How to Use Contouring In Your Makeup Routine

If you’ve ever seen photos of celebrities without their makeup, you know that the larger-than-life beauty that many women have are from employing gifted makeup artists and stylists to help them achieve a constantly polished, supermodel look. The same tricks the celebrities use are readily available to you — false lashes, facials, human hair extensions, and facial contouring that adds dimension to the face. 

Eyeshadow Makeup

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with it. Practice makes perfect, so be sure to practice a few times and get the opinion of trusted friends before using contouring for a big or important get-together. With just a few practice sessions, you should be able to see a dramatic difference in your overall look. When contouring, be sure to adjust the amount of contour to the occasion. A red-carpet or evening event where you are dressed to the nines could allow for dark areas of bronzer and highlights, but wearing this much makeup to the grocery store would make bystanders wonder if Halloween is coming. Be sure to use discretion on how much make up you wear, based on the occasion. The trick is to apply enough makeup so that your features are defined, but blending well enough to create an appropriate balance. 

The goal of contouring is to define features and bring the face to as close to an oval shape as possible, which is largely considered the ideal face shape. With contouring, you’re always going to do two things. The first is shading, which means that you’re going to take certain features and make them recede from view. The second is highlighting, which creates the illusion of bringing a feature out. The shaded and highlighted areas all depend on what your face shape is and your most prominent features. 

Shading products should be one shade lighter than your natural skin tone. Highlighting products should be one shade darker than your natural skin tone. Be sure not to over-highlight your cheekbones — they are the most prominent part of your face when you smile. Do an internet search to determine what your face shape is and which features your face shape generally highlights. 

After applying your highlighting and shading products, blend, blend, blend to make sure your face looks dewy and natural. Blending is the most important part of contouring, because it’s what completes the illusion. If you don’t blend enough, you’ll just end up with awkward makeup lines on your face.


Perfect Locks is a web site that offers a variety of hair extensions and more! Learn more about Perfect Locks by stopping by their About Me section on the site and don’t forget to check out their Facebook and Twitter page as well. Plus, browse the huge hairstyle picture galleries and read up on the latest fashion, beauty trends and tips on their blog.

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  1. Chelsea says:

    Thanks for sharing… I’ve never tried contouring, and I’m usually pretty hesitant to try new things with make up. Maybe I’ll try this though.

  2. Chrystal D says:

    Great tips…I’ve never tried this but will give it a shot this weekend!

  3. Krista Grandstaff says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I am pretty comfortable with contouring and makeup, but I have one of those weird boney faces so I actually have to make my cheeks look fuller… but it is possible with highlighting and contouring the less obvious areas..

  4. Leah Lucas says:

    I will definitely try this technique, thank-you for the advice!

  5. lisa says:

    TV makes everything look easy.They have pros do hair and makeup. It does take patience and time to get it right.

  6. Myra R says:

    i am the first to admit i play it safe when it comes to doing my makeup… as much as i would love to try new tips and tricks i never feel confident in what i am doing.. this post helped a lot i feel a bit more confident going into it, makeup is supposed to be fun and there is no harm in playing with it at home behind closed doors! practice does make perfect i suppose. so i think i am going to take this all in and take a whack at it!

  7. Holly M Uhler says:

    First, let me say I LOVE playing with eyeshadow! I do so frequently and am not too bad at it if I do say so myself! However, there’s one key thing that’s missing in this article. Celebrities have AMAZING makeup artists indeed but there’s only SO MUCH that can be done using makeup. To be frank the beauty technique preferred all celebrities since circa 1998(Totally guessing the year here)? Photoshop! Yes Photoshop, Have you ever wondered why when you see Madonna in a video or commercial, magazine ad and what not you think, “Wow she looks GREAT for her age how does she do it!?” But than one fateful night she appears on a halftime show live and you’re all “OH MY GOSH! WHO INVITED THE CRYPT KEEPER!?” Yeah…. That’s photo shop baby 😛

  8. lol, that’s so true and I was really shocked when I saw how wrinkled she was. I love her and it might be a great idea to have some of those removed by a pro..

  9. Holly M Uhler says:

    LOL I would agree except I think she’s so wrinkly BECAUSE she had so many lifts and unfortunately her prime time starting would have been in the early years of the procedure where the lift would eventually wear off leaving saggy skin like a cartoon bulldog 😡

  10. I can never do it right.. It’s so frustrating:(

  11. I love playing with makeup, many tutorials on the YouTube make this look like a piece of cake!

  12. I love make-up although I don’t use a lot I do love experimenting.I have high cheek bones so I find it easy to contour my face.Thanks so much for a great review and for telling us about “Perfect Locks”.I will be stopping by there.

  13. Vicki Hale says:

    I have done shading before, and had people tell me, your make up looks good today, so it does make a difference. Thank you Vicki

  14. laurie nykaza says:

    Another way to have this done for free is at a make up counter in a store. A make up artist can walk you through the process of application so ask questions as they apply the make up. Some are better than others.They usually will give you a chart with what they applied to the different places on your face. I like Ulta or places like it you can book with one company rep for free or have a person there that uses all different brands to get the best look do the application. For many we see in on tv etc they use the air make up machines and for me this is what I like the best. You can do it yourself it takes practice.

  15. Thanks for the tips! I’ll try to use contouring in blending and experimenting with my make up 🙂

  16. Maria Iemma says:

    I am such a klutz with make up that I need all the help I can get. I am always afraid of contouring because I feel I will mess it up and look like a clown. These are good tips that I’ll try to follow.

  17. Donna Martin says:

    Makeup is a passion for us, makeup lovers, makeup is FUN..

  18. Anastasia Alexander says:

    I have heard of this before, but I have never tried it. In the article you say for shading to buy one shade lighter and for highlighting to buy one shade darker. Isn’t that backwards??? Isn’t highlighting done with a lighter shade??? Anyway, I like this review. I didn’t know that an oval face was considered the most desired shape. I wish there were pictures to give me an idea of where to do the shading. I think my face would be considered round so I would want a way to elongate my face. Thanks for the review!!

  19. Miki Baxter says:

    I haven’t tried contouring yet, though I would like to experiment and try a new, more glamorous look. Thank you for the tips! Miki

  20. I love experimenting with make up. It is truly amazing the tricks and transformations that can occur with some changes in color, texture, or applications.

  21. cheridene says:

    i love your tips and will try them

  22. I can never have enough makeup.I love it and I like to try different things.Thanks for the tips on contouring.I will have to try this too…XX

  23. Contouring is something I have yet to master! I usually watch how youtube beauty guros do it on their tutorials but I always end up contouring a tad too much in the wrong places lol. I would love to be able to contour like kim kardashian someday though!!! Great Post! Thank you!!

  24. Lynda Cook says:

    I’ve tried a couple times playing around with make up and changing it up, but I always look like a clown lol

  25. Hey, Lynda! Maybe you’re applying too much? Try putting on lesser… Thanks

  26. Kelly Faber says:

    I never knew that the ideal face shape is oval! Interesting! Well, I guess I will not need much contouring then since that is the shape of my face!

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