Your Complete Guide for How to Contour Face Makeup

Augusta Falletta

how to contour

When you contour your makeup, you’re essentially doing some real life Photoshop on your face. Your cheekbones pop, your face glows, and in general, your bone structure immediately looks chiseled. All of this is, of course, dependent upon whether you know how to contour your face. Like any makeup look that requires some know-how, practice makes perfect when it comes to contouring. Whether you’re a first timer or you’re simply trying to hone your craft, the tips and tricks below are all you need to know about how to contour your face.

Pro Tip:
Pick a bronzer that’s 1-2 shades deeper than your skin tone. Bronzers come in a variety of undertones and hues, so picking the right one is essential!
Step 1:
Use an angled brush and matte bronzer in the hollows of cheeks, and blend up and out away from the face for a simple, defined look. Extend the bronzer up and out towards the temples and into the hair line for stronger definition. Place a highlighter on top of the cheekbone for an extra punch. This will bring light to the face as well as create more defined angles.
Step 2: Use bronzer as a replacement for blush for a natural, simple contour. Use a round brush and place on the apples of cheeks lightly, with a light shimmer bronzer for a healthy glow.
Step 3: When using bronzer and blush together, remember that the blush goes on the apples of the cheeks (if you can’t find them, smile!) and the bronzer goes in the hollows of the cheek.

MORE: The Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Bronzer — And How to Avoid Them

Chin and Neck
Pro Tip:
Your highlighter should be at least two shades lighter than your skin tone. It’s important to really draw light onto the face. If you’re unsure where to place it, just think of all the places on the face that naturally reflect light.
Step 1: Always finish any contouring look with a sweep along the outer perimeter of the chin and blend up along the side of the jaw bone. This will make the face look uniform and create shadows on the neck that aren’t naturally there. For a really strong angle, use a liquid highlighter just below the hollows of the cheeks, and that will magnify your contour giving the illusion of higher cheekbones.
Step 2: Lightly dust any remaining bronzer down the neck to reinforce the natural look of contour all around, and so your neck and face are in unison. You always want your neck and face to match.
Step 3: Chiseling the chin is very simple. Highlight the center of the chin and use a matte bronzer on the outer edge. Contour from the outside corner of the lip at a downward angle towards the point of your chin. This will also create the illusion of a smaller chin.

Step 1:
A trick to rounding off the forehead and making it appear smaller (as well as uniform with the rest of your makeup) is to use an angled brush to lightly contour by sweeping it across the outer hairline of the forehead and working your way towards the outer center. Highlight down the center of the forehead and blend out.
Step 2: A really easy technique (which will give you instant gratification) is to shade your temples. Using a matte bronzer, blend over the temples and up into the forehead (just above the brow bone) at an angle. Your face will change before your eyes!

MORE: WATCH: How to Get a Sunkissed Glow with Bronzer

Eyes and Nose
Step 1:
Dust a deep hue over the eyelids or in the crease only (with a crease brush) to get a subtle and natural defined look. Finish it off with a brown liner on both the top and bottom eyelids, but only halfway across, then smudge out. You’re eyes will pop forward without being too dramatic. End this step with highlighting the brow bone for a real pop!
Step 2: The nose is one of the most notorious areas on the face that people like to contour. Begin by lightly shading the inner hollow area between your eye and the top of your nose, and then carefully sweep your brush down the sides of the bridge and out. Shading a little above the nostrils also changes the shape of your nose and looks harmonious with the rest of the contour. Finish it off with a highlighter down the center of the nose and blend. This will reflect light and create a nice focal point.

One Last Thing
The biggest thing to remember always (no matter your skill level) is to blend, blend, blend. Whether it’s a subdued look you’re going for, or a more dramatic one, it should always look natural. The face has many angles, and it’s important for them to all be smooth.

Illustration by Candace Napier
Tips by Rolando Robínson

MORE: Strobing: The Easy Makeup Trend That’s Taking Over