So…You Want to Contour

This time of year, much more so than during the spring and summer, I like to contour my face to give it some extra shape and definition. Since contouring is a more complicated makeup technique I wanted to show you step-by-step how I do it.

Start with your foundation and powder on. I use powder products so having powdered my face before I start helps everything blend seamlessly.

foundation only

Next get out a matte bronzer or sculpting powder. I use Benefit Hoola which is basically the bees knees.

Benefit Hoola

Any old face brush will work well, but I like to use a smaller rounded one, like the Sigma F10.

Benefit Hoola and a Sigma F10

Get some product on the top, rounded part of your brush. Start at the top of your ear and point the brush straight up. Glance the brush from the top of your ear in a line down to the corner of your mouth, this is just for the angle.

start at the top of the ear

You should not bring your contour further forward than the outer corner of your eye. If you pull it too far down you will have a brown/taupe line on your cheek visible when you look at someone head on. This is not a good look. I know everyone has their own personal preferences about makeup, and it should be fun and personal, but this is one of those things that I just hold close to my heart. If you are contouring, this is how it is classically done, and it just looks the best this way. Keeping the color back behind your eye line will give you natural looking definition, that will always look believable.

Bronzer, you shall not pass!

Now, blend the line you laid up. Don’t really blend it down towards your jawline but rather up into your cheeks. Notice the contour does not extend past the outer corner of my eye.

all blended

 Next contour your temples, just swish some bronzer up there, this one is less technical. Just be sure to leave some space between the color and your brow.

almost done…

Finally, be sure to contour your jawline. If you did your temples this will help balance out your face, when contouring here put your brush on you jawline. Not above, not below. Stick those bristles right on the good stuff. This will ensure you don’t have a not so lovely line separating your face from your neck. Start by your ear and work your way down your jawline to the center of your face.

start by your ear
put your brush on the good stuff

In the picture below the left half of my face is contoured and the right is not, can you tell?

left half contoured, right half au-natural

Thats it! Repeat on the other side of your face. You can also contour your nose, but mine is defined enough for my taste (I think I have a big nose, I don’t like accentuating it).

all contoured!

What do you guys use to contour? Have any tips or tricks?


2 thoughts on “So…You Want to Contour

  1. Hey Natalie, great tutorial! I usually use MAC 168 and either a matte bronzer (like the bronzer half of Dior Coral Glow from this summer) or Chanel Notorious. It’s pretty much an essential step in my routine 😉


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