The contour trend started several years ago and has since become an essential part of a makeup routine. The whole point of contouring is to reshape or define features of your face, which are usually the cheekbones, jawline, temples, and nose.
The main problem that people face with contour is that it looks too obvious. If contouring is all about reshaping features of your face to look realistic, then what’s the point in contour that is blocky and unsubtle?
The key to contouring naturally is to find the right color for you. The color of contour needs to be different from bronzer, face powder, and your foundation.
Since it all depends on skin tone, the general rule is to pick a contour that is slightly darker than your skin tone that is cool-toned. Where bronzer warms the face, contour chisels it.
You also have to pick the right brush and make sure you choose the right contour color. Tapered brushes that don’t pick up too much product are the best for contouring as they help to follow the shape of a cheekbone without providing a blotchy mess of makeup.
The most important step of contouring is the method. It’s all about building the product up slowly and blending it out as you go. Don’t swipe the product on your cheekbone or jawline back and forth! Instead, start from the hairline by the ear and work your way slowly down your cheekbone using circular motions.
The same goes for your jawline, temples, and nose contour. It’s all about creating a subtle shape that you would like to imitate.
Also, make sure to work with your face! Contouring is fun for changing the shape of your face, but natural contour works best when it’s used to define your existing features.
For example, those with a heart-shaped face should angle their cheek contour upwards to put the focus on their cheeks. Make sure to not follow the contour down to your mouth when contouring your cheekbones, as this will make your cheeks look slightly muddy and blotchy. Instead, stop the contour in line to where your pupils are.
As for the product, we recommend that beginners use powder contour as this is easier to blend than a contour stick.
Does contouring look natural?
Contouring can look natural if it is done properly. I do have a more in-depth guide on how to contour naturally.
If contouring is done with an incorrect method, brush, or product, it can look blotchy and unrealistic. Contouring is all about defining features and creating illusions, which can be tricky to achieve for beginners.
If you want your contour to look natural, here are some of the key things to avoid:
- Incorrect color
Some people will use bronzer as contour, but this is not the right shade to use when achieving a natural look.
The perfect contour shade is something that is a shade darker than the color of your skin, with a slight cool-toned finish. This is to create the illusion of a shadow on the jawline, cheekbones, and nose. Orange powders will warm the face and make the contour look too noticeable!
- Don’t overdo it
The key thing to remember with contour is to use a little bit of the product at a time and blend it slowly. If you go in with too much product and a heavy hand, the contour will look unrealistic and blotchy.
The whole point of contouring is to create the illusion of a sharp jawline, chiseled cheekbones, or a slim nose. You’re not trying to make these features stand out for the wrong reasons!
- The contour is shimmery
Hey, we all love a bit of shimmer on our face – but this is what highlighter is for. Contour needs to be a matte shade to create the illusion of a subtle shadow from your fiercely sharp cheekbones/jawline/nose.
Highlighter on the top of your cheekbones and nose will make those parts stand out, and a matte contour will contrast this wonderfully. Shimmery contour will only make your face look unrealistically shiny.
- The contour is patchy
The key to contouring is to blend. If you are using a powder contour, make sure that you set the foundation or concealer base with a translucent powder before applying the contour.
If you apply powder contour to a wet base, it’s likely to stick to it unevenly, which will create a patchy and unnatural look. Contour sticks are easier to blend on a wet surface, but make sure you don’t use too much product.
Is contour stick or powder better?
There are pros and cons to both contour sticks and powder contours, so it’s hard to say which is better!
- Contour sticks:
Contour sticks are a type of wet product that people use to draw contour lines, which are then blended out. Some people like to use contour sticks after foundation whilst the base is still wet (which works best to prevent patchiness), whilst others use contour sticks before foundation to make the lines look even more subtle.
The main advantage of contour sticks is that they are the most hydrating and nourishing to the skin. This means they don’t show the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles as much as powder contour.
Contour sticks can be applied with either a brush or sponge depending on personal preference.
However, contour sticks don’t last long on oily skin and can increase the appearance of pores. These products also aren’t great for providing definition.
- Powder contour:
Powder contour is the easiest to build and blend and the best product for those with oily skin. It is also the best option for those who want to create a defined and chiseled look, as the powder is easier to control with a brush application.
Powder contour is also proven to last longer than contour sticks throughout the day. However, the powder is more likely to show the appearance of fine lines and skin details (except for pores).
As powder contour is best for defining features, people will often use a contour stick underneath the foundation and powder contour on top of the foundation to create a super chiseled look.