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5 Important Lessons I Learned From Contouring My Face

When you only have your own two hands and YouTube tutorials as your guide, one has to learn things the hard way, cheeto face included.
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We all love a good contour. Whether it’s for a night out or a day by the beach, contouring makes the biggest of differences because honestly, what’s not to love about highlighting your best features? Some tutorials out there might advocate a fool-proof contour map for all face shapes, but in actuality, every face shape is different.

I can’t say that I’m an expert at contouring – I’ve got a whole gallery of embarrassing makeup fails captured in the form of selfies to prove it – but there are a couple of lessons I’ve picked up from those days where I looked like a B-grade Maleficent or being mistaken for a bag of cheetos. But I bounced back! AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS!

Lesson #1: Bronzers are not contours. A contour is a darker, cooler tone that mimics shadows to give the appearance of depth and add angular features to your face. Shadows are grey and not orange. Instead, use cool-toned browns, like taupe, or this Shade + Light Contour Palette by Kat Von D. With that being said, darker skin tones might look better with warm-toned browns.

Lesson #2: Apply a bronzer to achieve sun-kissed skin, and use it in conjunction with contour, blush and highlight. A good palette for this is the Je Ne Sais Quoi palette by It Cosmetics. Apply it between the highlight and contour, and lightly on the forehead and nose. Remember to use a bigger and fluffier brush in order to avoid big splotches of brown.

Lesson #3: Highlighter should be applied on the high planes and never on your forehead. Apply on the bridge, cupids bow and chin to bring attention to the centre of the face. Highlighters are meant to accentuate and bring attention to the area. Careful not to apply too much on the tip of your nose, for it might end up looking bulbous.

Lesson #4: Contour where you want your face to look smaller. For example, someone with a wide forehead should apply contour on the temples and hairline to create the illusion of a shorter forehead. Or another example, someone with a long and oval shaped face should not apply contour on the cheekbones to avoid a thinner looking face.

Lesson #5: A good contour brush is paramount to achieving a natural finish. When applying on the hollows of your cheeks, make sure to smile without your teeth, instead of sucking your cheeks in. Start from the hairline on the top of your ear and swipe towards your mouth. Don’t pull it too in, as it can make you look older.

If you already knew these things, good for you. If you didn’t, now you know. Below are a few of our favourite palettes, contour sticks and brushes that will help you to achieve a natural sculpt with ease. A good colour to choose is one that is two to three shades darker than your foundation. Experiment and play around if you can. That’s what testers are for. Finally, practice makes perfect – there’s no cheat code when it comes to contouring. Go forth, my dear Padawan.


Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette


Tarte Tarteist PRO Glow to Go Palette


Surratt Beauty Artistique Sculpting Brush


Nudestix Sculpting Pencil


Burberry Beauty Face Contour in Medium No.01


Illamasqua Gel Sculpt in Silhouette


Surratt Beauty Artistique Blush


Marc Jacobs Beauty Air Blush Soft Glow Duo


Kevyn Aucoin The Neo-Highlighter


Kevyn Aucoin The Matte Bronzing Veil


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer


Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow

What To Read Next: This Contour Kit Is Everything But The Kitchen SinkBehold, These Are Best Bronzers We’ve Ever Met and 9 Stunning Blushes That Will Give You That Natural Glow | Main Image: Natalyn Chan

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