Contouring Makeup Secrets: how to contour and highlight your face for beginners step by step

Whatever the shape of the face is, a woman can easily hide its defects and even visually change it using two trendy ways – contouring and highlighting. Let’s have a closer look at the various makeup tools and means to understand how to contour and to shade your face and create the celebrity look.

Megan Campbell

The market now offers a wide range of diverse products that are meant to make your features close to an ideal. However, when trying to use it, the girls often notice just the contrary result. Instead of a charming lady with a flawless image, it appears something really unnatural and scary. The reason is that every work needs skills and understanding.

What are the face shading and contouring

In general, contouring is an application of makeup in a way that enhances and sculpts the face features. The effect is achieved by using various kinds of products up to two tones darker than the real skin tint. Actually, highlighting is often considered as a part of a contouring process, and one never goes without the other. Wise balance of both creates the result we want to achieve.

Highlighting the areas like tops of cheekbones and bridge of the nose, as well as shadowing puffed cheeks and jawline, helps to create different face shapes. The main rule everyone has to remember is moderation and blending.

Contouring does not necessarily give a woman a dark and dramatic look like that of Kardashian. It can help to create soft and elegant natural features.

How to Highlight and Contour Face with Makeup

There is a wide range of diverse types of makeup used to make your face to look strikingly beautiful. The most widespread are the following:

  • foundation; 
  • powder;
  • bronzer;
  • blush;
  • highlighter.

The harmonic mixture of several of them is the main secret of the impeccable look of your skin and hides unflattering details like a double chin or a massive nose without dangerous and expensive plastic surgery.

How to Apply a Foundation

Start the whole process by making a proper base. Clean your face with any mild cleanser and moisturize it. Pay attention, that both cleaner and moisturizer should fit your skin type. Then apply the foundation.

To create the pro makeup, it is necessary to have several different tints of it. Choose the one that has the same or very close to your natural tone first. After that, follow this simple face shading and contour guide:

  1. Spread the basic foundation on your entire face. The professionals recommend using the specific brushes or sponges for this purpose, though you may choose to apply it with your fingers.

  2. Foundation one tint lighter and one tint darker than your usual color will highly emphasize your cheekbones. For this purpose spread the first one on the top parts of the cheeks and the second one at the hollows. Then, rub it up to ears.
  3. If you need to hide a double chin or make your jawline more distinct, distribute the foundation one tint more obscure than your real color on the jaw bottom line. The lighter one should be used right above it.
  4. Create the superb shape of your nose using different tints of foundation. The wide nose requires the application of the dark one on its sides and a light one over its bridge. To improve the look of the thin nose, just reverse the shades.

Finish your makeup with loose translucent powder to fix the foundation.

The powder for contouring

The proper high-quality powder is crucial for any makeup kit. It is traditionally used to fix the created image. At the same time, you may prefer to use it to sculpture your face features. The rules are pretty the same, just remember several specific tips:

  • Prefer pressed powder to the loose one for contouring. It is much easier to use;
  • Avoid using eyeshadow powders, as they are difficult to work with due to the intense color;
  • If you still want to apply eyeshadow powders, never forget the following rule: use the matte for the features you plan to shade, and shimmery for those you wish to distinguish;
  • Have a set of brushes specially designed for powder application. The brushes used to distribute the foundation will not do. Choose soft fluffy and natural-hair instruments. The High-quality, non-allergenic nylon brushes are considered the best ones.

To avoid looking too ashy and yellow, select the powder set that fits your skin shade. Light skin requires powder with a pink undertone, when for the dark skin, compacts with yellow or orange undertones are perfect.

How to shade a face with a Bronzer

No contouring palette is considered complete without a blush. It is traditionally applied to brighten your face and to make an accent but, in fact, blush can do much more than that. It is a full-fledged instrument you can use to contour your face:

  • Distributing the blush, start at the outer corners of your cheeks. In order to correctly determine the area where blush should be applied, make-up artists offer to smile broadly, but naturally, and put the tip of the index finger to the middle of the rounded part of the cheeks. After that, the thumb is placed where the upper part of the ear connects to the head, and then moves to the index finger. This will be the part of the cheekbones intended for application;
  • Use the blush across your eyelids, then move to the cheekbones, and finish at the bottom of the chin. This trick will visually shorten your face. Remember to use the same tint for all these areas;
  • Brighten up the hollows of your cheeks by swirling blush down from your apple chicks. This trick is used to make a square face to look softer;
  • Distribute a blush on your cheeks and work it back to your hairline to produce a stunning blush. 

Brunettes with fair skin are best suited with beige and pink shades. At the same time, it is better not to use bright colors. Brunettes with dark skin should give preference to bronze, terracotta, peach shades. 

Blondes with fair skin need to choose among pink shades, both lighter and pinkish-beige. Peach, apricot, coral and terracotta suits blondes with darker skin.

Brown-haired women with light skin should choose pink and beige shades. Brown-haired brown-skinned women should be preferred in favor of a brown-pink palette.

Redheads with fair skin need to choose among peach and apricot shades. A redhead with dark skin is best suited for terracotta and brick tones.

Where to put Highlighter: Application Rules

Using a highlighter is far from being as simple as it seems. The whole process requires care and attention. This product can underline the natural shining of your skin. At the same time, if you apply too much of it in the wrong place, the whole look will be spoiled.

The main areas where the experts recommend employing highlighter are those the light falls on naturally. To these areas belong the top of the cheekbones, as well as the brow arches. To create an effect of a fuller pout, highlight the cupid’s bow. The lower lip will be more accentuates if you dab it on your chin. The main types of highlighters are the powdery, stick or creamy.

The first one is applied with a brush just like a regular powder. Dust some onto the areas you want to bring forward and you create an amazing look.

A highlighter in the practical form of a stick is a handy makeup tool. It is an essential element of a makeup kit used by every active woman who often needs to do all the contouring as fast as possible. This instrument is convenient and easy-to-use. Just touch the wanted parts with the stick and mix all with a suitable brush or blender. Your fingertips can also be used for this purpose, but most experts do not recommend it. For the highlighter-stick to hold better, fix it with the powder.

For an absolute glamour look, a cream highlighter is the very choice you have to make. It is concentrated and has more pigment than all other types of highlighters. At the same time, carefully. It is easy to overdo and instead of an ideal Hollywood face to see in the mirror something abrupt and unnatural. The cream highlighter is spread by the sponge. To achieve the desired luminosity, put the product little by little. Its main purpose is to add extra shining to the specific spots you wish to emphasize, like corners of your eyes, bridge of your nose, and others.

Face contouring guide for different forms

The rules on how to apply highlighter, bronzer, and other products generally used to perfect your look highly depend on the shape of your face. The correct application can make a round face thinner, a long face shorter, and correct the small flaws. 

So after defining the proper tones and tints for your contouring makeup kit, the next step you have to take is to find out what the form of your face is. Check the following guide to learn how to contour various types of face:

Chubby Round Face

If all the dimensions of your face are almost equal and all the corners are soft and rounded, this is your face type. To create more distinct features, apply contour at the temples, on the forehead (mostly on its outer edges), and along the jawline. 

It is good to use some under the cheekbones as well. But do not put any on your chin to produce the image of a longer and more oval face.

If the forehead is the broadest area of the face, if the chin is sharp and pointed, the form you possess is called “heart”. To improve it, start with a highlighter. Distribute some along the bridge of your nose. After that, proceed to the jawline (its upper part).

Finish the whole process on the tops of cheeks. Some contour on the sides of your forehead will narrow it to a degree. You are not recommended to contour the jawline additionally in this case.

“Heart” Face
Oblong Face

This face type resembles the oval one but is thinner and longer. Oblong faces usually have a narrow chin and no pointed features. To create the balance of with and length, sweep the highlighter from under your eyes towards the ears. A contour along the chin will create dimension. Sweep some around the forehead. It is a good idea to spread it on the temples and under the cheekbones. To avoid too harsh look, mix everything with a brush. Finish your look with a preferred blush.

This face form is well known by a gently rounded jawline, just like the one in round shape, and more elongated shape. It is usually distinguished by high cheekbones, when the forehead, in this case, is a little wider than the chin.

To shape a long oval face, the contour is first applied to the temples. The next step is the addition of some below the cheekbones.

Finish the process on the outside part of the upper jaw. Application of some blush on the cheeks, as well as below your chin (however strange may it sound) will bring forward your best features.

Oval Face
“Square” Face

 If all of your features have the defined angles, if they are almost on the same distance from the central part of your face, this is your type. In order to improve it, concentrate on softening and rounding up. Contouring on the whole face, that what will be necessary in this case.

However, do not overdo it and mix everything carefully. Then proceed to the highlighter. The areas that will require it include the chin and forehead. It is a good idea to put some on the bridge of your nose as well to elongate the face visually.

One more place that wants some highlighter is the space under your eyes. The trick will add some height. Rub everything to avoid harsh lines.

Professional facial visual corrections

Highlighting and contouring are much more than just a technique used by celebrities only. It is the way any woman can create an impeccable form of the face, conceal its flaws, and accentuate the most beautiful of your features. This is a great way to achieve the image you want without plastic surgery. All you need is a carefully selected palette and a set of brushes. But here come the difficulties. 

How to find out what tint of the foundation, powder, or bronzer is fit for you? How to use a highlighter to steer clear of excess shining? The best decision is to attend makeup courses. During the courses, the professional makeup artists will advise you on all of the questions you may have, explain what seems unclear, and show how to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality products. 

The best part is that you have the possibility to practice contouring and to receive a professional comment and recommendation. Makeup courses promote your perfect look and may inspire you to become a professional makeup artist yourself.