In Praise of Shadows: A Contour Guide To Help You Show Off Your Facial Features

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Contouring was a beauty craze for a while, but as fewer and fewer people making guides for it, it can be confusing for newcomers.

Contouring can reshape your features or accentuate the ones that you want to “pop”! It’s a great way to play with makeup and find the shapes and structures that suit your look. 

If you’re in need of a contour guide for beginners, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn more about how to carve out a new face with contour and highlight. 

Examine Your Face

Faces come in all shapes and sizes but there are a few basic shapes that everyone will fit into. You’re going to look at the width and length of your face as well as the type of jawline and chin that you have. Feel around to see where your jawline and cheekbones are. 

This is going to help you figure out what you’re going to want to accentuate and what you’re going to soften. 

Pick the Right Makeup

When contouring you’re going to want to pick a shade that’s darker than your foundation but not so dark that the makeup is obvious.

Contours come in stick and cream forms, but many beginners find more success with powders as they’re easier to blend.

Highlights should be a few shades lighter than your foundation but not so bright that you end up looking too pale for your body.

Contour to Push Back

Contouring is for the parts of your face that you want to make less obvious. You’re basically putting them in shadow. 

Cheekbones that pop are in but not everyone has obvious and sharp cheekbones to show off. To make yours pop, suck in your cheeks and put your contour diagonally underneath them, being careful to not go into the full part of your cheeks. Start light and blend out. Contour is buildable. 

You can contour your nose if you aren’t happy with its shape but aren’t ready to commit to a nose job (though if you are, check out rhinoplasty by Dr. Pearlman). Add contour to either side of the bridge of your nose. If you want a narrower bride, use a right hand to bring the contour up. 

For a button nose, make a light contour curve just above the tip.

For a smaller forehead, add contour powder along your hairline. For a sharper jaw (or to get rid of a double chin, contour just under your face.

Remember, use a light hand until you’re ready to move forward.

Highlight to Accentuate

Highlighting will bright the areas that you want to stand out. This isn’t the sparkly highlighter; it’s the lighter cream or powder.

Highlighting under your eyes will make them look brighter and diminish dark circles. When you’re trying to make your cheekbones pop, taking that highlight over to where you just contoured and onto the sharp parts of your cheeks will contribute to that sharpness. 

Highlighting down the bridge of your nose and then using sparkle highlight on the tip will make it look more narrow and “button-like”. 

Makeup Newbies, How’s This Contour Guide? 

Contouring can seem scary. Making a whole new face is intimidating and it looks like a lot of makeup and work. 

Start with the basics and move forward from there. Check out some popular Youtube beauty gurus when you’re ready to get advanced and really change up your features.

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