How & Where To Contour Your Face 101 Easy Guide

One of the most frequent questions in makeup is How & where to contour your face. It seems to be difficult at first, but I will show you how easy it is after reading this guide. Here’s what you’ll learn:

Where to contour
Source: Wikimedia
  1. What Is Contouring?
  2. What Does Contouring Do?
  3. What Do You Need To Contour Your Face?
  4. Where To Apply Contour On Your face
  5. How to Contour According to Your Face Shape
  6. How Do You Blend Contour
  7. Types Of Contour and which ones to chose
  8. How To Choose Contouring Shade
  9. Pro tips for application and answers for the frequently asked questions

What Is Contouring?

Contouring is a technique that complements blushing and bronzing, enhancing your face, making it look more natural and vivid. For this we can use a brownish cream, powder or stick on the contouring area of your face, with a brush or beauty sponge.

What Does Contouring Do?

Did you ever notice that sometimes when we apply our foundation, our face looks flat and opaque? Contouring will add back and define the natural shade and shape of your face, that was covered up by the foundation. Giving depth and shape to your makeup look.

Additionally you can use contouring to diminish certain areas of your face, such as nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead, so, depending on your face shape, you can use this technique to give the illusion your face is more symmetric. 

It is important to know that each format of face will require a different type of contouring, we will talk about it later on. 

Read Also: Bronzer vs Contour: What Is The Difference?

What Do You Need To Contour Your Face?

What Do You Need To Contour Your Face?


Fluffy and rounded brushes are ideal for contouring, because they will blend the product on your face. That’s the reason I prefer doing contouring with the brushes, because a good contouring happens only after blending it really well.

You can use any powder or blush brush, but in my opinion the best ones are the brushes with an angular shape, which will be much easier to follow and fit on the contouring line of your face.

The tip is to use an angular brush to define the areas of the contour and then use a rounded one to blend it well. Additionally, use a small blending eyeshadow brush to contour the nose area.

There is also the possibility to use the “toothbrush” brush for contouring, with creamy and liquid contour products which can give a nice blend as well.


If you are running out of brushes, you can still use the brush, but for that have in mind that it is more indicated to use a creamy, liquid, or stick contour for that and make sure you will blend it very well and carefully.


For contouring, you will need a contour that is opaque and a shade that is darker than your skin tone. You can use a contouring palette, on an individual cream or powder. We will talk more about types of contour products later on in this article.

Where To Apply Contour On Your face

Where To Apply Contour On Your face
Source: Freepick

Applying on the Forehead

Have in mind that contouring is done with a shade that is darker than your skin. Meaning that it will make the area smaller, so, if you have a small forehead, applying too much contouring in the area will make your forehead look even smaller. 

It does not mean that you should avoid contouring on the forehead, but in a situation like that, you can use less product, which will still give you a nice facial definition.

Applying On Or Below The Cheeks

You can apply the blush on the cheeks and then apply the contour right below it. However, if you want to diminish your cheeks, you can use the contour on the cheeks alone, without the blush, as this will create an illusion of smaller cheeks.

Applying on the Chin

The same applied to the chin. If you have a small chin, you may avoid applying contouring in the area as it will make it even smaller. At the same time if you think your chin should be smaller, you can go ahead and contour the area.

Applying on the Jawline

You can apply contouring on the jawline to make it smaller, to give more definition to it, or to make your face look thiner.

How To Contour your face in 3 Simple Steps

As I mentioned before, the technique may vary according to your face shape. However, I think it is nice to have an overview of how to do it from the bigger picture. Note that we will still talk about the different ways to apply contouring according to your face later on in this article.

  1. Firstly prep your skin for makeup, apply foundation, concealer and seal your skin with powder 
  2. Apply the contour on the forehead, then below the cheek bones (right below the blush line ), on the nose, your jaw and the chin area. For this you can use an angular blush if you are using contouring in powder.
  3. Blend it really well with a blending round blush and if you need to apply too much product, you can “fix it” with more powder. 

How to Contour According to Your Face Shape?

Round Face

To give depth and definition to a rounded face, apply the darker contour on sides of the face, and on the cheeks, on the nose, forehead on the jawline. 

Pro tip: If you have a rounded face and feel like you want to give the impression you have a smaller cheek, then you should not apply contour below the cheeks (as we would normally do in contouring), because you will make the cheeks more prominent. 

Triangle Face

In this case, you will probably want to take off the attention of the forehead and make it look more harmonious with the chin. For this you can use dark contour on the forehead, nose, and on the sides of the jawline.

Heart-Shaped / Inverted triangle Face

To soften the shape of your face and make it more uniforme, use the dark contour on the sides of the forehead and and on the sides of the jawline. 

Diamond-Shaped Face

If you have a diamond face and want to make it more harmonious, apply the dark contour on the sides of the forehead, and the jawlines.

Square/Rectangle Face

If you have a square face, you can use the contouring to disguise your angles, to make it a bit more round or oval as you wish. To get this effect, you can apply the contour from the bottom of your ears, tracing the brush all the way to the chin, on both sides.

Oval Face

The oval face is already very symmetric in most cases, so contouring should be used with moderation, not to create too much effect, but instead, create the shadows and a little bit of definition.

However, everyone is different, so you may want to use a dark contour on the area you want to disguise, or make it smaller. Once again, you apply the product on the forehead, nose, below the cheek bones.

How Do You Blend Contour For Beginners

The best way to blend contour is with an angle brush, or toothpaste brush. If you are a beginner, then pick a smaller fluffy eyeshadow blending brush for the sides of the nose and a big fluffy one to the rest of the face.

To get started, you will want to be very gentle, because you don’t want to mess up the makeup. Also, remember not to put too much pressure on the hands while doing it to avoid applying too much product.

Apply the contour on your face: If you are using powder or creamy contour, get the product with an angled brush, take the excess of the product off and start the application, then blend it well with a round fluffy brush. 

If you are using stick contour, use a toothbrush brush or an angled brush to blend it well.

Types Of Contour

It is difficult to tell which type of contour is the best, and which one you should use, because all types of the products will have their pros and cons. 

A good way to get started talking about it, is to ask if you are a beginner or not, or what is the result you want to achieve, so in the next lines we will talk more about different types of contouring.

Powder, Cream, Stick and Liquid Contour


If you are just starting up, most makeup artists will agree that powder contouring or contouring palettes are the ones that you should get, because it will be much easier to blend without messing things up.

Creamy & Sticky

On the other hand, the creamy and sticky contour can bring a bit more of definition and will bring a more natural polished look, ideal for special occasions, however is more difficult to blend.


In my opinion the liquid contour is the one that will provide the more natural look, because it will end up more or less serving as a darker foundation, which may bring that natural look.

Which Contour Should I Use?

Use the powder contour if you are just starting out because it will serve more or less like a powder, and will be much easier to blend. If you want your makeup to be more vivid, then use creamy and sticky ones. Use the liquid for a more natural look that will blend really well with your foundation.

Pro Tip

Have in mind that you can combine these types of contouring in the same makeup look, if you are looking for an intense and dramatic makeup for photography and tv for example.

How To Choose Contouring Shade?

Theoretically, the contouring shade should be from two to three tones darker than your skin tone. But it will definitely depend on your own decision because this is not really a rule.

In most cases, a cold brown tone will do fine to bring depth and definition to your makeup, so you can try with different browns to see which one you like the best. 

To give depth, decrease chin, or any other area, the best tones are the coldest, most pulled to brown. Now if you want your makeup to look more “tanned” you should look for hot browns (pulled to orange).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do you contour before or after foundation?

The best way to contour your face is by applying it after foundation, blush and powder. However, you may need to use some powder after contouring, just in case you put too much product on the face.

2. Can you contour without foundation?

You don’t really need to contour if you are not wearing foundation, unless you use a concealer as foundation. This is because we normally contour the face to recreate the natural shadow and definition that is lost once we apply the foundation. But, you can still use contouring without foundation in cases when you want to make your forehead or any other part smaller.

3. Do you have to contour?

Not really, especially if you are in a rush. But have in mind that contouring is going to give you a glam natural look that you will won’t miss out!

4. What is the easiest way to contour?

The easiest way to contour is by using a powder version of this product, because it will be much easier to blend. Additionally, you may end up applying too much product if you use the sticky or creamy version which can be difficult to fix.

5. Is it better to blend contour with brush or sponge?

If you are using powder, then I believe that it is better to use a brush. But if you are using a cream or stick contouring, then you could use a beauty sponge. If you are a beginner, it is better to use the brush.

6. Do I blend contour or concealer first?

I prefer blending contouring first, because this is almost the continuation of the foundation. By doing this, you can also fix excess product and application mistakes with concealer after applying the contouring. 

Another reason to apply contour first, is that while contouring will define and disguise, concealers will fix and illuminate. Applying concealer after will illuminate, providing a more radiant look.


In this article you learned How to contour your face like a pro! If you have more questions and suggestions, please use the comments below to share your thoughts!

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