Contouring and highlighting your face is a revolutionary makeup technique to get a more structured look. Why do cheek exercises or tape your face to look more sculpted when a few simple brushstrokes can instantly do the trick?
“There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.”
Most people who appreciate makeup understand that it is not a mask. They know it is art, passion and expression that complements inner and natural beauty.
Studies show that men perceive women with makeup as more attractive, confident and capable than those without. As Helena Rubinstein, a revolutionary cosmetics entrepreneur said, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.”
Contouring & Highlighting, Explained
Contouring gives an illusion of depth and a slimming effect to your face. Work on any ‘problem’ area you choose; contour to create shadow, minimise visible areas, define angles, and reshape your face. You could have sharper cheekbones, a slimmer face, a smaller forehead or a taller nose.
With contouring comes highlighting so that other parts of your face such as the cheeks and the T-zone will have the contrast to stand out.
4 Facts About Contouring
Contouring existed before the Kardashians, before the selfie and before the invention of television. What began as something new and edgy used only by makeup artists and stage performers in the 1950's has evolved into an everyday cultural phenomenon today.
Did you know?
- Since the 16th century in Elizabethan England, stage actors applied chalk and soot on their faces to help audience members decipher their facial expressions.
- Makeup was deemed vulgar during the Victorian period; only stage actors and courtesans wore makeup.
- In 1945, makeup artist Max Factor released the first ever tutorial on how to contour the face for different face shapes.
- Contouring wasn’t as popular during the Old Hollywood Glamour era in the ‘50s, not until 2012 did the Internet explode when Kim Kardashian tweeted a photo of herself pre- and post-contour.
Contouring 101 Know Your Face Shape
Different face shapes require different contouring and sculpting to create the shape you are after. While the rule of thumb to contour is to use a matte product that’s one to two shades darker than your skin tone, choose a highlighter that is one or two shades lighter.
Diamond Face Shape
- Your cheeks are wider than your hairline.
- Your face is longer than its width, and your chin is rather pointed.
Heart Face Shape
- Your hairline is narrower than your cheeks.
- You have a widow’s peak and your chin is small and pointed.
Oblong or Oval Face Shape
- The length of your face almost doubles the width.
- You have no prominent points on your chin, jaw, or hairline.
Round or Square Face Shape
- Your face is as long as it is wide.
- There are no major points on your chin, jaw, or hairline.
Contouring For All Face Shapes
- Apply under your cheekbones from your ears to the middle of your cheeks.
- Apply on the sides of your forehead and temples to narrow a wide forehead.
- Apply on the corners of your face for a slimmer look and softer edge.
- Dot the tiny area under your chin to soften the tip.
Highlighting For All Face Shapes
- Draw an inverted triangle under your eyes and highlight your brow bone to make them appear brighter and bring cheekbones forward.
- Draw a block letter ‘T’ or a palm tree on your T-zone to give your face more dimension for a less flat appearance.
- Do a big dot in the middle of your chin to add more definition.
Make sure to blend everything until you can’t see any harsh lines.
One last thing. Spray your entire face gently with a makeup setting spray so that your makeup will last in hot and humid weather.
And there you have it! Bright eyes, more defined features and razor-sharp cheekbones. You’re all pinterest- and insta-ready.
Join in the contouring craze today!
Have you tried contouring and highlighting? Tell us what you think of our guide in the comments section below. We would love to hear about your experience.