Contouring 101

Probably 2nd to brows, people ask me about contouring all the time. My personal opinion is that it’s good in photos but, 90% of the time it’s not good in person. Makeup artists originally started contouring to show more shadow and depth in photos. In person, people are seeing the exact shape of your face so it doesn’t always translate and it can sometimes come across like you just streaks on your face. If you are going to contour it should be so blended out that it’s barely visible. That way it looks more like a shadow in the hollow of your face and not streaks intentionally put there. You can use whatever products you like to achieve a good contour, concealer, foundation, a bronzing product. If I am going to contour my own face I like to use this Bio Bronzer Stick by W3ll People. It’s so easily blendable, and it creates a very nice natural shadow. You can also use a foundation or concealer that is just 2 shades darker than your own skin tone.


Highlighting is for the peaks of the face, think everywhere the sun hits (we’ll go over that more next week). Contouring is the exact opposite. So, under the cheek bones where the hollow part of your cheek is, at the top of the forehead and into the temples, underneath and the far edges of the chin, and if you want to the very edges of each side of the nose.


When contouring the hollows of your cheeks you want to start almost at the hole of your ear and follow the edge of your cheekbone down to the middle of your cheek. If you’re looking straight into a mirror you want the edge to line up with the pupil of your eye. If you take it too far and go to the edge of your mouth it ends up giving a ventriloquist doll effect. And nobody wants that!


When contouring your nose, you want to contour just the length of each side of the nose. For a natural look you don’t want to go up to far into your eye socket or all the way around the tip. Then blend, blend, blend


After I do those 2 I do the edges of my face. With the forehead, you can either do around the whole edge, just make sure not to go too far down into it, or just 2 spots toward the outer edge just above the temples. With the chin, you want to bronze underneath the edge and diagonally up on the edges of the face.


Just like anything with makeup, if you struggle with this, practice makes perfect. So practice, practice, practice.

12 thoughts on “Contouring 101

  1. I’ve actually started contouring under the lips just a little, recently. Have you tried it? I find it helps make my lips look a little more ‘pouty,’ and kind of offsets the highlight on the cupids bow nicely. Your highlight post today reminded me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally forgot about that contour! I use to only highlight my Cupid’s bow and contour under the bottom lip. Lol oh the bad makeup tends I have done…


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