Contouring for Beginners-A Step by Step Guide on How to Contour Like a Pro
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Contouring for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Contour Like a Pro

Contouring in makeup is one of my favourite ways to create a definition on my face in a natural way. I’ve been using this method daily for the last few years and I love it!

Whether you’re preparing for a special occasion or simply want to enhance your everyday makeup routine, contouring upgrades every look! This contouring guide for beginners provides you with easy and fundamental steps to achieve stunning, sculpted features along with all your contouring questions answered.

What is Contouring

Before diving into how to contour, you need to understand what contouring actually is. Contouring involves using different shades of makeup to create shadows and highlights, strategically sculpting the face giving depth and attention to the areas you want! You do this by choosing shades a bit darker or lighter than your skin tone.

If it sounds complicated, let me reassure you, it’s anything but that! Once you learn where to contour your face, it couldn’t be easier!

Essential Makeup Products for Effective Contouring

Get High Cheekbones with Charlotte Tilbury

There are 2 main types of contouring products in makeup. Powder contour and cream/liquid contours. While there are no strict rules, powders generally work better on oily and combination skin, whereas creams and liquids work better on dry skin.

Contouring is extremely versatile, and you can also opt for foundation or concealer a shade or two darker than your skin. Aside from a contour, you’ll also need a beauty blender or contour brush to blend in your contour.

How To Contour and Highlight-Step by Step Tutorials

Preparing Your Face to Contour

As with all makeup routines, make sure to start off with a cleansed and moisturized face. If you’re applying foundation, apply it next along with concealer. I say ‘if’ because contour can be worn alone, without foundation.

Identifying Your Face Shape

Understanding your face shape is crucial for targeted contouring. Common face shapes include oval, round, square, heart, and diamond. Each shape requires specific contouring techniques to achieve a balanced and flattering look.

How to Contour

Using a contour product a few shades darker than your skin, apply it to the hollow of your cheeks, along the hairline and under the jawline. If your neck is lighter than your face bring the contour down to tone it all in. My favorite contour that I use every day at the moment is the Charlotte Tilbury Fimstar Bronze & Glow.

As you can see from the diagram, contouring for each face shape differs slightly. But the main trick in contouring is to figure out where your cheekbones are and create a definition there.

How to highlight

Apply highlighter, concealer or foundation a shade or two lighter than your skin color. Apply it to the high points of your face, like the centre of your forehead, above your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose and on the centre of your chin. I’m really enjoying the Elf Halo Glow Filter and the Iconic London Illuminator Drops!

Blending and Setting the Contour

Blending your contour is super important for that sculpted flawless finish. So make sure you blend, blend and blend some more. Using a damp beauty blender is one of the best ways to get seamless contour, but a brush works well too. Make sure there are no harsh lines, or really any lines at all.

One of the most common mistakes with contouring is not blending the jawline properly, simply because it’s harder to see, so give your jaw some extra blending!

To set your contour for long-lasting makeup, opt for a setting powder or a setting spray.

Common Contour Application FAQs for Beginners

Ideally, your contour and foundation should match in texture. If you’re using a liquid foundation, opt for a liquid or cream contour and if you’re using a powder foundation, opt for a powder contour. The rule of thumb is to apply foundation before contour.

Creams always have to be applied before powders so based on that rule apply your setting powder accordingly. If you’re using all cream or all powder products, apply your setting powder before your contour.

The main difference between contour and bronzer is that bronzer brings warmth to the skin giving a more tanned complexion, whereas contour is designed to give definition and shadow.

Contour Products I Recommend

My Thoughts

I know this step-by-step guide for contouring has a ton of information and it may seem intimidating at first. Start slowly, try it out and you’ll get the hang of it! Contouring is such a beautiful way to add dentition to your face and bring out your best features! So, grab your contour products, explore your face shape, and enjoy the transformative power of contouring! And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

Hollie xx

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About Hollie

Hi, I’m Hollie, and I’m passionate about everything beauty. Over the last decade and a half, I’ve tested thousands of products to bring you the best of the best! I also love bringing you fun and creative beauty looks. Learn more.

Beauty profile – 35, dry, aging skin, focused on aging well with a healthy glow and natural makeup look ✨



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