Contouring For Your Face Shape

Posted April 19, 2017 by Shanna

I’m sure most of you have heard the word “contouring” thrown around in reference to beauty.  It’s big and it’s not going anywhere in the near future.  But what the heck does it mean and how do you contour your face?

Contouring is a technique used to make certain areas of the face look shadowed or receded in.  This results in a thinner, smaller looking area (i.e. hollows of cheeks, nose, temples).  When done correctly it can make your face look slimmer, balanced or more structured.

Contouring and bronzing are NOT the same though.  Contouring brings that chiseled, angular structure to the face that defines certain areas while bronzing mimics the coloring you would get if you had been out in the sun.  The shades, areas and techniques for each are different.

Where and how you contour depends on your face shape and what you are trying to achieve.  If you have an oval-shaped face, you’ll place your contour in a different spot than if you have a round face.  It just comes down to knowing where to place the product.


Oval Faces:


Forehead is the same or slightly wider than your chin
Length is usually one and a half times the width

Contour across the top of your forehead and temples leaving a space between
Contour chin to help round he face slightly
Contour sides making sure to bring it in almost straight from the side, near the corner of your mouth.  Be careful not to angle it too much, which can make your face appear longer



Round Faces:


Equal width and length of face
Prominent cheeks

Contour each side of the forehead going into the temple area.  Leave a slight gap between the two areas
Contour the lower jaw, leaving the chin untouched.  This creates a slightly longer shape to the face that will make it appear slimmer
Don’t bring the contour on the side up too far, this will make the face appear rounder

Heart Faces:


Wider in the forehead and cheeks
Narrow jaw line and chin

Contour the temples and onto the forehead leaving a large gap on the top of he forehead
Contour along jaw line and chin slightly
Keep cheek contour low




Square Faces:


Prominent jaw and chin (may or may not come to a point)
Forehead and jaw about the same width

Contour forehead in two areas to round out the face, leave a gap between the two
Round out the jaw line by contouring two areas on either side, leaving a gap between jaw line and cheek area
Wider contour on cheeks, bringing it up higher than other face shapes




Oblong Faces:


Similar to oval but not as wide
Usually with a narrower chin

Contour very little on the forehead, only a small amount at the top and temples
Same with the chin, very little with a slight gap left between the two
Longer contouring in the cheek area but don’t bring it in too far.  Make sure you angle it up enough to the top of your ear



Diamond Faces:


Cheeks are the widest part of the face
Narrowing as you go up to the forehead and down to the chin

To round out the face contour along hairline over forehead and onto temples slightly
Contour point of chin making sure not to bring it too far out on the jaw line
Barely contour cheeks, making sure to keep it low and not angling too far up




Now, before I go on, I want to STRESS that if you contour different from the photo and you love how it looks then that is what matters.  Makeup is about enhancing your natural beauty and, with beauty being in the eye of the beholder, you just keep doing you, boo.  

If, though, you are either looking to start contouring or want to switch up your game, then I got you.  


So now that we know where to contour, the next question is “what the heck do I use?!”

There are several options for products and a lot of it comes down to preference.  The key one being, do you prefer a cream/liquid or a powder.  This is going to go back to knowing your skin type.  These are the skin basic types: normal, dry, oily or combination.

NORMAL: Neither dry or oily.  Little to no breakout.  Barely visible pores.

DRY: Dry patches on face.  More visible lines.  Dull, rough complexion.  Almost invisible pores.

OILY: Shiny spots on face.  Prone to breakouts and blackheads.  Face feels slippery.  Visible, large pores.

COMBINATION: Dry and oily in different places on the face.  T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) tends to be oily with visible larger pores while areas like the cheeks are dry.

Knowing your skin type can help with choosing a product.  I have combination skin that is really oily in my T-zone.  So, because of this, I tend to use a powder product.  Creams/liquids usually break down on my face, because of the excess oil my skin produces.

Powder products are great for just about every one, but dry skin types might not like them.  If you are dry, you can use them.  Just be careful, because powder can cling to dry patches.

Cream/liquid products are great for those with dry or normal skin.  These tend to come in stick, compact, or tubes with a doe foot applicator.

Whichever you choose, just remember: NEVER, EVER, EVER put a cream on top of a powder.

If you decide to use a cream/liquid contour, you can apply it either before or after your foundation, but ALWAYS apply it before you put any powder onto your face.  If you apply a cream/liquid on top of a powder you are going to end up with a thick, “cakey-looking” face and that doesn’t look good on anyone!


Color is important when it comes to contouring.  Remember, you are mimicking a shadow so you want to keep the color either neutral or on the cool side.  This will keep your contour from taking on a muddy or dirty appearance.

Choose a color that is a couple of shades darker than you skin color.  If you choose too light, you wont see it, but too dark of a color won’t blend well and instead of a flawless, structured look you’ll have lines.

Also, this is not the time to get a product with shimmer!  Shimmer can work for bronzers but not for your contour.

For me, I love how my face looks contoured and even if I am going with minimal makeup I’ll still do a light contour.  With warmer months approaching, though, my contouring will take a slight back seat to my bronzer.  But that’s okay, because like I said, this trend isn’t going anywhere in the near future, so when the warm weather turns cooler again, it’ll be waiting for me.

What products are you loving for your contour?  Do you do it on the daily, or is it something you are dying to try?  Let me know in the comments below or tag us on Instagram @thelookofyoubeauty #tloybeauty

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