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Article Published on: 25TH SEP 2023 |

Makeup has long been a tool for self-expression and enhancement, allowing individuals to transform their appearance and highlight their best features. One makeup technique that has gained immense popularity in recent years is contouring. Contouring is the art of using makeup to create shadows and highlights on your face, enhancing your bone structure and defining your facial features. Whether you're a makeup novice or a beauty enthusiast, mastering the art of contouring can help you achieve a sculpted and polished look. In this exploration, we'll delve into the world of contouring, discussing the techniques, tools, and tips to define your facial features.

Understanding the Basics of Contouring Contouring is based on the principle of using makeup shades that are slightly darker and lighter than your natural skin tone to create the illusion of shadows and highlights. By strategically applying these shades, you can sculpt your face and enhance its dimensions. Here are some of the fundamental aspects of contouring: 1. Contour Shade: The contour shade is typically a matte product that is a few shades darker than your natural skin tone. This shade is used to create the illusion of shadows and is applied to areas where you want to appear more sculpted or defined. 2. Highlight Shade: The highlight shade is a product that is a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone. It is used to bring attention to certain areas of your face and create a contrast with the contour shade. Highlighter is applied to areas you want to appear more lifted and illuminated. 3. Blending: Proper blending is key to achieving a natural and seamless contour. Blending ensures that there are no harsh lines or visible makeup edges. You can use makeup brushes, sponges, or your fingertips for blending. 4. Face Shape: Different face shapes may require different contouring techniques. Common face shapes include oval, round, square, heart, and diamond. The goal of contouring is to enhance your unique features, so understanding your face shape can help you determine where to apply contour and highlight. 5. Lighting: Contouring should take into account the lighting conditions you'll be in. Natural daylight is the best for assessing how your makeup looks, as it provides the most accurate representation of your appearance.

Photo by Alena Darmel | Source:

Now that we have a basic understanding of contouring, let's dive into the step-by-step process of achieving a beautifully contoured face: Step 1: Prep Your Skin Before you start contouring, it's essential to begin with a clean and moisturized face. Apply your regular skincare routine, including primer and foundation. Ensure that your foundation matches your skin tone for a seamless look. Step 2: Determine Your Face Shape Identifying your face shape is crucial for effective contouring. Different face shapes require different contouring techniques to achieve the desired results. Here are some guidelines for common face shapes:

  • Oval Face: If you have an oval face, contour along the sides of your forehead, under your cheekbones, and along your jawline.

  • Round Face: For round faces, contour along the sides of your forehead, under your cheekbones, and along your jawline to create the illusion of more defined angles.

  • Square Face: Square faces benefit from contouring along the sides of the forehead, under the cheekbones, along the jawline, and along the sides of the jaw to soften sharp angles.

  • Heart Face: To balance a heart-shaped face, contour along the sides of the forehead, under the cheekbones, and lightly along the jawline.

  • Diamond Face: Diamond faces can emphasize their cheekbones by contouring under the cheekbones and along the jawline.

Step 3: Apply Contour Using a matte contour shade that is a few shades darker than your natural skin tone, apply the contour product to the areas you've identified based on your face shape. Here's a breakdown of where to apply contour:

  • Forehead: Apply contour along the hairline on the sides of your forehead to create the illusion of a smaller forehead.

  • Cheekbones: To define your cheekbones, sweep contour under the cheekbones, starting from your ears and moving towards the center of your cheeks. Blend well.

  • Jawline: Apply contour along your jawline to add definition and make the jawline appear more sculpted.

  • Nose: If you wish to slim your nose, you can apply a thin line of contour along the sides of your nose. Blend carefully for a subtle effect.

Photo by Wendy Wei | Source:

Step 4: Apply Highlight Now it's time to highlight the areas of your face that you want to bring forward and illuminate. Use a highlight shade that is a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone. Common areas for highlighting include:

  • Cheekbones: Apply highlighter on top of your cheekbones to make them appear higher and more prominent.

  • Brow Bone: Highlighting the brow bone enhances the eyes and gives the appearance of lifted brows.

  • Cupid's Bow: A touch of highlighter on your cupid's bow (the dip in your upper lip) adds dimension to your lips.

  • Bridge of the Nose: Applying highlighter down the center of your nose creates the illusion of a more slender nose.

  • Chin: Highlighting the chin brings attention to the center of your face.

Step 5: Blend, Blend, Blend The key to achieving a natural-looking contour is thorough blending. Use a makeup brush, beauty sponge, or your fingertips to blend the contour and highlight seamlessly into your skin. Blend in a gentle, upward motion to avoid streaks or lines. Step 6: Set Your Makeup Once you're satisfied with the contour and highlight, set your makeup with a translucent setting powder. This helps lock your makeup in place and prevents it from smudging throughout the day. Step 7: Additional Steps Contouring can be as simple or as intricate as you like. Some individuals choose to add extra steps to their contouring routine, such as applying blush or bronzer for added warmth and color. Remember that makeup is a highly customizable art form, and you can adapt it to your preferences. Tips for Successful Contouring:

  1. Start with a light hand: It's easier to add more contour or highlight if needed than to remove excess product.

  2. Blend with a clean tool: Keep a clean brush or sponge on hand for blending to avoid muddying your contour with excess product.

  3. Practice makes perfect: Contouring can be a skill that takes time to master. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't look perfect on your first attempt.

  4. Natural lighting: As mentioned earlier, natural daylight is the best for assessing your contour in its truest form. Consider checking your makeup in different lighting conditions to ensure it looks great everywhere you go.

  5. Use the right tools: Invest in good-quality makeup brushes and sponges designed for contouring and blending. The right tools make a significant difference in achieving a flawless look.

Photo by RDNE Stock project | Source:

Conclusion Contouring is a makeup technique that allows you to define your facial features and enhance your natural beauty. Whether you're looking to create more chiseled cheekbones, a slimmer nose, or a sculpted jawline, contouring can help you achieve your desired look. By understanding your face shape, selecting the right products, and mastering blending techniques, you can become proficient in the art of contouring. Remember that makeup is a form of self-expression, so feel free to experiment and have fun with your contouring routine. With practice and patience, you can unlock the secrets to achieving a beautifully contoured face that enhances your unique features.

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