Contouring took the world by storm a couple of years ago, and whilst many believed the craze to be a passing phase, years later we’re all still getting to know the ins and outs of contouring and how to work it best for our faces. It took me a while to figure out the best ways to contour for my own face. There were plenty of times I took my contour kit and ended up with a bigger nose than I started with. But now that I’ve figured out a few tips and tricks, it seems only right that I pass on my contours of wisdom…
First things first – it’s extremely important to remember that contouring is unique to you. Contouring is for the areas of your face that you want to draw in, and highlighting is for the areas of the face that you want to pop out. You are literally able to reconstruct your face with contouring. To make this makeup phenomenon just a little easier to fit into your makeup routine, I’ve devised a guide on how to contour each area of the face, so you don’t have to spend hours trying to find out how you made your nose look bigger than the one you started with!
Let’s Start Top To Bottom!
The forehead. We all have one, some of us have small foreheads, some large, and some larger. If you have a larger forehead than you’d like, simply contour around the perimeter of the face. This will make the perimeter of the forehead smaller. This is also a contouring trick for those with an oblong facial structure, as it will shorten the face.
For those with a heart or circular bone structure, contour your temples and the vertical sides of the forehead. This will slim down the forehead and help to slim down your entire face. If you’d like to contour the tip of the forehead to add warmth, this wouldn’t jeopardise the slimming facial structure you’re trying to achieve.
Unless you have a small forehead, there is no need to highlight the centre of the forehead with a lighter shade of concealer. Your foundation in contrast to the contour is highlighting enough. If you have a small forehead, don’t contour. Instead highlight the centre of the forehead with a lighter foundation, blending it out toward the perimeter.
Yes, You Can Contour Your Eyes…
Your eyes are a central feature in the face, and whilst most of us are trying to make our eyes stand out more with makeup some of us may want to soften the appearance of our eyes. Whichever way you want to go, there’s a simple solution.
If you want your eyes to stand out more, simply apply a light concealer to the crease of the eyelids, and set it with translucent powder. With a blending brush, apply highlighter to the crease area in circular motions. This is a subtle way to enhance the eyelids on a day-to-day basis. A little highlighter in the tear ducts also brighten the eyes, which go a long way! But if you’re going out in the evening and want to vamp up your eyes whilst making them appear bigger, opt for a light absorbing colour for the eyelids, with a softened dark colour in the crease to make the eyes bolder.
On the other hand, if what you’re wanting to achieve is to bring less attention to the eyes, sweep just a little of your bronzer over the eyelids to draw them in during the day. For the evenings opt for a dark eyeshadow to make the eyes appear a little flatter. You can also contour the eyes with dark eyeliner around the perimeter of the water lines, up and down!
Let’s Get Down To Business
The nose is the most difficult area of the face to contour. But it doesn’t have to be. What’s difficult about contouring the nose is figuring out where to put your lines. Once you’ve got that down, it’s easy as pie. Before I start, I advise contouring the bridge of your nose, only if you need to. If the width of the bridge isn’t wide, don’t contour your nose. A thin bridge looks just as bad as a wide one, if you ask me… Oh, and set the foundation on your nose with a light stroke of setting powder before you start!
To tackle the bridge of the nose, draw two thin lines on the bridge of the nose, from the eyebrow to the top of the tip of the nose. The thinner you draw the lines the thinner your nose will appear, and the closer the lines are, the thinner your bridge becomes.
If you wish the tip of your nose to be slightly upturned (not piggy looking) making the tip look smaller, draw a thin curved line over the start of the tip, but don’t drag the contour to the sides of the nostrils. And finally, to shorten your nose, simply draw two short, thin lines underneath the tip over the nostrils, as shown in the diagram above.
Take a fluffy small-medium sized blending brush and gently blend the contoured lines in small circular motions. The trick is to get the lines blended without buffing them out completely. Once you’re happy with your contour, take a small amount of highlighter and place a thin amount just underneath the curved line on the top of the tip, this will emphasise the lift of the tip of the nose.
Contouring the cheeks is used as a way to emphasise the cheek bones, and slimming down the face. I love bronzed cheeks, I think it adds just a touch of radiance and glow, brightening up the entire face, and I have two stages of contouring that can achieve that look.
First, with a matte contour draw a small indent into the cheek, directly underneath the cheekbone, around 3cm in length. This creates the hollowness underneath the cheekbones, allowing them to have a pop-out affect. Buff out the indent under the cheekbones lightly, without taking away the indent affect of the contour. This being said, if your cheekbones have a natural indent, you can skip this step – you don’t want you’re cheekbones to be too out there.
Once you’re happy with your contour, sweep over the area in a shimmered, orange-toned bronzer, taking it down to the cheeks. This is what creates the glow affect, and I even take this bronzer lightly sweeping it around the entire perimeter of my face. But for the cheeks, just sweep upwards into the outer perimeter of the temples.
It’s here, that you get to highlight your cheekbones, which doesn’t only make them pop, but also creates the dewy glow that we love so much!
The lips are such a central feature, and in this day and age the more plumped the better! I like this trend, because I naturally have quite thick lips (whoop!). But really, if you’re wanting to make your lips look a little juicier without the needles, simply highlight the top lip. This will highlight the shape of the lips, drawing attention to them. The bottom lip though, keep it lined dark, this will make the lips look fuller and a little droopy which makes them look heavy.
By drawing a small line underneath the drop of the bottom lip also creates a shadow, making them look fuller. Highlight the cupid’s bow too – you know the ridges that join your nose to your lips? making them appear more ridged makes your lips pop!
Depending on your facial shape, contouring your jaw line can really extenuate your facial features that you’re conscious about. For an oblong facial structure, contour just underneath the jawline, and highlight the jaw bones. This will make your jaw bones pop, evening out your facial structure.
For those with a strong or squared jawline, contour the jaws, which will take them back a little, making the facial structure look more oval. Similarly, for long facial structures, contour the entire line of the jaw and chin, to shorten the face, but remember to blend it our slightly into the beginning of the neck.
Those with an oval facial structure, I have a secret for you. Oval facial structures are supposedly the perfect facial structure, which is what contouring strives to achieve on every face, so no need to contour your jawline honey!
Contouring is all about the features you want to emphasise and the features you want to draw back – you’re literally creating shadows and light on the face to reconstruct it.
It takes some practice to find the right amount of blend and darkness for your contour to look realistic and well suited to you, but before you know it it’ll be something you can comfortably sweep onto your face on a daily basis (if you wanted to!).
Have a little fun with it, and if in doubt, start with powder!