How to Do Contour Makeup: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Mariah Brown

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Mariah Brown

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How to Do Contour Makeup: A Complete Guide for Beginners

how to do contour makeup

Contour makeup has taken the beauty world by storm, giving everyone the power to sculpt their features and enhance their natural beauty. But if you’re new to the world of contouring, the process can seem overwhelming. Don’t fret! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the steps, offer expert tips, and give you the confidence to master the art of contour makeup like a pro.

Are you ready to learn how to achieve those chiseled cheekbones and a perfectly defined jawline? Let’s dive in and discover the secrets of flawless contouring!

The Basics: Understanding Contour Makeup

Before we jump into the step-by-step process, let’s start with the basics. Contour makeup is all about creating shadows and highlights on your face to create depth and dimension. By strategically applying darker shades to recede certain areas and lighter shades to accentuate others, you can transform your face shape and enhance your facial features.

Here’s a breakdown of the key products you’ll need for contouring:

  • Contour Powder or Cream: This shade should be cooler and darker than your natural skin tone. It’s used to create shadows and sculpt your face.
  • Highlighter: Choose a shade that is slightly lighter than your skin tone. It will be used to bring forward and emphasize certain areas of your face.
  • Blending Brush: A soft and fluffy brush is essential for seamless blending and achieving a natural-looking contour.
  • Setting Powder: This translucent powder helps to set your contour and keep it in place throughout the day.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Contour Makeup

Step 1: Prep Your face

Start by prepping your face with a clean canvas. Cleanse, tone, and moisturize your skin before applying any makeup. This will ensure a smooth base and help your contour products blend seamlessly.

Step 2: Foundation

Apply your foundation as usual to even out your skin tone. Make sure to choose a shade that matches your skin perfectly for a seamless blend.

Step 3: Find Your Face Shape

Identifying your face shape is crucial for contouring. The most common face shapes are round, square, oval, heart, and diamond. Each shape requires a different contouring technique to enhance its natural features.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure about your face shape, stand in front of a mirror and outline your face shape using a washable marker or lipstick. This will give you a clear visual reference while contouring.

Step 4: Define Your Features

  • For a round face: Apply contour powder or cream along the outer edges of your face, blending it towards the center. This creates the illusion of a slimmer face shape.
  • For a square face: Focus the contour along your jawline and temples to soften the angles and add warmth.
  • For an oval face: Apply contour underneath your cheekbones, blending it upward towards your temples. This adds definition without dramatically changing your face shape.
  • For a heart-shaped face: Contour along the hairline and temples, sweep it down to the hollows of your cheeks, and blend towards your jawline.
  • For a diamond-shaped face: Apply contour along the temples, under the cheekbones, and lightly along the jawline to balance out the width of your forehead and chin.

Remember, blending is key! Use a light hand and blend out any harsh lines to create a natural-looking contour.

Step 5: Highlight and Illuminate

After contouring, it’s time to highlight! Apply your chosen highlighter to the high points of your face, such as the tops of your cheekbones, bridge of your nose, cupid’s bow, and brow bone. This will bring forward these areas and create a youthful glow.

Step 6: Set Your Contour

To ensure your hard work lasts all day, set your contour with a translucent setting powder. This step will help to lock everything in place and prevent any unwanted shine.

Troubleshooting Common Contouring Mistakes

Contouring can be tricky, especially for beginners. But fear not! Here are some common mistakes and how to fix them:

  • Mistake 1: Going Too Heavy: Remember, less is more when it comes to contouring. Start with a light hand and build up the intensity gradually.
  • Mistake 2: Using the Wrong Shade: Make sure the contour shade you choose is no more than two shades darker than your skin tone. Anything too dark can look unnatural.
  • Mistake 3: Forgetting to Blend: Blending is the key to a seamless contour. Invest in a good blending brush and take the time to blend out any harsh lines.
  • Mistake 4: Ignoring Your Face Shape: Different face shapes require specific contouring techniques. Tailor your contouring process to enhance your unique features.


Q: How can I choose the right contour shade for my skin tone?

A: When choosing a contour shade, go for a shade that is no more than two shades darker than your natural skin tone. Test it on your jawline or the back of your hand to ensure it blends seamlessly.

Q: Can contouring make my round face shape look slimmer?

A: Yes, contouring is a fantastic technique for creating the illusion of a slimmer face shape. By strategically shading the outer edges of your face, you can add definition and depth.

Q: Do I need expensive makeup products to contour effectively?

A: Not at all! There are fantastic contouring products available at every price point. It’s more about picking the right shades for your skin tone and mastering the blending technique.

Q: Should I contour every day, or is it only for special occasions?

A: Contouring is a personal choice. While it’s great for special occasions and photography, you can also incorporate a subtle contour into your everyday makeup routine. It’s all about what makes you feel confident!

Q: How can I make my contour last longer?

A: Setting your contour with a translucent powder is essential for longevity. Additionally, using a good-quality primer before applying foundation will create a smooth base and help your contour products adhere better.


Contouring doesn’t have to be intimidating! With the right products, techniques, and a little practice, you can achieve flawlessly sculpted features and enhance your natural beauty. Remember to start with a light hand, blend like a pro, and embrace your unique face shape.

Now that you have the knowledge and confidence to conquer the art of contour makeup, it’s time to let your creativity flow. Experiment, have fun, and remember that makeup is all about expressing your individuality. So go ahead and unleash your inner contouring queen!

If you want to dive deeper into the world of beauty and makeup, check out our other articles on mastering the perfect winged eyeliner or achieving a dewy, glowing complexion. Happy contouring!

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