How to Contour for Your Face Shape

How to Contour for Your Face Shape featured image
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Contouring has become a staple technique in makeup routines, so it’s no surprise that customizing it to suit your unique features can elevate your glam to new heights. Join us as we explore expert tips and tricks to sculpt, define and enhance your natural beauty, tailored to your individual face shape. Whether you have a round, oval, square, heart or diamond shaped face, read on to discover insider secrets to attaining a flawlessly tailored contour look.

  • Natalie Dresher is a celebrity makeup artist
  • Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury is a celebrity makeup artist

How do I know my face shape?

Understanding your facial proportions can be key in identifying your face shape, according to celebrity makeup artist Natalie Dresher. “If your cheekbones and width across your face are evenly proportioned, you likely have a round face,” explains the makeup artist. “An oval face is characterized by a face length exceeding the length of the cheekbones. Meanwhile, a square face exhibits an even width across the face with angular contours. Diamond shaped faces resemble ovals but feature more prominent cheekbones, whereas heart shaped faces typically possess wider top portions than bottoms, often with a slightly pointed chin.” Additionally, our experts say a simple trick to determine your face shape is to trace the outline of your face in a mirror with a washable marker or lipstick and observe the shape created.

Do I contour before or after foundation?

It’s up to you. Contouring before foundation allows you to create a more subtle contour as the foundation helps soften and blend the product into your skin for a natural look. This technique is called underpainting. “Applying cream products directly to the skin and blending with a brush is a great way to achieve a glowing, sculpted effect,” says celebrity makeup artist Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury. “You can also warm the product with your hands to achieve a sheer, natural look.” Contouring after foundation can provide a more dramatic and defined look, as the foundation acts as a base for the contour product to adhere to, resulting in sharper lines and more intense sculpting.

What is the perfect contouring look for beginners?

Contouring for a specific face shape can get a bit confusing if you have no idea where to begin. Dresher says it’s best to think of contouring as a way of shaping the face and focusing on parts that you want to accentuate or distract from. “I love a sculpted cheekbone, and I like to make my forehead appear a smidge smaller,” she explains. “I always make sure to take my contour onto my temples, the top of my forehead, and to further carve out my cheekbones.”

To enhance and accentuate your features, Schwarzkopf-Tilbury says a simple way to begin is by gliding your contour stick high along the cheekbones, then tap it into the temples, jawline and either side of the nose, blending out with a brush in a patting motion.

How to contour a round shaped face

When contouring a round shaped face, the aim is to sculpt and define the facial contours for a more angular appearance. “The goal is to create bold lines that simulate angles,” explains Dresher. “Using a contour stick, apply along an invisible diagonal line from the top of the ear to the mid-cheek area, then blend to create the illusion of defined cheekbones.” Additionally, contouring under the jawline can enhance the chiseled effect and create the illusion of shadows for added dimension.

How to contour a heart shaped face

When contouring a heart shaped face, the aim is to balance the wider forehead with the narrower chin while accentuating the cheekbones, our experts explain. Start by applying contour along the temples and top of the forehead to minimize the width of the forehead. Then, softly contour along the sides of the face, blending downwards towards the jawline to soften the chin. Focus on sculpting the hollows of the cheeks to define the cheekbones, blending upwards towards the ears to lift the face. Finally, apply a subtle contour along the jawline to create symmetry. Remember to blend thoroughly for a seamless, natural finish.

How to contour a square shaped face

Softening the angles of a square shaped face is always a great idea. “Focus on the outer perimeter of the face to soften and shorten the width of the forehead and chin, to create an appearance of a more elongated face and softer appearance,” says Dresher. “Make sure to blend really well, as harsh lines will only further accentuate a square shaped face.”

How to contour an oval shaped face

“Carving out the cheekbones is always flattering for an oval shaped face,” says Dresher. “I like to really focus under the cheekbones and soften with a blush. Creating a contour on the top of the forehead as well as under the chin will help feign a shadow and shorten the appearance of an elongated face.”

How to contour a diamond shaped face

Since the cheekbones are prominent for a diamond shaped face, further accentuating this is easy and should definitely be done. “Going underneath the prominent cheekbones with a contour stick will add even more definition to the cheekbones,” says Dresher. Focusing the contour on the temples helps shorten the forehead width and draws the eyes to other areas,” she adds.

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MAC Studio Fix Sculpt and Shape Contour Palette ($42)

This contour palette features a curated selection of shades designed to contour and sculpt a variety of skin tones. Its powder formula blends seamlessly into the skin, allowing for customizable and natural-looking contouring effects.

BUY ON MAC – $42

mac contour palette
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Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand ($42)

This contouring wand has an innovative sponge applicator that helps with precise application and seamless blending to create a flawless contoured look with ease.



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Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit ($40)

This palette offers a range of shades for contouring, highlighting and bronzing, allowing for customization to suit various skin tones.



anastasia contour kit
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DIBS Desert Island Duo Stick ($36)

This versatile product combines contour and highlight in one convenient stick. Its creamy texture blends seamlessly onto the skin for effortless sculpting and illuminating to achieve a natural, radiant finish.



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Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette ($7)

This contour palette comes in a range of shades specifically designed for deeper skin tones. Its blendable formula seamlessly enhances facial features while providing a natural looking finish.


BUY ON CVS – $11

black radiance contour palette
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Tarte Sculpt Tape ($36)

This cult-favorite is known for its full coverage and creamy texture, ideal for sculpting and highlighting. With its extensive shade range and long-lasting formula, it provides a flawless finish.


Award Photo: Sculpt Tape Contour
Award Photo: Sculpt Tape Contour
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Fenty Beauty Match Stix Contour Stick ($32)

This creamy contour stick comes in a variety of shades, making it easy to find the perfect match for your skin tone. The formula blends effortlessly for a natural-looking contour.



fenty contour

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