Clean Beauty & Wellness Trends

How to Contour According to Your Face: With FREE Chart!

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Contouring is a makeup technique that involves applying dark and light colors to specific areas of the face to create shadows and highlights. The goal is to enhance or modify the shape of the face. Contouring is about creating symmetry and balance. It can help to define your cheekbones, narrow down a broad forehead, make your nose look smaller, or give the impression of a chiseled jawline.

The key to mastering this technique is understanding how light and shadow work. Light tones highlight and bring forward facial features, while dark tones create depth and draw features back. The interplay of light and shadow can dramatically alter the appearance of the face.

The magic lies in applying these principles in a way that enhances your unique features. This is why it’s essential to understand your face shape before you start contouring, as each shape requires a different contouring approach.

Recognizing Your Unique Face Shape

One of the first steps in contouring is recognizing your unique face shape. This is vital because the techniques used to contour an oval face will not work as effectively on a square face. Generally, face shapes fall into six categories: oval, round, square, heart, diamond, and rectangle.

An oval face is typically characterized by a forehead that is slightly wider than the chin with high cheekbones. A round face, on the other hand, has equal width and length with a soft jawline. A square face is as wide as it is long but with a more defined jawline. Heart-shaped faces feature a broad forehead and a narrow chin, while diamond faces have high cheekbones and are narrower at the forehead and chin. Lastly, a rectangular face is longer than it is wide and has a straight cheek line.

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To determine your face shape, you can measure the widths of your brow, cheekbones, and jawline, and the length of your face from forehead to chin. Then, compare your measurements to the typical characteristics of each face shape. Remember, most people have a mix of different face shapes, so don’t worry if you don’t fit perfectly into one category.

The Importance of Lighting When Contouring

One often overlooked aspect of contouring is the importance of proper lighting. Good lighting is crucial for accurate application and blending. You want to ensure your makeup looks natural, not harsh or artificial.

Ideally, you want to do your makeup in natural light because it provides the most accurate representation of your face. But if that’s not possible, aim for bright, even lighting. Avoid yellow, dim, or strong overhead lighting as they can cast shadows and distort your understanding of your face shape.

Remember that contouring is all about playing with shadows and highlights. If the lighting is not right, you may end up enhancing shadows in the wrong places or highlighting areas that don’t need attention. Be mindful of the lighting conditions when you contour, and adjust your technique as needed.

Tools You Need for Perfect Contouring

For perfect contouring, you’ll need a contour kit or palette, a highlighter, a blending brush, and a contour brush.

A contour kit or palette will contain a range of dark to light shades. Choose a palette that complements your skin tone. For the highlighter, go for a formula that has a little shimmer but isn’t overly glittery.

The two brushes you’ll need are a contour brush and a blending brush. The contour brush should be angled for precise application, while the blending brush should be fluffy to seamlessly blend the contour and highlight shades.

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When selecting brushes, opt for synthetic brushes as they don’t absorb the product like natural brushes. This ensures you use less product and get more precise application.

Techniques: How to Contour Different Face Shapes

This section explains the contouring techniques for the six face shapes mentioned earlier.

  • Oval: Considered the ideal face shape, oval faces require minimal contouring. Add a hint of shadow under the cheekbones and along the top of the forehead to maintain balance.
  • Round: To elongate the face, contour along the temples, the sides of the forehead, and under the jawline. Highlight under the eyes and the middle of the forehead.
  • Square: To soften the angles of a square face, contour the four corners – the sides of the forehead and the jawline. Highlight the center of the forehead and chin.
  • Heart: To balance the forehead with the chin, contour the sides of the forehead and the tip of the chin. Highlight the middle of the forehead and under the eyes.
  • Diamond: To minimize width, contour the area under the cheekbones starting from the ears and ending in the middle of the cheeks. Highlight under the eyes and the middle of the forehead.
  • Rectangle: To shorten the face, contour under the chin and along the hairline. Highlight under the eyes and the center of the forehead.

Remember, these are guidelines. Feel free to adjust these techniques to best suit your features.

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Step-By-Step Guide: Contouring Process Explained

  1. Prep Your Skin: Start with a clean, moisturized face. Apply primer to create a smooth canvas.
  2. Apply Foundation: Apply your usual foundation to even out your skin tone.
  3. Map Your Face: Use a contour shade to draw lines on the areas you want to recede or slim down (usually the sides of your nose, under your cheekbones, and around your forehead).
  4. Blend, Blend, Blend: This is the key to natural-looking contour. Blend the contour lines using upward strokes.
  5. Highlight: Apply highlighter to the areas of your face where the light would naturally hit (the top of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and the cupid’s bow).
  6. Set Your Makeup: Finish with a setting spray to ensure your contouring lasts all day.

Remember that practice makes perfect. The more you experiment with contouring, the better you’ll get at enhancing your unique features.

Contouring Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common contouring mistakes for a flawless finish:

  • Choosing the Wrong Shade: Your contour shade should be two shades darker than your skin tone. Anything more can look harsh.
  • Overdoing It: Less is more when it comes to contouring. Don’t go overboard with the product.
  • Not Blending Enough: Always blend the contour into your skin. You want to avoid any harsh lines or obvious stripes.
  • Ignoring Your Natural Bone Structure: Follow the natural lines of your face. Don’t try to create a cheekbone where there isn’t one.

Avoiding these mistakes will ensure you achieve a natural, well-blended contour that enhances your features rather than hiding them. Remember, contouring is about enhancing your natural beauty, not changing the way you look.