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Advanced Contouring: Dramatic Transformations

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Different steps of facial contouring make-up application
© llhedgehogll / Adobe Stock

The technique called “Contouring'” is widely thought to be the most daunting aspect of makeup, and many people believe that only celebrities with teams of makeup experts can rock this look. In a previous article, Basic Contouring Steps for a Celebrity Look, I tried to explain the basics of contouring, in which I outlined for you all the products you would need and how to start contouring your face. I hope when you come to this post, you are already familiar with the basics, and you no longer think of contouring as a demon.

Today, I want to take it one step further. I will discuss how you can perfect and fine-tune your techniques to get the best results. So, read on!

Choosing the Right Products

For a perfectly contoured face, you need products that work well with your skin. You can choose either a cream or a powder, as both have their advantages. While powders are easier to blend and layer, a cream will give you a more natural finish. For beginners, powers are a great way to start exploring, and you can conquer the land of cream contours later.

Whichever contouring product you choose, make sure that it is only 1 or 2 shades darker than your skin tone. If you pick a darker shade, it will be a nightmare to blend in, and you will end up with a patchy result. You should also stay away from orange or brown bronzers and stick to ashy and cool-toned shades that can add depth to your face.

When choosing a highlighter, opt for one that contains minimal glitter so it can mimic the natural tone of your face. A shimmery highlighter doesn’t give a natural look, and it won’t blend with your face.

Determining Your Face Type

There is no one-size-fits-all rule in contouring, so to get the most flawless finish, you should adjust your makeup according to your face. Don’t be scared, though, because you can easily determine your face shape by looking in the mirror (or by asking a friend to do it for an unbiased opinion).

What works for one face type may not flatter another type, so below are some general guidelines according to your face shape.


Face contouring details for an oval face

© Екатерина Исаева / Adobe Stock

The oval shape benefits most from the classic shape type of contouring. Start shading from your hairline to under your cheekbones and then across your jawline to make the shape of a “3” on your face.


Face contouring details for a square-shaped face

© Екатерина Исаева / Adobe Stock

Try adding more contour to the forehead and angles of the jaw while keeping the cheekbones subtle. This pattern provides a slimming effect on the face.


Face contouring details for a round face

© Екатерина Исаева / Adobe Stock

You’ll want to give the effect of an elongated face, and this can be achieved by contouring in the basic “3, like for the oval face,” but avoiding your chin so it can become long elongated and defined.

Heart-Shaped Face

Face contouring details for a heart-shaped face

© Екатерина Исаева / Adobe Stock

Add more contour to the forehead and chin to narrow them down, with minimum contouring on the jawline because it is already slim. Balancing your face in this way gives it an oval shape.


Face contouring details for a rectangular face

© Екатерина Исаева / Adobe Stock

A rectangular face is elongated and wide, so you should focus more on the forehead and the chin to make it look balanced. Contour your cheekbones while keeping the strokes horizontal to add depth to your face.


Perhaps the most critical tip for any beginner is to blend and blend until you achieve a seamless finish. You don’t want to add lines to your face visible from miles away, as it will not accomplish the goal you had in mind. Invest in a good makeup sponge or flat brush to flawlessly blend your contouring. For highlighters, a fan brush is an excellent option as it subtly adds light to the face without making you look like a light-pulsing quasar.

Contouring can be overwhelming, but if you invest in the right products and work according to your face shape, you can achieve the impressive results you see on celebrities. So do give it a try, and you may be pleasantly surprised!

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