How to Contour Your Face

Contouring can be extremely difficult to figure out, though it can make a pretty drastic difference to your makeup look. Here are some simple tricks to get a good clean contour!

Why Contour?

This is actually a great question. I used to think the same thing. But contour can really bring out the natural shape of your face. When you use a very full coverage foundation, you can lose some of the natural highlights and shadows in your face. Contouring will bring that back and allow you to accent your features.

You can also adjust the shape of your face slightly- this particularly helpful if you’re doing cosplay makeup.

But if you’re not cosplaying, your best bet is to just stick to accenting the existing shape of your face.

Where Do I Contour?

This depends on your facial shape. There are definitely plenty of guides out there by face shape. However, there are certain places that you can contour no matter what your face shape is.


When you contour, you want to start by using a bronzer, contour shade, or other darker shadowing product.

To accent your jawline, find the bone in the bottom of your chin, then follow the sharp edge up to your ear. You want contour that starts there and blends down into your neck.

For accenting your cheekbones, find the part of your cheek near your eye that sticks out. If you feel around below that, you’ll feel a gap in the bones under your cheekbone. Blend contour into that space to help your cheekbones look more prominent. If you want a sharper contour, don’t blend out the edges of this as much.

Most people don’t worry about carving out their nose, and I’m not particularly good at that part. For nose contour, I usually start on either side of my nose and then blend the contour up into my eyebrows a bit to mesh the shadowing into the natural shadows on my face. I also put a little bit on the bottom of my nose.

For your forehead, this really depends on your face shape and how you want it percieved. If you want to make your face look narrower, focus your contour on the sides of your forehead. If you want your forehead to look shorter, focus the contour on the top.

The last place I personally add contour is a tiny bit under my bottom lip to enhance the pouty effect and make my lips look larger without plumping glosses or anything.

Highlighting or Lightening

After that, I use a highlighter and a small highlighting brush to brighten up some of the high points of my face. Usually the areas I focus this are the tops of my cheekbones, the top of my cupid’s bow, the end of my nose, and the bridge of my nose. If I’m going the extra mile, I also brighten the center of my forehead and of my chin.

What Tools Do I Need?

This one is an easy one. You can get away with a simple bronzer (Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer is my current favorite) and a soft brush that’s good for blending for your darkening, and a highlighter (Personally I love the Wet N Wild MegaGlo Highlighters) and small highlighting brush for brightening.

However, you can also try a contour palette! If you want a sharper contour, you can try an angled brush as well to prevent some of the diffusing that happens with a softer brush. A fan brush is also usually very popular for highlighter, though I personally don’t find that they work very well.

What do you guys use to contour? What kind of tips do you have? Let us know in the comments!

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