How I Face Contour (images, tools, makeup, tips)

Face Contouring is probably one makeup technique I never thought I could never do to myself. EVER! Even in makeup school, I found contouring intimidating and I would feel as if I was just winging it. But now, after 3 years of practicing, I think I got it down to a T and I can confidently say that I can contour the hell out of my face

But why contour? Contouring is definitely a way to minimize or completely hide flaws like chubby cheeks, flat and stout nose and wide or protruding forehead. It is basically creating shadows along the face to make an appearance of a well proportioned one.

Contouring is mainly done for film and photography where the lighting is very harsh and could make the face appear flat and lifeless. Contouring creates dimension especially during the black and white film decades. Think of the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor (God bless her soul), who have the most amazing features but if the makeup artist didn't contour her face, her dynamic features wouldn't have stood out.

My mentor, Ms. Cheryl Cabanos, told us to always create an oval shape face whenever we contour ourselves or a client. From there you'll instantly know what to shade and highlight. But it is also important to know which are the features in your face that are flat or protruding in order to determine how to create shadows and highlights.

prepped, no contour

Parts of the face I contour:

1. Hallows of the cheeks, or above the jawbone. Trick is to do the fish face to find it. (suck in cheeks please!)
2. Forehead as mine is a bit wide and protruding
3. Sides oft the nose because I have flat and fatty big nose (thanks to my dad's side!)
4. jawbone to lessen appearance of my double chin.
5. Temples to lessen the roundness of my face.

There are a few things I would recommend you do before you start contouring:

1. Determine your face shape. Are you a round face like me, square or apple-shaped?
        For reference, I have a round face. (isn't it obvious? hehehe!)
2. Try to imagine your face oval and see what you need to shade in order to achieve that.
        I will lessen the highlight on lower side of my face and to shade sides of my nose.
3. Less is more, so go easy on the contouring powder.
        Remember to do tap the ferrule or to dab the excess off on the back of your hand.
4. Determine the event you're going to..
        But my advise is to keep it natural at all times
5. Blend! Blend! Blend! The biggest mistake we can do when contouring is to not blend out harsh lines. We want shadows and highlights, not distinct lines.
        Make sure there's gradation in between your contours.
        When you've applied too much, dial it down with your two-way cake foundation or pressed powder.

I always start with the side of the face as it's the most important part of contouring for me. Applying the 10-step beauty of Bobbi Brown where you start first on the very important part, that way in case you need to stop applying your makeup and need to leave, the face looks done already.

And then, I try to eliminate my double chin by applying the bronzer on my jawbone down to my neck.

Lastly, I do the temples, edge of the forehead and then sides of my nose.

The result is a bit more polished and relatively more well-proportioned face.. My face looks slimmer and it accentuated my favorite features better. My nose is not overtaking the picture and the apples of my cheeks pop in a healthy looking way. My forehead isn't overthrowing the whole picture either.

The Result:

Contouring is very popular in makeup and many wants to learn. My advise is to just keep on practicing. Time will come you don't need to suck in your cheeks and you can just whip our your angled brush and bronzer and contour to your heart's desire.

Oh how I love bronzing and contouring my face. I love the dimension it gives and how the powder compliments my golden skin tone, It makes me feel sophisticated and polished at the same time. My techniques are very personal, though, and I hope with this post you can also create your own personal contouring techniques.

Tools of the Trade:

These are the only contouring brushes I've been using. I rely mostly of my MAC 165 and 190. My subs are the Charm Pro Makeup Brush Set and Charm Pro Travel Set angled blush brushes. I can never live without these brushes. If I lose any of these, I'd probably cry... a thousand rivers. :) LOL!

For the contouring powder, these two are my favorites. MAC Refined Golden (Php1800) is very subtle but you can build up the shade. Wet n Wild Princess Coloricon Bronzer (Php250) is very pigmented, I use this when I'm in a hurry and need night time contouring. MAC Mineralized Skin Finish in Medium Deep (Php1800) is also a good choice, I use this for clients. I saw one in Ever Bilena called Earth, I think, and it's only Php150!

Do you contour your face? Tell me your thoughts about face contouring! :)

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  1. valerie joy cabance4/4/11 10:56 AM

    ang galing! sana kaya ko rin yan...

  2. oo naman! lagi sinasabi na pag kaya ko, mas kayo niyo. :)

  3. Dang_villanueva4/4/11 11:12 AM

    I'd love to, since I have chubby face, kaya lang so tricky to do! Thanks for the tips, great help next time. =) Good job, Shenski! =) Muah!

  4. Hi Shen, I just finished makeup school at CAS, and like you, I was intimidated by contouring when we first studied it. But I'm amazed at its effect, so I'm practicing it as much as I can right now.

  5. Definitely picking up the product from Ever Bilena! :)

  6. galing! thanks for the tip and nice pics :)

  7. Hi Shen,

    How's the Wet and Wild contour powder-did it ever make you break out? I haven't had any formal makeup lessons, and I've started a beauty blog, so this is really great, thanks!


  8. I always contour my chubby face hehe

  9. i contour my face for special occasions. not for everyday though. too tamad :P

  10. Great article! Check out our post on Face Contouring 101 with step by step illustrations :D


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