Published on January 3rd, 2023

Last updated on January 24th, 2023

Contouring Makeup For Beginners: Useful Tips For Looking Naturally

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
contouring makeup

If there is one word that has completely changed the approach to makeup in the last few years, it is contouring. Contouring continues to gain popularity around the world. It came to us from the world of haute couture and glamour. Makeup artists consider this technique to be almost omnipotent. Indeed, it can correct your facial features, making them more expressive and sculpted.

Many believe that Kim Kardashian was the first star who invented contouring lines face. Although a famous makeup artist invented this technique a very long time ago. Even in the early 20th century, Hollywood actresses of silent movies knew how to contour a face. Although that term was not in use. 

A lot of questions arise: “What is it for?” “What will you need for it?” “How to do contouring makeup?” We will talk about everything in detail in this article. 

What Products Do I Need For Contouring Lines Face?

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Both dry аnd creаm products аre used for cоntоurіng. Dry products include powder, highlighter, or blush. And cream products include makeup bases or BB cream. The first makes а matte surface, the latter a more glossy one.

It’s up to you which product to choose but consider your skin type and complexion. Use cream products if you have dehydrated skin and your makeup tends to peel into fine lines. Dry products are better for oily skin. If you are a beginner, it’s best to start with cream products, as they are easier to combine. 

So, for highlighting and contouring your face, you’ll need:

  • Your daily BB cream or foundation to create a base;
  • A cream product or a loose one like powder darker than your skin’s natural color. You need it to create contours. Sometimes sculptors include small glitters. They are invisible on their own, but they add versatility and depth to the color;
  • Product to highlight certain areas of the face. It may be a highlighter or bronzer. These products should be either matte or with a minimal glow;
  • Blush, to give your face a healthier look, as a final accent.

How To Choose Products For Contouring Cheeks?

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Now you need to choose a shade. You’ll need a product two to three tones darker than your skin for perfect contouring. In other words, if your skin is pale, don’t get a dark brown cоntоur – just “three steps” to a darker shade will suffice. Follow our tips for contouring below:

  • If you have fair skin, be careful with your shade choices. Too warm cinnamon or too orange will give you unnecessary redness, but cool brown is just right.
  • If you have normal or near-tan skin, use warmer shades. You have a wider range of products to choose from. So choose the one that works best for you by pre-tasting it on the inside of your wrist.
  • If you have dark skin, look for lighter-colored products for natural-looking contour. Applying to the bridge of the nose, cheekbones, and chin will create a reflected light effect. It will also highlight these areas of the face.

Tip #1: For quick and easy (daytime in particular) makeup, a contour stick will do. It is easy to combine and does not create heavy, clear lines.

Tip #2: If you don’t want to choose products for a long time, look at ready-made palettes. As a rule, they include one or two highlighters (sometimes also blush) and two sculptors – a dark and light shade. These products’ advantages are that they work well together. So working with them is a pleasure.

What Brush To Use For A Natural-looking Contour?

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The tooling depends primarily on the type of your product. Use warm fingers or a makeup sponge to dissolve liquid textures on your skin. Dry powders won’t work with your fingers – you’ll need a brush. The choice of brush will depend on the type of contouring lines face you prefer:

  • If you plan to make pointed cheekbones, choose a brush with stiff bristles. 
  • For smoother lines, a softer, fluffier brush will do. 
  • To contour small areas of the face, such as the sides of the nose, you’ll need a smaller brush. 
  • A professional makeup artist’s trick is the fan brush. It can be made by gripping an ordinary broad brush at the base with your finger as a fan. You can use it to contour along the chin.

We recommend using brushes made of natural materials. However, synthetic brushes are more affordable than natural ones due to their easier manufacturing processes. Choose at your discretion.

5 Tips On How To Do Contouring Makeup

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Having decided on the tools, let’s move on to the technique. Look carefully at your face – the cheekbones will be your reference points. Now you have to decide what parts of your face you would like to highlight.

Most often, these are the area under the jaw, the temples, and the hollows of the cheekbones. The sides of the nose and the hairline are two other areas that are often chosen for contouring makeup for beginners.

Modern makeup artists are moving away from the traditional highlighting of cheekbones. They prefer to leave the shape of the face more natural. This kind of contouring is also easier to do: the main thing is watching the face not turn out too flat. Look at different contouring techniques for several face types below.

Contouring For The Oval Face

Owners of an elongated oval face can try to reduce the forehead visually. To do this, you need to darken the line along the hair growth. Work through the temples if you have a wide forehead and want to make it visually narrower. 

You just need to step back a little from the hair and shade the product well. So, you will have natural looking contour. It is important to create a shadow effect, not a mask.

Contouring For A Triangular Face

A triangular face is a wide forehead and an elongated, slightly pointed chin. The task of cоntоurіng in this case is to visually smooth out the fоrehеаd width and expand the chin.

To do this, darken the temporal zone and the protrusions of the cheekbones – they will go into shadow. On the contrary, the sides of the chin need to be highlighted – to do this, apply a light highlighter around the edges.

Contouring For A Round Face

To make a rounded or full face visually thinner with the help of contouring cheeks, it is necessary to darken the area near the temples, lines under cheekbones, and the lower part of the chin. These dark areas should occupy a larger part than the brightening areas.

The final touch: use a highlighter for the forehead, the line and the nose tip, and the protruding part of the chin.

Contouring For A Square Face

A high forehead, wide cheekbones, and a heavy chin are signs of a square face. To make the chin visually lighter, add a dark natural-looking contour to the sides of the lower jaw.

Darken the corners of the forehead and flatten the prоduct alоng the chееkbоnes to sharpen them. You can use a highlighter in the center of the face to elongate them.

Contouring For A Rectangular Face

A rectangular face is, first of all, expressive cheekbones. We can say that girls with this type of face are already in an advantageous position – if they need to meet modern beauty standards. As for contouring, there are two options: to emphasize the features of the form further or try to smooth them out.

Accentuate cheekbones by contouring the face in the recesses of the cheekbоnes, under the bone, and highlight аrеаs of thе forehead and chin with а highlighting if you stick to the first way. Cоnversely, darken the cheekbone line wіth the cоntоur if you want to smооth out the оutlines.

Bottom Line 

The whole pоint of contouring makeup for beginners is to correct or change facial features with makeup. You can do it by creating a play of light and shadow. However, if in the past, makeup artists tried to bring the face shape to a single standard with a thin nose and sharp knife cheekbones and used standard schemes for this purpose, today we strive for naturalness and the acceptance of our features. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your style!


Do You Contour Before Or After The Foundation?

Cream contouring is applied over the foundation. You can do dry, dark contouring either under or on top of powder. The main rule is not to apply cream contouring over powder.

What Does Facial Contouring Do?

Contouring is a professional makeup technique that emphasizes the advantages of the face and hides the disadvantages: to “shape” it by highlighting the cheekbones and the nose bridge and shading the jawline and cheeks. The main principle of contouring is to create additional relief and volume.

What Is The Purpose Of Facial Contouring?

The purpose of contouring is to create shadows and highlights on the face with cosmetic products. There are many different techniques for contouring. They vary depending on the type of face and the desired result.

What Is The Purpose Of A Face Sculptor?

The sculptor transforms the face and makes its features more accurate. Also, it helps to hide the cheeks and draw out all the natural shadow areas on the face. The color of the sculptor should resemble the color of the natural shadow. So the most appropriate shade of the sculptor is a cool, muted brown with admixtures of gray and green.