Mastering the Art of Contouring: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

By Beauty Doctor MD December 15, 2023

Contouring has become a staple in the makeup world, creating the illusion of sculpted features and enhancing the natural structure of the face. While it might seem intimidating, especially for beginners, mastering the art of contouring is more accessible than you think. This comprehensive guide will take you through the basics, step by step, to help you achieve a beautifully contoured look that enhances your unique beauty.

Understanding the Basics of Contouring:

Contouring involves using different shades of makeup to highlight and define specific areas of the face. The key components include:

  • Highlighting: Brightening and bringing forward certain areas.
  • Contouring: Creating shadows and defining specific features.
  • Blending: The secret to achieving a seamless, natural look.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Products

Before diving into the contouring process, ensure you have the right tools and products on hand. You’ll need:

  • Contour Kit or Products: Look for a contour kit with a mix of highlight, contour, and bronzing shades. Cream or powder formulas are available based on personal preference.
  • Makeup Brushes: Invest in a contour brush, a smaller brush for precise application, and a blending brush for seamless integration.
  • Setting Powder: A translucent setting powder helps set and blend your contour.
  • Beauty Sponge: Ideal for blending and ensuring a natural finish.

Step 2: Identify Your Face Shape

Different face shapes require different contouring techniques. Identify your face shape before starting:

  • Oval Face: Balanced proportions, slightly narrower at the jawline than at the temples.
  • Round Face: Prominent cheekbones and a softer jawline.
  • Square Face: Strong jawline and forehead, with similar width.
  • Heart Face: Widest at the forehead, narrows down to a pointed chin.
  • Long Face: Elongated shape with a more extended forehead and chin.

Step 3: Highlight the High Points

Start by highlighting areas you want to bring forward. Use a shade lighter than your skin tone for:

  • Under the Eyes: Inverted triangle shape to brighten.
  • Bridge of the Nose: Vertical line down the center.
  • Center of the Forehead: Small dot.
  • Cupid’s Bow: Enhance your lip shape.
  • High Points of Cheeks: Just above your cheekbones.

Step 4: Contour the Shadows

Next, use a contour shade to create shadows and define specific areas:

  • Below Cheekbones: Follow the natural curve.
  • Along the Jawline: Blend to add definition.
  • Sides of the Nose: Slim down or reshape.
  • Hairline: On the forehead to balance proportions.
  • Below the Lip: Enhance the natural shadow. 

Step 5: Blend, Blend, Blend

Blending is the magic step in contouring. Use a beauty sponge or blending brush to seamlessly integrate the highlighted and contoured areas. The goal is a natural transition between light and shadow. Be gentle and patient, ensuring there are no harsh lines.

Step 6: Set with Translucent Powder

To set your contour and ensure it lasts throughout the day, lightly dust translucent setting powder over the contoured areas. This step helps prevent any unwanted shine and keeps your makeup in place.

Step 7: Practice and Experiment (Bonus Tip):

Contouring is an art that improves with practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques, shades, and intensities. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at customizing your contour to enhance your unique features.
Contouring is a skill that evolves with time and practice. Embrace the learning process, and remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. By understanding the basics, identifying your face shape, and practicing blending techniques, you’ll soon master the art of contouring and elevate your makeup game.