#BeautyBasics: Everything You Need To Know About Contouring Your Face!


Makeup really does work like magic. Having said that, it’s not about changing the way you look but more to do with enhancing your features and making them more defined. Now, when it comes to giving your face a more chiselled look, we have to bring in contouring because this makeup technique is JUST what you need to do that. Thanks to this technique, with the help of a few makeup products for contouring, you can actually draw on high, pronounced cheekbones, make that double chin disappear, and have your large forehead seem smaller than it is. It really has some serious transforming abilities if done the right way. Read on for the A to Z of contouring!

When To Contour?

It really is a personal choice. Makeup is after all about enhancing your facial features and feeling even better about yourself. If you feel the need to give your face more definition, or you want your cheekbones to appear more pronounced or you just want a more sculpted look for your face, then by all means learn everything about contouring and give it a shot. 

How Does Contouring Work?

natasha poonawala showing perfect contour face

It’s as simple as this. Contouring requires you to use a cream or powder product in a shade darker than your skin tone and apply it on the low points of your face. What we mean by low points is, all the parts you want to sort of sink in. By placing the contouring product in these areas, you give the illusion of a shadow being formed by the higher points of your face and thereby giving your face a more angular appearance. 

Cream VS powder contour

From personal experience, I’ve come to find that cream contours last longer but can sometimes appear much stronger. However, if blended well, cream contour sits like a dream and lasts you all day. I’d say it requires more hard work. Powder contour on the other hand, is more subtle most of the time, but it is certainly buildable. If you have less time and want subtle contour, go for the powder one and contouring for beginners won’t be a big task. Another point to keep in mind is that if you have oily skin, you might want to go for powder contour as the cream one might feel too heavy on the face.  

Tips To Keep In Mind While Contouring Your Face

Looking for some pro tips on how to contour your face? Here we have some important tips for you to ace the game of face contouring. Have a look!

  • Choose the right shade
  • Go for grey/taupe tones
  • Set the contour
  • Blend and build it up

Choose the right shade

contouring huda kattan

Credits: Instagram

Going too light or too dark, both will not lead to a desired result. If the contour shade is too light, the effect of contouring won’t show up the way you’d like and if it’s too dark, it end up looking overdone and a tad bit artificial. Go for a shade 2-3 shades darker than your foundation.


Go for grey/taupe tones

Steer clear of anything with pink or orange undertones. The idea is to mimic a shadow. Opt for contour powders and creams in grey or taupe tones for the right kind of contouring. Also, ensure that these products do not have shimmer in them as that will add light and that’s not the result we’re looking for.  

Set the contour

Once you’re done blending your contour product, run a brush over the area with setting powder on it. This will keep the contour in place for long periods of time and will prevent it from moving around should your face become sweaty. 

Blend and build it up

contouring katrina kaif blend

Credits: Instagram

Applying too much product in one go can be difficult to blend or it might be too intense making your face look too chiselled and subsequently haggard. The best way to go about contouring is to apply the product little by little, blend it well and build on it as much as you like. 

Highlight and contour go hand in hand

In order to make your contour job look even more effective, pick a face highlighter of your choice (liquid or powder) and apply it on the high points of your face - above your cheekbones, at the tip on your chin, on your cupid’s bow, on the ridge of your nose, in the middle of your forehead and on your brow bones. Applying a highlighter will make the high points of your face look more prominent, and the contoured areas will subsequently look more shadowed. 

Contouring for YOUR face shape

The rules of contouring are fairly simple. The same areas are contoured no matter what your face shape is - the top part of your forehead, the hollows of your cheeks, the sides of your nose, and below the jawline. However, contouring can be made to look even better if certain areas are focussed upon more compared to others, based on the shape of your face. 

Round face

contouring_bhumi_pednekar_round face

Credits: Instagram

To contour round face, you’ll probably want to define your cheekbones a bit more to give your face a more pinched look. The ideal way to do this is to make a ‘3’ on the sides of your face. Start along your hairline in the middle part of your forehead and make a ‘c’ until below your cheekbone. Make sure you stop at a two finger distance from the ends of your lips. Then go along the ears and below your jawline to complete the 3 shape. You can build on this as per your liking and blend it in well. We suggest focusing on the cheek area as that can make a world of a difference to your face shape. 

Oval face

When working on an oval face, remember that your focus has to be on your cheeks. Do a very light contour on your forehead and chin area as those are already narrow enough. Go all out on the cheeks to give your face a well-sculpted look. For the cheeks area, make a fish face, and apply the product starting at the middle of the ear till the area that’s completely pinched in. Go over this line a few times and blend well to ace the game of oval face contouring. 

Square face

If you have a square face, remember that your face is already angular enough. Instead of going for an all out 3-shaped contour look, choose the areas you’d want to contour and define and go as light as you can. 

Heart-shaped face

contouring_sonakshi_sinha_heart face

Credits: Instagram

A heart-shaped face calls for deep face contouring on the sides of your forehead and hollows of the cheeks. In fact you don’t have to even bother with the chin area and jawline. 

Best contouring products

Frequently asked questions

How to do contour without contour kit?

Lipsticks double up as blush and blush can often be used as eyeshadow. So, if you don’t have a contour kit, but have the right shade of eyeshadow or a deep taupe blush or a lipstick in the right shade, these can be used as contour products. All you have to make sure of is that the shade of the product is one that would work for you. 

Does contouring make your makeup look heavier?

contouring_mario_makeup artist

Credits: Instagram

It completely depends on how well you do this. If you use tons of product to make your face look extra chiselled, your makeup can end up looking a tad bit cakey. But if done the right way with the right amount of product and if the product is blended well, it can turn out to be a natural, light and effortless makeup look. 

I have a skinny face. Do I still need to contour?

As mentioned earlier in this post, this is a personal call. If you’d like a more sculpted and defined look on your face, contouring is a the solution. However, if you do have a skinny face, you can make do with light contouring. 

If you contour, do you have to highlight too?

contouring namrata soni makeup artist

Credits: Instagram

It is not necessary to highlight and contour your face at the same time. But yes, using highlighter will make your contouring appear more effective.