The Tentgirl

Make up

How to Contour your face

Angelina Jolie’s magnificent look on Maleficent stunned all of us. Even though Jolie has naturally inherited chiseled bone structure, contouring was used to accentuate her cheekbones for the Maleficent look.


Contouring is widely used to give three-dimensional look on Supermodels and Celebrities for photo shoot and red-carpet. It does not mean contouring is just for the celebrities. For daily use anyone can use contouring to have more detailed cheekbones or to give an illusion that one has slimmer face.You can use contouring to get heavily structured face shape like Maleficent or achieve a natural looking subtle but defined face shape.

So what is contouring exactly?

It is a technique that creates shadow and light to shape the outline of the face.

Celebrity makeup artist Beau Nelson says “Contouring is giving shape to an area of the face and enhancing the facial structure through makeup”

The main concept of contouring is creating depth and dimensions on your face. This is done by using light shade of products on the center of your face to brighten up and then using darker shade of products on the edge of the face to create shadows that alters the structure of face.

Contouring helps to

Define the face features

Make forehead look smaller

Give the illusion of higher cheekbones

Make eyes look bigger

Make face and nose appear smaller and slimmer

Make Jaw look more angular

Things you will need

  1. First, you need to know your face shape. Different contouring methods should be applied to different face shapes. Like round face may need to contour temples, jawline, and the cheeks to make the face looks slim. There are many face shapes like-








  1. Second, you will need the right contouring and highlighting products. You can choose either

 powder products- easiest to blend and gives subtle look.

 cream products-gives’ highest coverage; perfect for heavy contouring

 liquid products- the staying power is best among the three textured products.

 The products you will need –

         -Liquid/Cream/Powder Foundation same shade as your skin

 -A contouring kit that has all the colors for your skin shade


Liquid/Cream/Powder Foundation or concealer one/ two shades darker than your shade

Liquid/Cream/Powder Foundation or concealer one/two shades lighter than your shade


Matte Bronzer

Powder Highlighter (with/out shimmer)

– Liquid/Cream/Powder Blush

– Setting powder

  1. Third, you will need right applicators. Using correct brushes will help you to get more accurate result. You cannot expect to achieve a perfect contouring make up using an eye shadow brush to blend.

 -Use an angled soft brush to apply contouring product.

MAC’s 168 Large Angled Contour Brush

MAC’s 168 Large Angled Contour Brush

– Use a sponge to blend for cream or liquid foundation and a powder brush to blend the powder product.

So let’s break down the whole contouring process

Here is the step-to-step guide for basic and subtle face contouring.-

1. Prepare your face first. You need a clean face to start contouring. Exfoliate and cleanse the skin to remove dead skin. Use toner, moisturizer and a good quality of face primer. Let a minute to pass so that products can be absorbed by the skin.

2. Apply a thin layer of the foundation that matches your skin tone using foundation brush or fingers. Make sure to blend it well with brush or wet sponge.

3. Take the lightest shade of foundation/ product from the contour kit and apply it on places where the sun naturally touches

Along the bridge of your nose.on the cupid bow

Under the lower lip

Underneath the eyebrow bone

Above the eyebrow bone

Centre of the forehead

The top of the chin

Along the lower jaw

4. Apply the darkest shade of foundation/ product from contour kit on

The sides of your nose to make it look elongated and thinner

Along the nostrils to make the nose look shorter

Diagonally under your cheekbones for defined cheekbones

To a hide large forehead dust some along the hairline and on the temple

On the jawline and under your chin to make face look longer

5. To achieve the natural look the contouring areas should be blended very well so that no harsh lines of dark or light foundation are visible.

6. Apply blush on the cheekbones to give extra dimension and color to your face

7. Finish off with setting powder to remove any excess shine from the highlighter and to set the makeup.

Contouring based on face shape:

It has been already implied that face shape is very important when you want to achieve a  contoured look. According to your face shape the contouring technique should be done.

determine your face shape from these charts

Face shape for _contouring

Face shape for _contouring technique.

Spehora has this amazing instruction on how to do contouring on different face shapes. Check it out.

contouring based on face shape

Contouring and highlighting for each face shapes.


1. DO NOT use any dark shade product that has glitter or shimmer on it .

2. Do not combine different textured product. Use only one kind of textured products. For example, if you are using cream contouring product, use cream highlighter.

3. Use blending brush or sponge to soften up the contoured areas.

4. Remember not to spread the darker color much below the cheekbone.

5. Pick colors that suit your warm or cool tone.

6. Pick shades that are one or two shade lighter and darker than your natural shade so that they’re not so different from each other.

7. Don’t go too below or up than two shades otherwise it will make your look unnatural..

8. Use powder products instead of cream and liquid for less dramatic look.

9. If you don’t own any of the mentioned products, you can use dark non-shimmery eye shadow.

10. For dramatic and heavy contoured look use the contour kit


To remember where to put darker and lighter shades “face framing 3” “Eye high-lightening C” and “nose slimming 11” tricks have been created.

This blog called citizensofbeauty illustrated all the tricks in these two pictures. Made easy, right?

highlighting-techniques_for_Face shape _contouring

contouring _tricks-Face shape for _contouring

Best contouring kit:

List of some popular contouring kit-

Mehron Celebre Pro-HD Cream Contour and Highlight Palette

Mehron Celebre Pro-HD Cream Contour and Highlight Palette

Tom Ford_Shade & Illuminate_for contouring

Tom Ford_Shade & Illuminate

anastasia beverly hills contour kit

Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kitsmashbox contour-kit

Smashbox ‘Step By Step’ Contour Kit

Favorite YouTube Tutorial :

Contouring using cream products by Jaclyn Hill

Contouring with Powder products by Make Up Artist Lisa Eldridge


Wayne Goss showed how you can contour with liquid foundations.

Favorite celebrity look:

soft contouring –
emma-watson-her_contouring way

“Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson likes to contour her face subtly with matte bronzer and add blush to get youthful glowing look.  

Defined Contouring:


“Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester used contouring to make her nose slimmer. Notice how the highlighter on her cheekbone and above the brow bone are reflecting light.

“Glee” star Lea Michele defined her cheekbone by continuing.

Heavy contouring:

heavy--contour_gintare sudziute

Model Gintare Sudziute wore heavy contouring for a Magazine  shoot 

Heavy contouring_ julianne moore

Academy Award winner Julianne Moore’s cheekbones were accentuated with contouring  

Contouring takes a lot of practice.  Be patient and keep working on it. Remember, it is up to you how you want to look. If you don’t want to make your face appear slim, don’t do contouring.

Love Yourself!


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