Contouring 101

For those of us who have no idea how to do it or where to start…

We all have probably seen how contouring has blown up everywhere on social media-people drawing crazy lines all over their faces to somehow blend it away into chiseled perfection. Many of those intrigued by this trend aren’t necessarily makeup artists or Instagram makeup gurus, so they try it for themselves and end up looking like a muddy mess. Here are some common questions you need answered so you can properly create some of this bone-structure changing magic:

What is it?

Contouring works by bringing back the bone structure of your face.  It imitates a shadow, so you would contour anything that you want to recede.  Highlighter is used to bring attention to what you want to stand out.  For example, you contour under your cheekbone and highlight on top of it to make the bone appear more chiseled–the highlight and contour work together to bring out that cheekbone.  This works anti-aging magic, so it is definitely worth learning!

Where do I apply it?

Contouring is usually done on the outer areas of the face-to keep it simple, and the “figure 3” makes it easy to remember-connect 3 points on your face: sides of the forehead, under the cheekbone, and under the jawline.  This forms a large figure of the number 3 on your face.  You can also contour your nose for a slimming effect.

What color do I use?

Aim for a color that isn’t too warm and is 2 shades darker than your skin tone-this is very important because you are trying to create fake shadows. Shadows do not have a warm tone to them. However, some bronzers do occasionally have cooler, less orange tones in them that can be used to contour with. For a warmer contour, try Mineral Sheer Matte Bronzer in Sunkissed. For a cooler, more chiseled looking contour, try Sand or Mocha Beige Dual Active Powder (on sale now!) or even my matte eyeshadow in Cedar.

Powder or cream?

Whatever your preference is. Try experimenting with both and see which finish you prefer. Cream contour tends to look more natural because it doesn’t sit on top of the skin as much. If you want an intense contour, layer the powder over the cream to set it and intensify. Remember: always use cream before powder, wet before dry, otherwise your makeup may end up looking really patchy!

Is it the same for every face shape?  

Contrary to popular belief, no. The same general areas are usually contoured (that figure 3 shape) but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, some people have round faces, square faces, crooked noses to correct, etc. that will make each face slightly different.

Do I apply it over or under foundation?

Typically contouring is done over foundation, but if you want a very natural contour, you can apply under foundation.

Still Confused?

I am here to help! If you want to learn exactly how to contour your face or which products to use, please talk to me and I will dial you in. Also, check out my quick contouring tutorial video on my Facebook page and on my Instagram if you would like to have a visual of the figure 3 technique!