Contouring is an art only a few of us have mastered. Contour and highlight are essential steps in a person’s makeup routine. Even though now it is the trend, did you know that drag queens first introduced this concept?
When done correctly, it can enhance your cheekbones, define your jawline, and make your face look sharp and attractive. Every step of makeup requires some knowledge about the products to be used or the knowledge of the different ways in which the product can be applied. Let me tell you a secret- you don’t need to be a makeup artist to be good at this!
If you were looking for a guide to perfect contouring, then drumrolls! We will discuss the a-z on how to contour your face in this article, so keep your contour brush and kit ready!
It is very important to have good contour products for a beautiful contour. One should always consider that contouring is all about accepting one’s looks and creating a makeup look that enhances one’s natural beauty rather than changing it.
You would be surprised to know that contour wasn’t a mainstream thing until the popularity of makeup as an artist grew. A beautiful makeup routine is complete with the step of contouring. It enhances your face shape, and no matter your face shape, you can still look great with whatever contouring style you prefer- natural or full contouring.
A lot of people are confused about what contour product they should buy. Some people end up using the wrong products in the wrong places. For example, a cream contour serves a different purpose than a powdered contour.
A bronzer has a different purpose of application in comparison to any contouring product. As understood by the name, a powdered contour is in the powdered form, and the cream contour is in a cream-like form, its consistency very similar to that of a cream blush.
The most visible difference between contour products and bronzer is that a bronzer has a shimmer finish and is typically used at places in the face where the light falls. Any contour has a matte finish which helps to add depth to your face.
To begin with, the product you need for contouring, let me be very specific here- just like the foundation should be the exact shade as your original skin tone, you should use a contour product that is three shades darker than your natural skin tone. While choosing the shade, keep in mind that the contour needs to have the same undertone as you do so that the contour doesn’t look fake but more natural.
If you are new to make-up and don’t know much about undertones, do not worry. All you have to do is look at your wrist. If the veins in your wrist are bluish or purplish, you have a cool undertone. If the veins are green, your undertone is warm. Neutral undertones have a mix of blue and green veins under the upper layer of skin.
After choosing the shade and the undertone of the contour product, it’s time to know what products are now available in the market. There are contour sticks that are easy-to-use creamy textured contour products in a stick format. Then there are cream and powdered contours in their usual format.
Liquid concealers and cream foundations blend very well and are used a lot for contouring. Also, bronzers, only if they DO NOT have shimmer, can be used for contouring. Although, this needs to be kept in mind that the shade should be three shades darker than your natural skin tone.
Even when there’s a rule of choosing the contour product as three shades darker than your skin tone, it can be a little overwhelming because of the less variation in the available products and the varied skin tones each of us has. We understand that, so here’s a detailed guide on contouring according to your skin tone for that seamless finish.
Contouring According to Skin Tone
Contouring for fair skin tones can be tricky because contour products available in the market are too dark and wouldn’t look natural on fair skin. Ideally, for fair skin, it is best not to use many contours and do a little bit of contouring with a dampened beauty blender at the places where the shadows of the bone structure of your face fall. The best idea here would be to use a blush with a warm undertone.
Using contour products with shimmer particles might be a good idea to draw some attention toward the depth you have created with contouring. Warm undertones can balance out the look you are creating while giving a radiant look. Do not choose cooler tones, as they can dull your face.
Golden highlighters are a good option for contouring. Blushes in the shade of pink compliment this skin tone very well. However, choose the shade of pink according to your undertone. It is best advised to use fewer orange products for medium skin tones.
Caramel is a beautiful shade in the contour palettes and greatly enhances the medium skin tone. You can also use bronzers with a matte finish to do your contouring.
In this case, focus on highlighting more than contouring. Use lighter shades on the high points of your face, followed by a little contour powder for depth and dimension.
A red undertone looks best with berry blush, and yellow tones look best with orange blush shades. For a seamless finish, do not use glittery contour products. Choose matte products to give a better illusion of the chiseled look.
Now that you know how to contour your face according to your skin tone, it is important to know about the contouring products and the contouring process for your face shape. Let’s discuss that as well.
Contouring According to Face Shape
Knowing your face shape is very important to accentuate your makeup look so that the makeup products you use are highlighted, and you get that flawless finish. Contouring techniques differ for people with different face shapes as the bone structure differs.
A broader forehead characterizes a square face shape, so begin with a little highlight on the center. Extend the highlighting to your nasal ridge and the high points on your cheekbones and under the eye region. For blending, use a damp makeup sponge. Use contour on the outskirts of the hairline and blend to create the illusion of a smaller forehead.
Next, put some contour on the hollow beneath the cheekbones, and finally, end your contour routine with the outer part of the jawline. Use an angled or fluffy brush to blend the contour and soften the angles on your face.
As most of us know and makeup artists keep emphasizing, this face shape doesn’t require a lot of concealing. A little contouring on the top of your forehead where the hairline begins, a little on the hollows of your cheeks, and a teensy bit on the chin would balance out the height-width proportion while giving beautiful depth to your face.
Playing with the highlight would accentuate your face shape. Highlight your cheekbones by using a highlighter so that your cheekbones get the attention they deserve. Do a little bit of highlighting on your chin area and forehead.
With this face shape, contouring the temples and the side of the upper half of the face becomes essential as they are wider than the rest of the face. Use contouring to narrow down the width of your forehead.
A widow’s peak symbolizes this face shape so make sure you aren’t putting the extra product on the center of your forehead. Highlighting your forehead and chin would do just fine.
Highlight the high points in your face and blend them with a mini makeup sponge. Do some generous contouring on the temples, sides of the cheekbones, and the outer area of the jawline. This would give your face structure and definition. Be sure to do some contouring along the temples and under the cheek area and blend it with a beauty blender or makeup sponge.
For a triangle face, the forehead is narrower than the jaw area, so contouring along the jaw line and under cheekbones creates the illusion of a well-balanced look. Highlighting the temples would make the forehead appear smaller.
Your Skin Type Matters!
Another important thing you should keep in mind is that cream-based products can cause breakouts on oily skin. So, powder products are the best bet for such a skin type.
Dry skin should use a cream contour to add moisture to the face. The powder can dry the already dry skin, making it look dull. People with normal skin can use any of the two products, but if you are a beginner, it would be a great idea to use powder products because of their easy application.
A brush with a tapered end is an ideal pick for this step in your makeup. These brushes have bristles of premium quality to blend faster, leaving behind no harsh lines. What’s a plus is that the brush is soft and fluffy. That way, the blending is beautiful, and you can now forget those harsh lines on the hairline.
Bronzer brush is great for powder contour products. Although fan brushes aren’t great for this purpose, you can always use them to create the sculpture under your cheek area.
The concealer brush is ideal for blending because the angle can help contour the nose and the cheekbones. However, it can be a bit of a hole in the pocket, so spend wisely!
How to Contour: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now for the million-dollar question- how to contour your face. Contouring is a later step in the makeup routine. The basic reason why we contour is to enhance our natural features.
The prerequisites of the contour are mentioned above and explained thoroughly. Do check what your contouring should be like before proceeding further.
- Apply moisturizer and primer
The first step of any makeup routine begins with setting up the face. Moisturizers and primers protect the skin from the harmful effects of chemicals in makeup while adding an extra glow to the face.
There’s nothing right or wrong in applying foundation before contouring or the other way around. You can use your powder foundation or liquid foundation for this step. To blend the foundation, use a fluffy brush/blending sponge to get a flawless finish. Do not forget to set up a powder foundation with a translucent or setting powder.
- Contouring the Forehead
The contouring process starts with contouring the forehead area. If you are new to makeup, you can use a powder contour and contour brush. Apply the contouring products on the outline of your hairline. Blend the contour towards the center of the forehead.
- The chiseled look
Creating shadows and depth under your cheekbones and jawline is the best way to achieve a chiseled look. You can create the popular ‘duck face’ so that the contour is applied to the hollows of your cheeks. Start by applying the product on the side and then blending it along the line with the help of an angled brush or a tapered brush.
- The Nose!
If you want to make your nose look sharp and small, you can contour along the sides by drawing two lines on either side of the top of the nose and then blending it. Make sure you smoothen out these lines so that your makeup looks uniform. This step is completely optional and is subject to personal preference.
Finish off your contour routine by highlighting the high points of your face, like the brow bone just below your eyebrow, the cheekbones, the chin, the cupid’s bow, and the top of the nose.
Contouring is a very important step in a person’s makeup regimen. Your contouring should be on point for a flawless finish, and a beautiful makeup look. A makeup artist would recommend including contouring in your makeup routine. After all, no one is complaining about a defined jawline, are we?
Whether a bronzer would be suitable for you or a darker foundation, this article discusses what contour product you should use on your skin as well. How to apply product on the hollows of your cheeks and highlight your cheekbones while you add depth to your face is a question of the past because this article discusses it all.
Now, you can contour your face like a professional and no one can tell the difference between whether your makeup was done by a makeup artist or yourself! Accentuate your natural self with this amazing discovery by the makeup artists!