How to contour: How to do it and what you need to know
How to contour is one of beauty's biggest challenges. So here's our guide to getting snatched!
We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder .
It's safe to say contouring is a beauty trend that sky rocketed and doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It is a term that many know, however when it comes down to it, a lot really have absolutely no idea how to do it. Face contouring is the beauty trend where you use makeup to emphasise the contours of your face in order to look more angular and flattering. It's loved by multiple celebrities but really came to it's fame through the Kardashians who rock the snatched look all the time.
Contouring may seem as though it's incredibly intimidating but when broken down into simple steps, it's easier than it sounds and looks. Luckily for you, we've broken down the art of snatching your face into 5 super basic and easy steps for makeup beginners.
Contouring for beginners in 4 steps:
1. Map out your angles
Once you apply a primer and your foundation, nows the time to start mapping it out. The darker shade for your contour should be 2-3 shades darker than your actual skin tone in order to get the shadowed look. Don't apply too much product to start or else the next step will be too difficult. Once you've found your shade, take the product and apply it to the areas you want to contour. The main areas you should be applying the darker product is just slightly under your cheekbones, around your forehead, along your jaw line and down the sides of your nose.
2. Apply lighter shade on highlight areas
Next, highlight the highlight areas. In doing this you not only create more shape to your face and brighten the areas but you emphasise the contour you just laid down. You'll want to find a highlight shade that matches the undertone of your skin, whether it is neutral or has pink or yellow undertones. Take the product and apply it under your eyes in a triangle shape, the middle of your forehead, down the bridge of your nose and if you like a more dramatic look, under the darker shade on your cheekbone. The reason we place the light and dark shades in two steps is so the shades not mix together and go super muddy. Plus it allows you to clean up anywhere the darker shade went and we didn't want it to go.
3. Blend into contour
Now we want to blend this all together so it looks seamless and stunning. You can either use a beauty sponge or a buffer brush and blend this into the skin. Use a brush to blend in the darker shade, then a beauty blender to blend in the light shade. However, make sure you don't blend or place the products on top of each other or mix them together too much or else it will begin to look muddy and cakey and that's not a good look.
4. Set with a powder
We're so close to being done and you could pretty much be the sixth Kardashian sister. However, unless we set this stuff, it's going to melt off or transfer and all our hard work was for nothing. Therefore you'll want to set the highlighter areas with a loose translucent setting powder. The Laura Mercier is my personal favourite as it provides a flawless finish and no flashback. For your contour, take a bronzer that isn't too warm or cool toned and lightly dust this over the area. If you want a sharper look then apply a little more products. The Benefit Hoola Bronzer is a perfect in-between shade for this step!
Voila! You're done. Really, contouring is a case of practise makes perfect and it isn't as daunting as it sounds. Once you've learnt he shape of your face and get used to the process a little more, you'll be a whiz in no time.
What is contouring and why is it amazing?
Contouring was a term originally only used by makeup artists or big shot celebrities. However the trend became one that us every day mortals fell in love with. We've seen it all over the Internet and some crazy art tutorials but what actually is contouring?
Contouring your face is the purposeful application of makeup to alter the structure of your natural face shape. You use light and dark shades to create shadows and emphasise bone structure. A main reason people contour is the make their cheekbones stand out, forehead smaller, a more angular jaw line or their nose smaller.
Contouring is amazing as literally anyone can do it. It does depend on your face shape what kind of contouring you'd want to do but once you work that out it's pretty much easy sailing from there!
The dos and don'ts of contouring
Contouring for your face shape
1. Square face
If you have a square face it means that the measurements of all points of your face are fairly equal and your jaw line is sharp rather than round. To contour this face shape you'd want to apply your contour shade to the sides of the face on the cheekbones, forehead and also jaw line in an effort to lengthen the fact and make it look less square.
2. Round face
If you have a round face this means that your cheekbones and face length are equal as well as your forehead and jawline length. With a round face you want to put some more angles into your face, so emphasising your cheekbones with contour is one of the best ways to do this! You can also place a little around the temples and jawline to lengthen the face a little.
3. Oval face
An oval face means that your face is longer than it is wider creating an oval shape. You're jawline is also thinner than your forehead width. To even out your face mainly place the contour on your cheekbones as well as a small amount on your outer forehead. Then use highlighter to emphasise the high points of your face.
4. Oblong face
An oblong face is ever so slightly different to that of an oval. The face is again longer than it is wide and the chin is quite rounded rather than sharp. Therefore, you'd want to use your contour to sharpen your jawline as well as the top of your forehead to create a less rounded shape.
5. Heart face
Probably one the most ideal face shapes when it comes to contouring. The forehead and cheekbones are the widest part of a heart shaped face and the chin comes to a slight point. Here you can contour the cheeks slightly but if you go too heavy you can start looking a little gaunt. Also contour the edge of your forehead in order to slim the area and lengthen your face. The reason a heart shape face is ideal is because this is already the main shape people aim for when it comes to contouring.
6. Diamond face
For a diamond face the cheekbones are the widest point of the face with the forehead and jaw being close to each other in width, however the chin does come to a slight point. The main features of a diamond face are the prominent cheek bones so work with your contour to flaunt the natural curve of your face. Feel free to even place a small amount of contour on the temples.
Cream contouring vs powder contouring
Essentially, you can pretty much use both and I would. However, it is down to the person and the type of finish they're after.
Cream contouring is slightly easier as you have more control over the product and the placement. This is why is best for beginners. It also gives a much more seamless, natural and radiant finish compared to powder, which does look quite matte. Cream contouring is perfect for those with dry skin as it can not only be hydrating but won't emphasise dry areas like a powder will. In saying that, those who run on the oily side of things would want to use a powder to at least set the makeup so it doesn't move and so the oils of their skin don't eat up the product.
Powder contouring is incredibly similar to that of cream contouring, you still place the product in the same areas, you're just using a powder instead of a cream. Powders tend to look a little more glam and heavy duty, so if you're looking for a sharp contour then this is what you'll want to use. However, as stated above, the powder can emphasise dry skin, so if you run on the dry side, you'll want to make sure you moisturise your face and don't go too heavy handed with the product.
The best contouring makeup products
Contouring products don't necessarily come in only one product. There is an entire array of choices you can do in order to contour your face. Therefore we've broken down the type of contouring products and the best selling and most popular products of those categories.
Cream contouring kits:
tarteist™ PRO glow highlight & contour palette
Kat Von D Beauty
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Powder contouring kits:
Youngblood Contour Palette
ZOEVA Contour Spectrum Powder Palette
FENTY BEAUTY Match Stix Trio
BENEFIT Hoola Quickie Contour Stick
Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer
MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer
Shape tape contour concealer
KAT VON D BEAUTY Lock-It Concealer Crème
BECCA Aqua Luminous Perfecting Concealer
Other types of contouring
1. Nose contouring
Nose contouring is one of the most popular forms of contouring. It allows you to create the illusion that you're nose is small than it is. Whilst this doesn't necessarily work for a profile angle it definitely does when facing front on. When contouring you're nose it varies from person to person and the shape you're aiming for. Essentially, you want to place your dark contour shade on the sides of your nose. The closer these lines are, the smaller your nose will look. Plus, grabbing a little bit of highlighter and placing this on the tip of your nose and down the bridge will emphasise the look further.
2. Lip contouring
Unlike nose contouring, the point of lip contouring is to try and make your lips look as though they're bigger. This achieved using a liner and a lighter lipstick shade and an optional gloss. Using the liner, you'd want to follow the natural curve of your lips, but take the line slightly outside your natural lip line. Then use a light lip shade to create an ombre look, creating the illusion of bigger lips. This is a trend that came in significantly after Kylie Jenner and her all too famous lips after she stated the reason for their growth was over-lining. However it was later found out she'd had lip fillers.
3. Boob contouring
If you're someone who wouldn't mind rocking a little bit more cleavage then this is the trick for you. Complete honesty, you do need to have a little bit of boob to work with in order for this trick to work. The idea of this is to emphasise the already existing shadows in order to create a more chesty look. Even if you don't wantin to create some cleavage, this technique is perfect to emphasise your décolletage too! Using your contour and highlight shades as shown in the image, blend these in as you would normally and it's as simple as that! Just ensure you're not wearing light colours or else the makeup will probably rub onto your outfit.
4. Eye contouring
Contouring your eyes is pretty much the same as doing your eye makeup. However, there are certain ways to do your eye makeup that will flatter your eyeshape more! Using the guide you can see how you can apply eyeshadow to create a subtle contoured look but for your eyes!
Our top contouring video tutorials
1. How to contour for a medium skin tone
2. How to contour for deep skin
3. How to contour for pale skin
Where to buy contour products
Our favourite beauty sites to shop!
The advantage to shopping at Priceline is the wide variety – and the price point! Not only is the choice plentiful at Priceline, but you can also get yourself Sister points with a Priceline club membership to earn you greater value over time. Find brands like Revlon, Maybelline, Rimmel, L'Oréal, Models Own, NYX, Australis, Bourjois and more at Priceline.
You might think that Sephora is all high-end, but there are definitely some more affordable options stocked as well! Plus with free shipping for orders $55 and over, you can justify a higher price point for the value. Find brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, Kat Von D, Tarte, Make Up For Ever, Benefit Cosmetics, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs Beauty and more at Sephora.
eBay is a one-stop shop for all things beauty. With a range of global brands, the online marketplace is a great place to buy brand new makeup (and you can sell your items too). We recommend signing up to eBay Plus. It is a subscription service where you pay an annual fee to receive benefits such as free delivery, free returns, exclusive deals and more. That way, you can shop a range of beauty items without any guilt.
Don't underestimate Ry.com.au's eyeliner range – it stocks brands that you won't find at many other outlets. Plus, with free Australian delivery on all orders over $99, it's a great excuse to stock up! Find brands like BECCA, Eye of Horus, Illamasqua, Kryolan, Maybelline, mirenesse, Napoleon Perdis, Nude by Nature and more at Ry.com.au.
With so many daily specials and opportunities to save some cash, StrawberryNET is a great option to buy your eyeliner. It carries a lot of higher-end brands, and with the savings you'll definitely get great value. Find brands like Givenchy, Guerlain, Estée Lauder, Burberry, Chanel, Christian Dior, Kevyn Aucoin, Laura Mercier and more at StrawberryNET.
Chemist Warehouse may not be the place you'd expect to find a really great quality eyeliner, but you'd be surprised. It's great value at a lower price point and there are frequent beauty sales that slash the prices even further. Find brands like Maybelline, Manicare, L'Oréal, Revlon, Rimmel and more at Chemist Warehouse.
Tell us what you think on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @finderstyle.
Even more shopping deals
Ask an Expert