Beauty Buzz

Contouring Correctly

I thought I would start writing little tip articles for ‘how to’ on different beauty treatments, like do’s and don’ts. This blog will be about how to contour correctly, contouring has become huge and as a result I have seen some fabulous and some disastrous efforts of this!

Contouring has always been around for Makeup Artists, although the term contouring has become extremely popular and made fashionable by many celebrities, one in particular is infamous for her contouring and highlighting! That person is obviously one ‘Kim Kardashian’ she supports a heavy contoured look and it has become so popular that girls (and guys) all over the world have wanted to join in on the quest for the perfect contour.

So what is contouring you ask? Contouring is a way of using different shades of makeup to create sort of shadows on the face to change the face shape or to enhance certain features of the face, it is usually combined with highlighting for maximum effect. For example… if you had a wider shape nose and you desired a thinner look to your nose you could use contouring to create little shadows either side of your nose and highlight down the centre giving a thinner appearance.

Now that we know what contouring is we can talk about how doing it correctly is so important, it should be subtle and natural, when you have contouring that is too heavy it defeats the object of the contour in my opinion. Some people would disagree with me on this point as heavy makeup looks where contouring is very obvious are very popular, since contouring is shaping your face like sculpting and defining with makeup then it should look like your face is naturally that way, and that is where the artistic flare and skill comes in. The key to contouring correctly lies in the ability to understand the face shape, not all faces are the same and there are lots of different shapes, each face has a different natural shadowing, and to contour correctly you must determine the face shape and contour accordingly to flatter that face shape. This is where mistakes are usually made, there are lots of ‘how to’ videos on contouring on YouTube and other social media platforms and people will watch these and copy them exactly not taking into consideration their face shape.

This is an example of poor contouring.

Lyndsey Lohan looking rather grey from over build up of product, wrong choice of contour shade that is also too dark combined with poor blending producing those stripe like lines on the cheeks that we want to avoid!

Common mistakes

Choosing a colour that is too dark – a typical mistake of contouring is to choose a contouring shade that is too dark for your skin tone, this would lead to obvious lines on your face that are not desirable and just make us took like a Picasso painting, I love Picasso’s work but not for my face thank you!

Wrong placement and understanding of face shapes – Everybody’s face is different, different shape means different placement of contouring and highlighting, not understanding your face shape can cause the opposite effect to what you are trying to achieve, and you can end up enhancing features of your face that you were originally trying to disguise. Trying to be realistic with what is actually achievable is also a good point to bring up here, we want our contour to look as natural as possible and contouring to the point where we are changing our faces to look like someone else is where a lot of people go wrong, you’re enhancing your own features not morphing into somebody else. Unless its halloween and your going as ‘Micheal Jackson’ then that’s totally acceptable!

Too much product – this is another biggie, I have seen many YouTube tutorials where girls are piling on so many products, first starting with wet contouring and then finishing with dry, and the combination of all of this may look great on camera but in real life it will look very tacky, too full on and just plain cakey.

These are some examples of good contouring.

Three of my clients, three different face shapes each with a natural contour tailored to their own face shape and skin tone.


Keeping it natural, choosing the right shade for your skin tone – only choose a few shades up from that of your natural skin tone to contour with, this will help you to get a better blend and stop that awful stripy look from happening!

Blending out any harsh lines – the key to a natural contour is to ‘blend blend blend’ no harsh lines makes for a natural sun kissed glow, use the same techniques you would for blending out your smokey eye, just on a larger scale.

Not causing to much product build up – know when to stop! The more you layer your products the more your likely you are to get product build up, (funny thing that?) especially with shimmery products and this can cause greying in areas, this gives a cakey dirty not at all fresh look to your makeup and should be avoided at all cost, just take your time because it is so easily done!

Hopefully you have enjoyed my post on contouring! Makeup is a way of expression, some may desire a heavier look than others, but I hope that reading this can help you to establish what it is that you want and how to better achieve it! Its all trial and error and if I can help just one person avoid half the mistakes I made with makeup whilst growing up then it will all be worth it!

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