How to Master Makeup Contouring

Makeup contouring first started as early as the 1920s when actresses used it to highlight their cheekbones. However, it wasn't until 2008 that it became a trend all over social media platforms, and that trend didn't fade away throughout the years. Conversely, it's still as strong as ever.
If you wish to know more about mastering the art of makeup contouring, keep scrolling.

What is Makeup Contouring?

Contouring is a makeup technique that creates shadows and light by using certain products to emphasize your best features. You can also use it to create the illusion of a defined jawline, a smaller nose, or a narrower forehead.

Tools and Products Needed for Contouring

Makeup contouring can be a bit intimidating for beginners, but with a little practice and the right tools, you can get amazing results.
Below is a list of tools and products that will make your first contour application appear flawless.
Take a look.
  • Your choice of skincare products
  • Foundation
  • A concealer that’s one or two shades lighter than your skin tone
  • A bronzer one or two shades darker than your skin tone
  • Powder brush
  • Foundation brush or a beauty blender

Classic Contouring Techniques

We rounded up some quick and easy steps for applying a basic contoured look.

Step1: Preparing

First, use your go-to skincare products to wash your face and apply moisturizer. Then, apply a light coat of primer for a long-lasting look.
With your favorite foundation and concealer, apply an even coating. This will help even out the skin and cover all blemishes.

Step 2: Shading

Suck in your cheeks to know where to add shadows. Then, apply darker shades to the areas that you want to define.
Ideally, these areas include:
  • Your jawline
  • Underneath your chin
  • Under your cheekbones
  • Your temples
  • Along the sides of your nose
  • Following your hairline

Step 3: Highlighting

Apply a highlighter to the areas that naturally reflect light to give your face a dewy glow and make your cheeks look more prominent.
For example:
  • Cheeks
  • Forehead
  • Around brow bone
  • Cupid’s bow
  • The tip and bridge of the nose

Step 4: Blending

Use an angled blending brush or a damp sponge to blend the contour. Keep tapping your face until all the lines you created disappear.
Finish up by applying a setting spray or powder.
Note that your choice of products depends on your skin type. For example, powdery products are better for oily skin, whereas creamy and water-based products are perfect for dry skin.

Know Your Face Shape

All faces have different shapes and features. Hence, classic contouring techniques might not work for everybody.
If you're not sure what your face shape is, take a look below. We have everything you need to help you figure out which technique will suit you best.

Square-Shaped Faces

Square-shaped faces are known for their distinct sharp jawline and equally broad forehead.
Best Contouring Technique:
Add darker shades around the forehead, temples, and underneath the jawbones for a rounder, softer face shape.

Round-Shaped Faces

Round-shaped faces are known for their symmetrical lines, soft jawlines, and rounded chins.
Best Contouring Technique:
Apply contour on your temples to slim down your forehead. Start at the ears and work down to the jawline to create definition. Don’t forget to apply to your cheekbones.

Oval-Shaped Faces

Oval-shaped faces are often called ‘the ideal face shape’ with a more prominent forehead than the round face.
Best Contouring Technique:
Follow your hairline with the contour. Next, add some under the chin line to make your face appear slightly shorter. Similarly, for the cheekbones, begin at your ears and stop when you get to the middle of your cheeks.

Diamond-Shaped Faces

Diamond-shaped faces have a small chin, a narrow forehead, and broader jaws.
Best Contouring Technique:
Apply contour to your temples and blend inwards along the cheekbones. Add a little bit of shade under the chin to minimize its pointiness.

Heart-Faced Faces

Heart-shaped faces are a mix of oval and diamond-shaped faces. Yet, they’re typically known to have a broader forehead and pointier chin.
Best Contouring Technique:
For this particular face type, you want to create the number “3” shape, starting at the forehead, down the cheekbones, and again toward your jawline.

Different Contouring Techniques

You'll be surprised to know that there's much more to contouring than just the classic technique. Here are some techniques you might not have heard of before.

Clown Contouring

For this contouring technique, you’ll need to use multiple shades and color correctors to create a clown-like face painting style. Eventually, the different shades will be blended together for that perfect finish.

Body Contouring

Mainly used for shooting purposes, it’s done to create the illusion of a fuller bust, a chiseled six-pack, toned arms, or a slimmer neck. You can also use it to accentuate your collar bones and even your calves.

Lip Contouring

If you want your lips to appear fuller, lip contouring is the way to go. In this technique, you’ll need to apply a darker lip color to the corners of the lips. Then, add a lighter shade to the middle of your lips for a plumper look.


Skip the hassle of everyday contouring and try “tontouring.” Use a self-tanner to create your preferable face and body contour look. The best part is that it can last up to a week!


This is the process of applying loads of powder over the liquid concealer and letting it sit for about ten minutes. The heat of the face will melt the powder and concealer together for a longer-lasting makeup look. Then, you finish off the look by brushing off the excess powder.


Makeup application is becoming more and more innovative as the levels of artistry go higher. In addition, the cosmetic industry is ever-evolving with so much to offer.
Contouring is one of its many wonders. With a tremendous effect on the look you're aiming for, this is a form of art that can be challenging to master.
However, the important thing to remember is that practice makes perfect, and with the right tools, you can definitely learn to master its ways!