How to Contour

How To Contour in 2023? Tips and Tricks for a Flawless Look

Contouring has become an increasingly popular makeup technique over the past few years, thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who have popularized the look. But what exactly is contouring, and how can you achieve a flawless, sculpted look without looking overdone or fake?

In essence, contouring involves using makeup to create shadows and highlights on your face, which can help to enhance your natural bone structure and create the illusion of a slimmer, more defined look. With the right tools, products, and techniques, anyone can learn how to contour like a pro, regardless of their face shape or skin type.

However, contouring can also be challenging for beginners, with so many different products and techniques to choose from. That’s why in this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about how to contour, from choosing the right tools and products to applying contour like a pro. Whether you’re a makeup newbie or a seasoned pro, read on to learn how to create a flawless, sculpted look with contouring.

What is Contouring?

Contouring is commonly used to create a more defined jawline, slim down the nose, and enhance the cheekbones. It can be done with various products, including powders, creams, and liquids, and can be adapted to suit any face shape and skin type. 

It uses makeup products darker than your natural skin tone to create shadows, which are blended to give the illusion of depth and structure.

Why Contouring Has Become Popular

Contouring has become a popular makeup technique in recent years due to its ability to transform a person’s face by enhancing their natural features. Beauty influencers and makeup artists share their contouring techniques, products, and tutorials, making it easier for people to learn how to contour themselves.

Another reason why contouring has become popular is because it allows people to have more control over their appearance. With the right contouring techniques, people can create the illusion of a slimmer face, a sharper jawline, and higher cheekbones. Face contouring can be used to conceal blemishes and imperfections, making it a versatile technique.

How to Contour?

It is one of most common question about contouring ”How to Contour?”. Well, there are several methods for it. We’ll start from the tools and products required for it then we’ll discuss how you can prepare your skin for it then move towards different techniques you can use to contour your skin.

Tools and Products for Contouring

If you want to learn how to contour your face like a pro, one of the first things you’ll need to do is invest in the right tools and products. While there are countless contouring products on the market, not all are created equal, and some may work better for your skin type or desired look than others. In this section, we’ll cover the different tools and products you’ll need for contouring, as well as tips for choosing the right shades and textures for your skin.

Tools for Contouring

  1. Contour Brush: A contour brush is essential for applying and blending contour products. Look for a small, dense, and angled brush, as this will allow you to apply the product precisely and blend it seamlessly. Some popular contour brushes include the Morphe M530, Real Techniques Sculpting Brush, and the Sigma F40.
  2. Beauty Blender: A beauty blender is a makeup sponge that can be used to apply and blend contour products. It’s great for creating a natural, airbrushed finish and is especially useful for blending cream contour products. Some popular beauty blenders include the Original Beautyblender, Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, and the Juno & Co Microfiber Velvet Sponge.
  3. Fan Brush: A fan brush is a great tool for applying highlighter or bronzer. It’s a soft, fluffy brush that is perfect for dusting product onto the high points of your face, such as your cheekbones and brow bone. Some popular fan brushes include the Morphe M310, Real Techniques Fan Brush, and the Sigma F42.
  4. Sponge: A sponge can be used to apply and blend both cream and powder contour products. It’s a versatile tool that can be used to achieve various finishes, from natural to full coverage. Some popular sponges include the Beauty Blender, Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, and the Morphe Highlight & Contour Sponge.

Products for Contouring

  • Contour Powder: Contour powders are great for creating a natural, subtle contour. They come in various shades and can be applied with a contour brush. Look for a matte powder to create a more realistic shadow effect. Some popular contour powders include the Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer, and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Powder.
  • Contour Cream: Contour creams create a more dramatic, sculpted look. They are applied with a brush or sponge and can be blended to create a seamless finish. Look for a cream that is easy to blend and buildable so that you can achieve your desired level of intensity. Some popular contour creams include the Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick, Kevyn Aucoin’s The Contour Book Volume III, and the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate.
  • Contour Stick: Contour sticks are a great option for quick and easy contours. They are applied directly to the skin and can be blended with a brush or sponge. Look for a creamy and blendable stick, as this will make it easier to create a seamless finish. Some popular contour sticks include the Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer Stick, Nars The Multiple in Altai, and the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand.
  • Contour Palette: A contour palette is a great option for those who want multiple shades and textures. They usually include both powder and cream formulas, as well as shades for contouring and highlighting. Look for a palette with shades that suit your skin tone and desired look. Some popular contour palettes include the Tarteist Contour Palette, the ABH Powder Contour Kit, and the Kevyn

Preparing Your Skin for Contouring

If you want to achieve a flawless, natural-looking contour, it’s important to start with a clean, well-prepped canvas. Preparing your skin for contouring can make a significant difference in the final outcome, helping your products to blend seamlessly and stay put throughout the day. In this section, we’ll cover the steps you should take to prep your skin for contouring, including cleansing, moisturizing, and priming.

Cleansing

Before you apply any makeup, it’s important to start with a clean canvas. Cleansing your skin will help to remove any dirt, oil, and debris clogging your pores, leading to breakouts and uneven makeup application. To cleanse your skin, start by wetting your face with warm water, then apply a dime-sized amount of your favorite cleanser. Gently massage the cleanser into your skin using circular motions, then rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Moisturizing

After cleansing your skin, moisturizing is essential to keep your skin hydrated and nourished. It  can help to prevent dryness and flakiness, making it difficult to blend your contour products. Choose a moisturizer that is appropriate for your skin type, whether that be oily, dry, or combination. Apply a dime-sized amount of moisturizer to your skin and gently massage it into your face and neck using upward motions.

Priming

Priming is an important step in preparing your skin for contouring, as it helps to create a smooth, even base for your makeup. They  can also help extend your makeup’s wear time, ensuring that your contour stays in place all day long. Choose a primer that is appropriate for your skin type and concerns, whether that be oil control, hydration, or color correction. Apply a small amount of primer to your face and blend it with your fingers or a brush.

Choosing the Right Products

When it comes to contouring, choosing the right products is key to achieving a natural, seamless look. Consider your skin type and concerns when selecting your products, as well as the type of look you want to achieve. 

For example, if you have dry skin, you may want to opt for a cream contour product, while those with oily skin may prefer a powder formula. Consider your skin tone when selecting your contour shades, as well. You want to choose a shade that is one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone, but not so dark that it looks unnatural or harsh.

Applying Contour

Once your skin is prepped and your products are selected, it’s time to apply your contour. There are a variety of different techniques you can use to apply contour, from the traditional three shape to the draping method. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to apply your contour gradually and blend it well to avoid any harsh lines or unevenness. Start by applying a small amount of product, then build up as needed until you achieve your desired level of intensity. Blend using a brush, sponge, or your fingers, depending on the texture of your contour product.

Setting Your Contour

After applying your contour, it’s important to set it to ensure that it stays in place all day. Use a translucent powder or a powder that matches your skin tone to set your contour, using a fluffy brush to apply. It will help to lock your contour in place and prevent any smudging or fading throughout the day.

Basic Contouring Techniques

Have you ever wondered how celebrities always seem to have perfectly sculpted cheekbones and defined jawlines? The secret lies in the art of contouring. 

Whether you’re a makeup newbie or a seasoned pro, mastering basic contouring techniques can enhance your facial features and give you a flawless, photo-ready look. Here are some basic contouring techniques:

The Traditional Three Shape

The traditional three shape is a classic contouring technique that involves creating a three shape on your face using contour and highlight products. 

  • How to contour face? Apply a small amount of contour product to the hollows of your cheeks, along your temples, and under your jawline. 
  • Next, apply a highlight product to the high points of your face, including your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and your forehead. 
  • Blend well using a brush or sponge, taking care to create a seamless transition between the contour and highlight products.

The Draping Method

The draping method is a contouring technique that involves using blush to create a sculpted, defined look. 

  • Select a blush shade that is a few shades darker than your natural skin tone. 
  • Apply the blush to the hollows of your cheeks, along your temples, and under your jawline, blending well to create a natural-looking contour. 
  • Next, apply a lighter blush shade to the high points of your cheeks, blending well to create a seamless transition between the two shades.

The Reverse Contour

The reverse contour technique uses highlight products to create a more sculpted look. 

  • To begin, apply a small amount of highlight product to the center of your forehead, down the bridge of your nose, and to the high points of your cheeks. 
  • Blend well, creating a seamless transition between the highlight and natural skin. 

This technique can help to create a more defined, lifted appearance to the face.

Contouring the Cheeks

Contouring the cheeks is a popular technique that can help to define and sculpt your cheekbones. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Choose a contour product 1-2 shades darker than your natural skin tone.
  • Suck in your cheeks to find the hollows and apply the contour product in a diagonal line from the top of the ear to the corner of the mouth.
  • How to blend contour makeup? Blend the product with a blending brush or sponge to avoid harsh lines.
  • Apply highlighter to the tops of your cheekbones to make them pop.

Contouring the Nose

How to contour your nose? Contouring the nose can help to create the illusion of a slimmer, more defined nose. Here are the steps of the nose contour guide:

  • Choose a contour product 1-2 shades darker than your natural skin tone.
  • Apply the product down the sides of your nose, starting from the brow bone and ending at the tip.
  • Use a blending brush or sponge to blend the product in and avoid any harsh lines.
  • Apply a highlighter down the bridge of your nose to create a more lifted look.

Contouring the Forehead and Temples

Contouring the forehead and temples can help to create a more defined and sculpted appearance to the face. Here are the following steps:

  • Choose a contour product 1-2 shades darker than your natural skin tone.
  • Apply the product to the temples and upper edges of the forehead.
  • Use a brush or sponge to blend the product and create a seamless transition between the contour and natural skin.
  • Apply a highlighter to the center of your forehead and down the bridge of your nose to create a more lifted look.

Contouring the Jawline and Chin

Contouring the jawline and chin can help to create the illusion of a more defined and sculpted jawline. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Choose a contour product that is 1-2 shades darker than your natural skin tone.
  • Apply the product along the jawline and under the chin.
  • Use a blending brush or sponge to blend the product in and avoid any harsh lines.
  • Apply highlighter to the tops of your cheekbones and down the center of your chin to create a more lifted look.

Note:

Blending is key to achieving a natural-looking, flawless finish with contouring. Take the time to experiment with different techniques and products to find what works best for you, and be bold and play around with different styles and looks. With some practice, you can master the art of contouring and create a sculpted, defined look that will leave you feeling confident and camera-ready.

Advanced Contouring Techniques

Once you’ve mastered the basics of contouring, it’s time to take your skills to the next level with advanced techniques. Whether you want to create a more dramatic look or highlight and contour other parts of your body, these advanced techniques will help you achieve a flawless, sculpted appearance.

Creating a More Dramatic Contour

If you’re looking to create a more dramatic contour, there are a few techniques you can use to achieve a more defined, chiseled look:

  • Choose a contour product that is 2-3 shades darker than your natural skin tone to create a more intense look.
  • Apply the contour product in layers, gradually building up the intensity of the color.
  • Use a smaller brush to apply the contour product more precisely, focusing on areas such as the cheekbones, temples, and jawline.
  • Blend the product carefully, using a blending brush or sponge to avoid any harsh lines.

Highlighting and Strobing

Highlighting and strobing are techniques that involve using a light-reflecting product to create a more luminous, radiant look. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Choose a highlighter that complements your skin tone and apply it to the high points of your face, such as the cheekbones, brow bone, and cupid’s bow.
  • For a more intense look, use a strobing product to create a brighter, more reflective finish.

Contouring Other Parts of the Body (Collarbone, Arms)

Contouring isn’t just for your face – you can also use it to sculpt and define other body parts. Here are some tips for contouring other areas:

To Contour your Collarbone

  • Apply a contour product in a diagonal line from the base of your neck to your shoulder.
  • Use a brush or sponge to blend the product well, creating a seamless transition between the contour and your skin.
  • If desired, apply a highlighter to the tops of your collarbones to enhance the natural contour of the area.

To Contour your Arms

  • Apply a contour product in the hollows of your arms, starting at the top and working your way down towards your elbows.
  • Use a brush or sponge to blend the product well, ensuring no harsh lines or edges.
  • For a more defined look, apply a highlighter to the tops of your arms and blend well, creating a natural gradient effect.
  • Be sure to blend the contour and highlighter products well, to create a seamless finish that looks natural and subtle.
  • Remember to take a step back and assess your work from a distance to ensure that the contour and highlighter are applied evenly and look balanced on both arms.

Contouring for Different Face Shapes

Contouring is a versatile makeup technique that can enhance and highlight your face’s natural features. However, how you contour your face will depend on your unique face shape. In this section, we will explore how to contour for different face shapes, including round, square, heart-shaped, and oval faces.

How to Contour a Round Face?

For round faces, contouring aims to create the illusion of a slimmer, more defined face shape. Here are the steps to contour a round face:

  • Apply a contour product along the temples and hairline to create a more angular appearance.
  • Use the same contour product to create a shadow along the jawline, blending downwards to make a face appear longer and slimmer.
  • Apply a highlighter to the center of the forehead, the nose’s bridge, and the cheeks’ apples to bring attention to the center of the face.

Contouring for Square Faces

Square faces typically have a strong, defined jawline and a wider forehead. The aim of contouring for square faces is to soften the angles of the face and create a more oval shape. Here are the steps to contour a square face:

  • Apply a contour product to the corners of the forehead and blend downwards towards the temples to create a more narrow forehead.
  • Use the same contour product to create a shadow along the jawline and blend downwards towards the chin to soften the angles of the face.
  • Apply a highlighter to the center of the forehead, the nose’s bridge, and the cheeks’ apples to create a more oval appearance to the face.

Contouring for Heart-Shaped Faces 

Heart-shaped faces typically have a wider forehead and a more pointed chin. The aim of contouring for heart-shaped faces is to balance the proportions of the face and create a more defined jawline. Here are the steps to contour a heart-shaped face:

  • Apply a contour product to the temples and hairline to create a more narrow appearance to the forehead.
  • Use the same contour product to create a shadow along the sides of the face, blending downwards towards the jawline to create a more defined jawline.

Contouring for Oval Faces 

Oval faces are typically considered the most balanced and proportionate face shape, with soft features and a slightly rounded chin. The aim of contouring for oval faces is to enhance the face’s natural features without altering the overall shape. Here are the steps to contour an oval face:

  • Apply a contour product to the hollows of the cheeks, blending upwards towards the temples to enhance the cheekbones.
  • Use the same contour product to create a shadow along the jawline, blending downwards towards the chin to create a more defined jawline.
  • Apply a highlighter to the center of the forehead, the nose’s bridge, and the cheeks’ apples to bring attention to the center of the face.

Contouring for Different Skin Types

Contouring can enhance your features and give your face a more defined look. However, the techniques and products you use for contouring may vary depending on your skin type. Here’s a guide to contouring for different skin types:

Contouring for Dry Skin

Dry skin can be challenging to contour because it tends to flake and look patchy with powder-based products. Here are some tips for contouring dry skin:

  • Use cream-based products: Cream-based contour products are perfect for dry skin as they blend easily and add moisture to the skin. Apply your contour product with a brush or your fingers, blending it seamlessly into your skin.
  • Moisturize your skin: Before applying your contour, make sure to moisturize your skin well. This will help your skin look smooth and hydrated.
  • Avoid powder-based products: Powder-based contour products can make your skin look dry and cakey. If you prefer to use powder-based products, make sure to moisturize your skin well before applying them.

Contouring for Oily Skin

Oily skin can be a challenge to contour because it tends to produce excess oil, causing makeup to slide off the face. Here are some tips for contouring oily skin:

  • Use powder-based products: Powder-based contour products work well on oily skin as they help absorb excess oil and prevent your makeup from sliding off your face. Apply your contour with a brush, blending it seamlessly into your skin.
  • Use a primer: Use a mattifying primer before applying your contour to keep your skin looking matte and prevent excess oil production.
  • Set your makeup: After applying your contour, set it with a powder or setting spray to keep it in place all day.

Contouring for Combination Skin

Combination skin can be tricky to contour because it tends to have dry and oily areas. Here are some tips for contouring combination skin:

  • Use cream-based products on dry areas: For the dry areas of your skin, use cream-based contour products. They blend easily and add moisture to the skin.
  • Use powder-based products on oily areas: For the oily areas of your skin, use powder-based contour products. They help absorb excess oil and keep your skin looking matte.
  • Set your makeup: After applying your contour, set it with a powder or setting spray to keep it in place all day.

Contouring for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin can be challenging to contour because it tends to react to many makeup products. Here are some tips for contouring sensitive skin:

  • Use fragrance-free products: Fragrance can irritate sensitive skin. Look for fragrance-free contour products.
  • Test products before use: Before using a new contour product, test it on a small area of your skin to see if it causes any irritation.
  • Use gentle brushes: Use gentle brushes when applying your contour to avoid irritating your skin.
  • Choose gentle cleansers: When removing your makeup, choose a gentle cleanser that won’t irritate your skin.

By following these tips, you can contour your skin perfectly, regardless of your skin type. Remember to choose the right products and techniques that suit your skin type to achieve the best results.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Contouring is a skill that requires practice and patience. However, even experienced makeup artists can make mistakes. Here are some common contouring mistakes you should avoid:

  1. Using the wrong shade of contour: It is essential to use the right shade of contour for your skin tone. If the shade is too dark, it can look muddy and unnatural. If the shade is too light, it will not create the desired effect.
  2. Applying too much product: One of the biggest mistakes people make is applying too much product. When you apply too much product, it can look harsh and unnatural. It is better to start with a small amount and build up gradually.
  3. Blending incorrectly: Blending is crucial when it comes to contouring. If you do not blend your contour properly, it can look patchy and uneven. Use a blending brush or sponge to blend your contour seamlessly into your skin.
  4. Neglecting to blend the edges: It is essential to blend the edges of your contour so there are no harsh lines. Use a blending brush or sponge to soften the edges of your contour and make it look more natural.
  5. Contouring in the wrong places: Contouring is about enhancing your features, but it is essential to know where to contour. Avoid contouring areas that do not need to be contoured, as it can make your makeup look too heavy and unnatural.

By avoiding these common contouring mistakes, you can achieve a flawless, natural-looking contour that enhances your features and makes you feel confident.

Tips for Long-Lasting Contour

If you’re spending time and effort on contouring, you want it to last all day. Here are some tips for long-lasting contour:

  1. Prep your skin: Start by prepping your skin with a good moisturizer and primer. It will create a smooth base for your makeup and help it stay in place all day.
  2. Use long-wear products: Look for contour products that are long-wearing and waterproof. These products will withstand heat, humidity, and sweat, ensuring your contour lasts all day.
  3. Set your contour: After applying your contour, set it with a powder or setting spray. It will lock in your makeup and prevent it from fading or smudging.
  4. Don’t touch your face: Avoid touching it throughout the day, as this can smudge your makeup and cause it to fade.
  5. Use a setting spray: Finish off your makeup with a setting spray. It will help your makeup last longer and keep it looking fresh all day.
  6. Avoid oily foods: Oily foods can make your skin produce more oil, causing your makeup to smudge and fade faster. Avoid oily foods on the day you wear contour to ensure it lasts longer.
  7. Touch up as needed: Carry a small touch-up kit with you, including your contour product and a blending brush. You can touch up your contour throughout the day to keep it looking fresh.

By following these tips, you can ensure your contour lasts all day and looks flawless from morning to night.

Final Thoughts

Contouring is a makeup technique that has become increasingly popular in recent years and with good reason. It allows you to enhance your natural features and achieve a more defined look that can suit any occasion.

By following the key points outlined in this article, such as choosing the right tools and products, preparing your skin, and mastering different techniques, you can create a flawless contour that complements your face shape and skin type. 

Avoid common mistakes and experiment to find what works best for you. With practice and patience, anyone can master the art of contouring. So why not give it a try for yourself and have fun with it?

FAQs

How do you contour for beginners?

To contour for beginners, start by choosing the right products and tools, preparing your skin, and following basic contouring techniques such as applying the shape of the number 3 or E on each side of your face.

Do you contour before or after the foundation?

It is recommended to contour after applying foundation, as it can help to blend the contour seamlessly into your makeup.

What are the steps for contouring?

The steps for contouring include prepping your skin, choosing and applying the right contour products and tools, blending, and highlighting to create a natural, defined look.

How do you know where to contour your face?

To know where to contour your face, it is essential to consider your face shape and choose areas you want to enhance or define, such as cheekbones, jawline, forehead, or nose.

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