face makeup

How to Contour Your Face in 5 Easy Steps

When you know how to properly contour, it’s a game-changer for your makeup routine.
October 18, 2023
Person With Contour Lines

Contouring is a makeup technique
turned beauty trend that has elevated makeup to another level — and for the better. This makeup technique involves using dark and light colors to enhance or slim down the appearance of certain facial features, and it has become a go-to for makeup artists and everyday makeup wearers alike. 

However, contouring does require some practice and knowledge in order to achieve a flawlessly sculpted face. Read on for our step-by-step guide to creating the best contour for your face, and learn more about the best drugstore products  that can help you achieve it.

Do You Put Foundation On Before You Contour Your Face?

Contouring can be done before foundation or after foundation. Recently, underpainting, or applying your contour before foundation has gone viral on TikTok for its smooth, chiseled finish and perfect blend. If you’re intimidated by contour, this technique is seriously a game-changer, and it leads to gorgeous, seamless results because foundation is applied after contour. 

How to Contour Your Face

As easy as it would make things, contouring is not one size fits all. Here’s how to contour your face in five simple steps, starting with determining your face shape — we promise this piece of information will make a huge difference in the result. 

Step 1. Determine Your Face Shape 

How you contour should depend on your face shape, which means to get the best defined and highlighted results, you’ll need to determine your face shape beforehand. There are six common shapes in total round, oval, square, heart-shaped, rectangle and diamond. 

We recommend checking out some online tutorials for help with determining your face shape. As of late, vertical contouring has gone viral on TikTok, and it’s a great way to add definition for round face shapes.


Step 2. Find Your Contouring Products

To contour the right way, you’ll need two products: one for highlighting and another for contouring. The reason why it’s helpful to use two products is because one adds brightness and the other creates shadows to emphasize the definition you’re trying to create. Unlike shimmering powder applied to the cheekbones called highlighter, a lighter shade of concealer can also be referred to as highlighter because it adds brightness.  

For the highlighter, pick a color that’s two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. For contouring, choose a color that’s two shades darker than your natural skin tone. We recommend picking a highlighter and contour shade from L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage line. This full coverage, matte concealer provides a flawless skin finish for 24 hours.

Step 3. Apply Your Base Makeup 

Start by prepping your face with a primer, like L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter. This will create a smooth surface across your skin, minimize oils and extend the wear of your makeup for up to 24 hours. If you’re underpainting, apply your contour and highlight first, then foundation. If you’re not, apply foundation, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation, first. This liquid formula offers medium to full coverage with a long-wearing, natural finish.  

Step 4. Contour Your Face 

Start by applying the light highlighter (concealer) shade on areas of your face that you want to draw attention to. Typically, this is under the eyes, extending out towards the temples to give a more lifted look and down the center of the nose to make it appear slimmer

You can also apply a small amount of product to the center of the forehead and on the chin to bring more light and dimension in those areas. After applying your concealer, use a stippling brush to blend out the product and soften any harsh edges. Be sure to only blend the product into your target areas, if you begin moving the lighter makeup all around your face, you won’t get the sculpted look you’re after. 

To contour, follow the shadows of your own face shape with the darker shade. If you want to add more definition to your jaw, contour along the edges of your jawbone. To create the appearance of chiseled cheeks, blend a line of contour beneath your cheekbones, or create vertical lines from the cheekbone to the jawline to slim the face.  

For fuller-looking lips, contour the bottom of your lower lip by applying darker concealer under the center of your bottom lip line. If you want to make your forehead appear smaller, apply some contour along the hairline. After applying product to your target areas, use a stippling brush or makeup blender to begin tapping the product into your skin until it blends out evenly. 

Step 5. Set Your Makeup 

After putting in all that effort to sculpt and define your face, you’ll want to make sure your contour stays in place throughout the day. A powder bronzer, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer will help set your contour and add some color to your complexion. Finally, seal in your look with a few spritzes of L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray for a long-lasting beat.

Next: 5 Places to Apply Bronzer for Sun-Kissed-Looking Skin

Photo Credit: Jordan Julian, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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