How Do I Choose a Contour Color?

Contouring is a makeup technique that uses cosmetics to sculpt, define, and enhance the structure of your face.

However, if you’re new to the world of contour, it can feel overwhelming to pick the right shade. You might be curious to know: How do I choose a contour color?

In this article, I explore all things contour, from how you choose the right contour color to a step-by-step guide on how to contour. 

Before you start picking out a color, make sure you’ve read the guide on contouring naturally first. This can make a big difference.

How do I choose a contour color?

When you’re first choosing a contour color, the different shades can quickly become confusing. The key to choosing a contour color is to pick 2 shades darker than your natural skin tone and to make sure the shade has the correct undertone for your skin.

There are three possible skin undertones – warm, cool, or a mixture of the two, neutral. 

Warm undertones range from peach to yellow and golden. Warm contour shades are great for warming up the skin and giving you a healthy bronzed look. 

On the other hand, if you have a cool undertone, you will see pink and bluish hues. Cool contour shades create sharp shadows and give you a more defined chiseled cheek.

If you have a neutral undertone, this means that your undertones are roughly the same color as your actual skin tone.

 So, how do you work out your undertone?

An easy way to check which undertone you have is by looking at your veins. For example, if your veins look greenish, then you may have warm undertones. People with blue or purplish veins usually have cooler undertones. If you have neutral undertones, then your veins may appear colorless or appear to match the color of your skin.

Another easy way to check is to wear something neutral, as neutral-colored clothing can work to indicate your undertones. True white tends to favor cooler undertones, while warm undertones look better in off-white. 

Alternatively, figuring out your undertone can be as simple as thinking about how the sun affects your skin. If you have a cool undertone, you’re likely to sunburn easily and perhaps apply sunscreen more often. If you tan but don’t seem to burn, then you may have warm undertones.

How do you contour your face?

Contouring your face is great for defining and creating shadows when you have applied your base. While foundation evens the skin tone and provides you with a blank canvas, bronzer and contour are great for bringing some color and adding dimension back into your face.

Applying contour is simple, but the key is to blend well! As you’re using a color that doesn’t match your skin tone, blending the shadows that you create is absolutely essential to make sure that there are no harsh lines.

The easiest way to contour is to take your darker shade and use it to create a shadow underneath your cheekbones. To begin, you’ll want to find your cheekbones by sucking in your cheeks. Once you have found your cheekbones, trace the product along the hollows of your cheeks. To blend, sweep back and forth to work the product into your skin. Apply lightly and build up the contour to get your desired chiseled look. While it’s easy to build up your contour, it’s much harder to take it away. 

Everyone has unique facial features. Depending on your face shape, you can place your shadow in one of three places: in a “3” shape that follows your hairline, under cheekbone, and jawline, along the sides of your nose, or in an upside-down triangle shape framing your cheeks. However, it is important to note that everyone’s face shape is different and you might have to play around with different lines until you find out which way of contouring works best for you.

Once you have contoured, you can highlight! Apply a lighter shade or a highlighter to the areas of your face that reflect light naturally. This is usually down the bridge of your nose, your forehead, the tops of your cheekbones, your brow bone, and your cupid’s bow!

Contouring with cream vs contouring with powder

You can contour your face with either cream or powder contour. The key to contouring is to make sure whatever makeup products you’re using are the same texture. This comes down to the fact that layering powder with liquid and cream products can end up looking cakey.

Contouring with cream:

  • Find a cream contour stick that is two shades darker than your skin tone.
  • Apply the product under the cheekbones, on the temples and a small amount under your jawline to create the “3” shape.
  • Take a beauty blender or blending brush and work the cream product into the skin until it has seamlessly blended into your foundation.
  • To contour your nose, apply on each side beginning at the bridge of the nose and under the tip of the nose, too.
  • Blend until you can only see a light shadow.
  • Add a cream highlighter or a lighter concealer to the high points of your face, including the bridge of your nose, your forehead, your brow bones, the top of your cheekbones, and your cupid’s bow.
  • Set your face with a little translucent powder where you tend to become oily.

Contouring with powder:

  • Taking an angled brush, suck in your cheekbones and lightly trace the product along the hollows of your cheeks.
  • Trace the product along the temples and jawline to create the “3” shape.
  • Take a blending brush and blend, blend, blend! You want to ensure that the product looks like a light shadow.
  • Contour your nose with a smaller eyeshadow brush, focusing on the edges and tip of your nose. Blend the product until it looks seamless.
  • Add powder highlight to the parts of your face that the light naturally hits, including the bridge of your nose, the brow bone, tops of the cheekbones, and cupid’s bow.
  • Finish with some setting spray and you’re good to go!