The Power of Contouring

Contouring is the art of creating illusions on the face by using makeup to highlight, sculpt and accentuate features.  Contouring is an important makeup step but its not necessary to contour each and every area of your face.  It’s different for everyone depending on your specific face shape and features.  Just look at yourself in the mirror and identify where your face needs it.  Understanding your face is the first step to truly understanding how to contour.

Contouring balances the face shape and its features.  Psychologically beauty is directly related to symmetry as we naturally find symmetrical faces more beautiful. Further more, contouring also helps the face to look more photogenic.

Contouring literally has the power to transform faces. 


 What Does Contouring Do?


  • Defines the cheekbones
  • Defines the jawline/chin
  • Reduces the look of a “double” chin
  • Shortens a large forehead
  • Straightens, narrows or minimizes a larger nose.
  • Lift sagging eyes

What you will Need

  • A Contouring Brush – is used for giving shape and definition to the face.  It also helps to give a smooth surface for blush and powder.


  • Contouring – A color that is two shades darker than your foundation.  You can use bronzer, darker foundation or a contouring powder.  It can be a liquid, cream or powder form.


  • Highlight – A color that is one to two shades lighter then your foundation.  You can use light colored eyeshadow, a lighter foundation or a highlighter.


  • Illuminizer – Many people get confused but there is a difference between highlighter and illuminizer.  Illuminzers add shine while highlighters lift the color.



Pro Tips

Its recommended to use contouring/highlighting powders instead of bronzers and foundations as contouring/highlighting powders are MADE for the purpose of contouring and will look the most natural.  Also opt for powder or cream formulas, as they are the easiest to use. 

Recommended Highlighters – High beam & Watts Up from Benefit

Recommended Contours



Anastasia Beverly Hills


MAC Pro Contouring Powders


MAC Studio Finish Concealer (Deep Dark)


How to Contour & Highlight


Take a look at the picture above as a guideline as to where to apply the contour (brownish) and highlighting (whitish) colors.  Use a brush, sponge or your fingers but its recommended to use a brush for powder contouring and a sponge for cream contouring.  Blend the lines of color into the skin making sure there are no harsh lines or obvious streaks of color.  The skin should look slight shaded or highlighted not as if there is an obvious color applied to the skin.

It just takes a little practice to figure out how much contouring your face needs and to make sure everything is naturally blended into the skin.  Contouring and highlighting look best under indirect or “evening” lighting so if you are going somewhere really bright keep it simple or simply just skip it.


The power of contouring…



 Photo from Pinterest

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