Contouring: The Basics

Contouring: The Basics

If you would have told us a few years ago that we would all get to the stage when painting our faces an assortment of colours, only to blend all those lines into one another, would be classed as top of the line make-up. We would have laughed in your face. 

But yet, here we are, 2021 and anyone who knows anything about makeup will be trying out contouring in some way. The idea of contouring is that it uses darker and lighter shades of makeup (and different colours sometimes) to transform the shape of your face. 

You use it to hide parts of your face that you might not be too happy about and then highlight those that you want to stand out. 

Contouring might make sense to you, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to know how to actually do it. So, to help you, we have put together the basics of contouring. 

What do I need?

The first question to ask is what you should buy in order to be able to properly contour. Sure, you can buy kits that will help you to have the necessities, but sometimes you are simply going to need to do it yourself. 

You need to look at your existing foundation then buy one with a stick version that is two shades deeper than your colour and one that is two shades lighter. These will be your tools to start to work on your face. 

Apply foundation

Before you start contouring you need to make sure that you have applied your regular foundation shade as you normally would on your face. This is your base and what you will blend your mapped out shades into. 

Start by mapping your face

One of the best things to do when it comes to contouring is to think about your face as a map. When you do this, you can make it much easier to draw the lines you need. With the darker shade you need to trace your temples, followed by just above the dip in your cheekbones. Next is your nose, where you can choose to go narrower down to the tip, or carry it right up to the brow. This will add length to the nose. 


When you have a crazy pattern on your face, you are ready to start blending. The best way to do this is with a damp beauty blender, tapping it over the contoured areas and blending it into the foundation. It is best if you use the bigger end of the blender because this has more space. However, if you have smaller spots to work on, then you may need to squeeze it in your hands. 

Grab those highlights

Next you need to think about the lighter spots. Underneath your eyes is the main target here as it will lift them and make sure that they stand out. However, lots of people also swear by highlighting the centre of their forehead, their chin and the bridge of their nose. Again, this should be blended in with a damp beauty blender.

Set with powder

Finally, you need to make sure that all that lovely hard work is set in place. You should use a large fluffy brush, dusting the entire face with a translucent powder rather than one that contains colour as this can undo everything that you have done. 

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