Friday, January 18, 2013

Contouring 101

What is 'contour'~
Defined as the edge or line that defines or bounds a shape or object.
Well, for makeup, contour does just that. But, it can be used to enhance a face's natural boundaries or to create new ones...
[original picture belongs to someone that's not me]
For example's sake, I lovingly drew the contour created with makeup on the model.
Not saying that's not all natural but if you look in a magazine ALL of the models and stock photos and ads use contouring a highlighting.. Because flash washes out most of it and contouring makes the
 model’s face pop and shapes it perfectly<3
[for note: the green is the highlights, and the blue is the contour]

As for me, I contour my face every time I apply makeup.
Though, not as heavily as above but enough to shape my face.
Above, is my contouring map for myself.
Let me start with the nose. What I'll be doing is drawing in a foux nose bridge and making my nose slimmer.You pretty much shape and create a fake shadow like if you had a thinner and more defined nose and trick the eye to thinking that that shadow is real and that your nose is smaller than it is~You contour with a shade 1-4 darker than your skin tone and it can be with a foundation, concealer or powder.. I like powder personally but foundation tends to look more natural and subtle~
The green means taking a highlight colour like 1-2 shades lighter than your skin colour and creating the illusion of height to the contour and making it more believable~
That’s a pretty good rough outline of it…. It really does take practice and there’s SOOO many ways to contour depending on the look you want~

For me lately, I find using my eyebrow pencil creates a good base that's easy to blend out. I apply my pencil after my foundation and concealer...

One side blended for comparison~
Then, after both are blended out how I want it, I set my makeup with powder.
After that's done, I can go more dramatic with powder contour which I use a taupe eye shadow, even a bronzer will work but I find shimmer/warm colours will make the contour look less believable. So, settling for a cool taupe is a good option.

As for noses with a bridge you can correct bumps, dents or even create more definition by playing around with how you contour and highlight your bridge and nostrils.
It's actually easier than contouring say my Asian nose because it's flat...

Really make sure to blend out, and start with a light application and build up. It's easier to just keep building than applying too much and having to lighten it up.

Do mind, you can choose to do one or the other, I just prefer to do both for more dimension.

Next I'll go over cheeks~
Cheeks are pretty simple and I prefer to do it in powder.
Using a brush, or pencil~ Something cylindrical, roll it horizontally down the side of your face and over your cheek bone, where it rolls under the cheek bone is where you will want to apply your contour.
You can envision it as a long triangle or more linear as long as you go along that line of your cheekbone and blend down and out well. Once again, building it up lightly.
Don't extend it too far, hitting just under the apples of your cheek and blending it out is perfect.

^^ example above~
Brown is contour, pink is blush and yellow is highlight.
On my face, my contour looks like this^^
You also have the option of applying it with a darker foundation and blending it well, then sealing it with a translucent powder and not having to deal with the brush and powder contour.
If you chose the liquid route, your contour will look much more natural and flawless~
I do choose to highlight slightly with a nice golden shimmer eye shadow to create more shape.
The goal is to create your own cylinder out of your cheek bone.
If you look closely to my cheek you can see the shading that creates the three dimensional shape~
You can also choose to contour your jaw line which is basically, shading right under your jaw and blending down to your neck to create a more defined or sharper face shape.

The big thing is once you see how contour and highlights are used and how they work, you need to practice practice practice.

Try different mediums if you must, and just play around with it!

I love contouring because it takes my face from flat, to 'BAM'~

Highlighting for pouty lips~
If you throw a bit of highlight, be it a line of white pencil, or white shimmer/powder above you cupids bow [upper lip]
^^dotted green line is where you chould place the highlight. 
It will create a more pouted and voluptuous lip and I should clarify, make the line fairly thin, as thin as a well sharpened pencil and blend it out~
Then apply your lip colour as usual and voilla!

I hope I was able to explain all of that thoroughly enough to be applicable...
If there needs to be any more clarification please feel free to ask me!
I hope that you can use contour easily in your makeup routine and that it's not intimidating but something easy that can instantly boost your look~ OR even transform the whole shape of your face!

[your resident certified makeup artist.... in case anyone's wondering what my actual job is, it's makeup]


  1. You're really beautiful with and without make up on!! And I don't think that your nose is flat at all :D
    I've never done any contouring when applying make up because my skills have alwsys been utterly bad. But I might give it another try with your tips, haha. Maybe it will work this time xD

    1. ;; Thank you so much! //////
      But try and practice. Makeup is essentially just a lot of practice and perfecting the application and getting comfortable with it.
      <3 <3 <3

  2. This is an awesome guide! Haha I didn't know how to contour since I don't know where to put it. I'll definitely be using your post as I guide until I get the hang of it.


    1. Eep, I'm glad! And I'm sure you will!
      <3 <3 <3

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  4. Make-up does a lot of magic; it can transform someone from average into BAM (as you describe it). It can make one’s face smooth, and it can enhance the face with smoky eyes, perfect pouty lips and a pointed nose. However, one should always remember that some make-up products can damage the face. You’re very pretty. I hope you take care of your skin, so you can preserve its beauty.

    {Sierra Whittington}

    1. Very true, but as I almost finished my esti training to do correct zit extractions, facials, and how to properly take care of many different skin tones, I'm not very much concerned with applying makeup on my skin , even as a certified makeup artist....
      Yes, if left too long or using oil based products on oily skin or caking on makeup improperly, yes.. It can be damaging in the long run... But I have none of these issues, nor honestly, is it any concern with how I treat my skin....
      I'm sure I'm doing a very good job.
      Thank you.