Contour being one of them. The product comes in a dual package consisting of both a powdered and cream-based contour. Its formula provides a gleaming glow and shines to the skin when applied. The cream is designed to add definition and sculpt the face while the powder is for applying the final touches with that ideal sun-kissed finish.
2. Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick
Including seven various shades, this cream contour is a perfectly well-rounded option that ensures it offers great value for just about any person and skin type. The product is fairly lightweight but proves to be long-lasting, making it highly effective in applying and blending, especially since it absorbs into the skin quite nicely.
Liquid Contour. Liquid Contour is an alternative to cream contour and comes in a more fluid consistency. For liquid contour, the contour shade should be slightly darker than the natural tone of the skin while also complementing its undertone. Applying liquid contour results in a well-balanced and smooth-looking finish. Since liquid contour is fluid in its consistency, it is applied and evenly diffused onto the skin using a makeup sponge.
For liquid contour makeup, we recommend the following products:
1. Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand
The Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand is a major hit among celebrity beauticians, and for good reason. The contour wand is formulated with lightweight and easy to apply liquid contour. Also, its featured cushion applicator works wonders for effortlessly regulating the amount of product being applied, making it easier to accurately blend the product.
2. MORPHE Fluidity Full-Coverage Concealer
MORPHE’s Fluidity Full-Coverage Concealer is an excellent concealer and liquid foundation for an even and well-blended finish. With a long-lasting formula and fluid consistency, this product is easy to apply and assimilate throughout the skin. Also, its complexion brightening capabilities are just as effective as its concealing coverage, making it perfect for contouring facial features with enhanced definition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on How to Contour Your Face
Yes. Although concealer may not seem appropriate with contour makeup, a reliable and creamy concealer proves to be effective in attaining a lightly sculpted and well-defined face.
After applying the contour makeup onto the desired facial areas, blend the product by using a blender/ makeup sponge or makeup brush depending on the contour product. Use makeup brushes for applying and blending powdered contours. For liquid and cream contour, blender/ makeup sponges are best for assimilating, given the fluid consistency.