*The author generated this text in part with ChatGPT, OpenAI’s GPT-3 large language model. The content was reviewed, edited, fact-checked, and revised by our editorial team.
Contouring is an essential part of every basic makeup routine. From adding definition to your cheekbones to shaping your jawline, flawless contouring creates depth and dimension, depending on your face shape. It might seem like a complicated process, but we’ll break it down for you simply to help you go from beginner to pro before you know it.
Keep in mind that this article focuses on a generalized contouring technique. Once you become more advanced and familiar with the process, you can adjust this basic technique depending on your face shape, whether round, square, rectangle, oval, or heart-shaped.
What is contouring?
Contouring is a makeup technique that helps define and enhance certain features of your face, such as the forehead, cheekbones, jaw, and nose. With a combination of darker shades to create shadows and lighter shades to highlight subtly, you can make the illusion of a more accentuated, chiseled, and sculpted face. Contouring helps you achieve a more polished and put-together look while maintaining a natural glow.
Step-by-step guide to contouring
As promised, we’ll give you the necessary steps to contour your features like a pro.
- Choose the right products. Pick a contour shade two shades darker than your natural skin tone and a highlighter shade two shades lighter. Use cream or powder products depending on your preference and skin type.
- Prep your skin. Start with a clean slate by removing old makeup and thoroughly cleansing and moisturizing your face. Adding primer as the initial step can keep your makeup in place for longer.
- Apply foundation. Just as you usually would, apply a foundation that closely matches your skin tone, and blend it well, ideally with a beauty blender.
- Contour your forehead. For beginners, start with a powder contour and brush. Dust the contour right underneath your hairline, from your temples to the mid-way point of your forehead.
- Contour your cheekbones and jaw. Add contour by stroking along the hollows or indents of your cheeks toward your lips. Go back and forth several times, depending on how dark you want it to appear.
- Contour your nose. Apply highlighter to the bridge of your nose and blend thoroughly.
- Complete your look. Pull your look together with eyeshadow, lengthening mascara, eyeliner, bronzer, and lipstick.
The benefits of contouring
Contouring can define and enhance your features to make them look more intensified. Though when done correctly, you’ll still appear natural. Below are a few ways that contouring can benefit you.
- Defines the cheekbones, making them appear higher
- Minimizes a prominent nose, making it look narrower
- Highlights your features for a radiant glow
- Accentuates your jawline
- Slims your face
Flawless contouring all day long
It’s important to remember that less is more when it comes to contouring. The purpose isn’t to alter the features on your face but rather to enhance and define them more clearly. As with anything, practice makes perfect. The more time you spend playing around with contouring techniques and watching YouTube or TikTok tutorials, the faster you’ll master the skill like a pro.