How To Contour Properly?

Mastered by every makeup artist worth their salt, the art of contouring is much, much more than a cursory sweep of bronzer under the cheekbones. From chiselling the jawline, to reshaping your nose and slimming the entire face, using a multitude of textures, shades and brushes, it really is a skill. And, before you reach for your contour palette, you need to know that when it comes to contouring, one size does not fit all. Sculpt and define to perfection by choosing the right contouring method for your face shape.



An oval face shape is a little longer than it is wide, with the features well balanced and tapering off at the chin. Contouring will allow you to define your bone structure and add definition where it may be lacking.

Lightly contour at the temples and forehead to slim this area a little and underneath the cheekbones to define them. A little contour can be placed at the chin as necessary to soften it slightly. Highlight the forehead, tops of cheekbones and the Cupid’s bow and place blush at the apples of the cheeks.



A long face shape is (predictably) longer than it is wide, with the widest point at the cheekbones and a softly pointed chin. By strategically placing contour, you can balance the length of your face, making it seem more oval.

Look to blend contour along the hairline to visually lower it. A little buffed under cheeks will give you razor sharp cheekbones, and add just a touch under the chin to shorten it’s length. Highlighter placed in the centre of the forehead will brighten the face, whilst a touch at the Cupid’s bow and chin will widen this area.



A classic heart shaped face is wider at the cheeks than the hairline, whilst the chin is narrow. Use contour and highlighters to slim and widen the face where necessary and even out the shape.

Look to balance the face by applying contour along the forehead and temples, and below your cheekbones to slim the widest points of your face. A little should also be placed just under the chin to soften it. Highlight the tops of cheekbones, centre forehead and centre chin to bring light to the centre of the face and widen where necessary.



Square face shapes are typically equal in length and width, with the jawline and hairline being similarly sized. Aim to soften the ‘corners’ of your face and highlighting to define your features and add lightness.

Blend contour at the sides of the forehad to narrow the top of your face, and down the sides of the jaw to slim down this area. Buff contour under the cheekbones and balance with highlighter at the tops of cheekbones to define them. A little highlighter can be applied to the centre forehead and chin too, to enhance the slimming effect.



A round face shape is as wide as it is long, with no sharp angles along the jaw, chin or hairline. Contour to slim the face and chisel out features for a sculpted, defined look.

Apply matte contour at the sides of the forehead and along temples to narrow the top of the face. Buff contour under the cheekbones and under the jawline to slim this area, too and lengthen your face. Highlight tops of cheekbones to enhance the bone structure, and sparingly at the centre forehead, chin and Cupid’s bow to balance the contouring.

Editor's Picks