How to Contour Your Face

Contouring and highlighting originated in the drag community decades ago to shape the face with makeup. But since the 2000s, the mainstream beauty industry has picked up the technique, so anyone can achieve a chiselled look or change the appearance of their face shape. 

Contouring and highlighting should be personalised according to the features of your face. The goal is to enhance your best facial qualities and create a natural finish, instead of altering your face shape. So these steps are not instructions but simply guidelines to help define your contouring routine according to your face shape.

Contouring for an Oblong Or Oval Face Shape

An oblong or oval face shape is a combination of round and square. Although oval and round faces have similar round jawlines, oval faces are more elongated, with the forehead typically being the widest area.

Contour

Shade along your hairline to give the illusion of a smaller forehead. Then shade below your cheekbones from your ears down to your cheeks. Then, apply contour just below the chin. Remember to keep it soft on the chin; otherwise, it will look a bit like a beard. 

Highlight

Highlight under your eyes, forming an upside-down triangle shape. You can also use blush to highlight your cheeks. Dab your favourite blush on the apples of your cheekbones and below your chin to bring your best attributes forward.

Contouring for a Heart Face Shape

A heart-shaped face typically has a narrow and pointed chin. Your cheeks are also slimmer than your hairline. This face shape needs minimal contouring as it already has impressive angles.

Contour

Apply shade on the sides of your forehead and temples to counterbalance the wide upper half and narrow lower half of your face. You can also chisel your cheekbones more and bring the lower chin up to the point.

Highlight

Highlight under your eyes with an upside-down triangle shape. You can also apply highlighter in the middle of your forehead and chin. Try dabbing a touch of blush or bronzer on your cheeks for some colour, and you’re ready to go.

Contouring for a Round Face Shape

Round faces are usually shorter and relatively symmetrical, with your cheekbones being the widest part of your face. As a result, your features are often softer and more rounded. Sometimes, you can lose definition after putting on your base foundation. Hence, for a round-shaped face, the key is to create shadows and emphasise the angles of your face.

Contour

Apply shade around the sides of your forehead. Bring them down to the temples to form a “C” on each side. For your cheeks, a good trick is to suck your face in to find the hollows in your face. Use this guide to shade below your cheekbones from the ear to the middle of your cheeks. Then continue down your jawline to add some length to your face.

Highlight

Apply some highlights under your eyes in an upside-down triangle shape. Don’t be shy with applying highlighter to your forehead and chin to bring out these features.

Contouring for a Square or Rectangular Face Shape

A square-shaped face has well-defined angles on your temples, cheekbones, and jawlines halfway from the centre of the face. Often the goal is to soften defined edges and round out your angular features. 

Contour

Lightly brush a light contour shade along your forehead, lower cheekbones and jawline, and blend well. You don’t need to apply contour to your hairline or temples, though you can if you want to. 

Highlight

Highlight your forehead, chin and nose bridge to elongate your face. Add some highlighter under your eyes and below the corners of your mouth to add height to your face.

Bring Out Your Best Features!

The contour shades are supposed to balance out your face’s more pronounced areas and define your cheekbones. On the other hand, highlighting brings out different parts of your face and brightens up your eye area. Don’t forget, contouring is not about changing your face but bringing out your best features.

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