Facial Contouring Tips and Tricks for Beginners

The facial contouring is a popular technique for enhancing and sculpting your natural facial features. Through the use of makeup, you can create shadows and highlights to subtly change the shape of your face. Although it may seem complicated, with the right tools and techniques, even beginners can learn how to contour like a pro!

Tools You’ll Need

  • Contour powder or cream – This is usually a shade darker than your natural skin tone. Cooler-toned shadows create natural-looking shadow.
  • Highlight powder or cream – A shade lighter than your natural tone. Warm toned highlights brighten.
  • Beauty blender or contour brush – Use a brush for powder or beauty blender for cream products.
  • Setting powder – To blend and set your contours.

Choosing Your Contour Shades

The key to natural-looking contouring is selecting the right shades for your skin tone. Here are some tips:

  • Fair skin tones should use a cool taupe contour. Avoid oranges and bronzes.
  • Medium skin can use a neutral taupe or soft brown contour shade.
  • Deep skin looks great with a neutral brown or deep cocoa contour.
  • For highlights, choose a concealer or powder 2 shades lighter than your skin.
  • Test shades under your jawline in natural light to make sure they blend in.

Where to Contour and Highlight?

Use these facial contouring techniques to lift, sculpt and define:

  • Under cheekbones – Sweep contour under the cheekbone in a lift motion towards the ear. This sculpts the cheeks.
  • Temples – Add subtle shadow along the temples to slim the face.
  • Edges of forehead – Contour along edges and hairline to minimize a large forehead.
  • Nose – Thin and define the nose by contouring down both sides and under tip.
  • Jawline – Add shadow under the jawline and chin to sharpen facial definition.
  • Under eyes – Brighten under eyes and t-zone with concealer or highlighter.
  • Top of cheekbones – Highlight right above contour to accent cheekbones.
  • Cupids bow – Highlight above and below lips for a plump pout.

Blending is Key!

The most important technique for natural-looking contouring is proper blending. Here are some tips:

  • Always blend up and out towards temples, hairline, and ears.
  • Soften lines by going back over with translucent powder, foundation or stipple sponge.
  • Blend contour shades into the hairline so no harsh lines are visible
  • Never leave a streak of highlight or contour color unblended.
  • Take your time and blend until there are no obvious lines or demarcations of contour shades.

Beginner’s Contouring Step-By-Step

Follow these simple steps to take your contouring from beginner to pro:

  1. Apply your overall foundation and concealer first.
  2. Use an angled brush to sweep contour powder or cream under cheekbones.
  3. Blend contour color up towards ears and hairline.
  4. Apply highlighter above the contour and to the t-zone and cupid bow.
  5. Soften any lines with light layers of setting powder.
  6. Use fluffy brush to blend everything together seamlessly.
  7. Set with setting spray for long lasting contour!

The key is to start slowly with subtle shades and lots of blending. Don’t be afraid to enhance your contours gradually. With practice, you’ll be expertly sculpting your face like a pro!

Contouring Do’s and Don’ts

Avoid these common contouring mistakes for the best results:


  • Use cool and warm tones to mimic natural shadows and light
  • Apply cream products with a damp blender for blending
  • Use powder products with angled and fluffy brushes
  • Blend out any harsh lines
  • Customize technique for your face shape


  • Choose a contour too dark or warm for your skin
  • Leave streaks of color unblended
  • Forget to highlight as well as contour
  • Overdo it! Start subtle and build up
  • Neglect contouring the jawline and temples

With the right tools and techniques, anyone can learn how to contour and highlight their best facial features. Have fun, go slowly, and keep practicing your body-sculpting Houston skills!

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