Contouring make-up: how to do it and the best products


Now definitively entered in the language of make-up and in the daily use of stars and not only, the contouring it is one of the makeup techniques that people like the most. The skilful play of light and shadow, able to exploit the light and dark of the face, has been reproduced by a large number of web personalities, first of all Kim Kardashian, who has become a sort of spokesperson for this method.

Making it on your face is not easy, because it requires the right products, a good eye and a little manual skills. However, following the step by step procedure, the result is assured, and you can learn how to get a optimal contouring for every face shape. Let’s see better what it is, how it is done and what it is used for.

Face contouring: what is it?

Face contouring is one make-up technique born in the world of fashion, especially in photo shoots, which aims to sculpt faces, and to modify their perception by exploiting the chiaroscuro. In fact, some parts of the face such as the nose, cheekbones, chin, receive more light than other areas such as the eyes and cheeks which remain in shadow.

For some years now, contouring has been conquering more and more women after that Kim Kardashian started posting on his profile Instagram and on its channel Youtube the secrets of her perfect makeup. He also founded, together with make-up artist Mario Dedivanovic, MakeUp By MARIO, the line of specific products for this technique from the name KKWBeauty.

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L’target of contouring make-up is giving to the face volume and three-dimensionality, effects that help enhance beauty. The make-up should not upset the face, completely changing the connotations, but enhance the natural beauty of each one. Wearing makeup should be a choice, not an obligation to feel more appreciated by others.

Those who choose to wear make-up, especially in a more in-depth way with the contouring technique, must do it to enhance some aspects of the face that they like, and above all by following some of the right steps of the experts.

How to do make-up contouring?

Learn to create the contouring make-up it is not difficult, thanks to the many tutorials that are found online today. Following Kim Kardashian’s example, in fact, several celebrities and not only have wanted to show their makeup routine which includes the chiaroscuro base.

Contouring, as a daily make-up or to leave the house during the day, must not be exaggerated: there are in fact more levels of chiaroscuro, but the most evident and trodden ones are reserved for models for photo shoots where the light must hit the face in a particular way and that in reality it would seem strange.

In the next paragraph we will see how to do the chiaroscuro makeup by modifying some passages depending on the shape of the face. Who has a face almost regular and oval, it can follow these instead general steps.

  1. The first step is to apply the land in the shaded areas:
    – under the cheekbones, following the natural shadow lines;
    – on the sides of the nose, following the entire length, not only on the tip;
    – on the hairline of the forehead;
    – on the chin, only on the tip.
  2. Then apply theilluminating in the points of light, in contrast to the dark earth:
    – on the cheeks;
    – on the central part of the nose;
    – on the rest of the forehead and on the browbone;
    – on cupid’s bow, the central part of the lips.
  3. Finally, to restore color to the skin, you can pass the blush on the cheeks.
  4. Once the basic products are applied, you can move on to blend everything with the brush, especially if you use powder products, which give a less artificial effect. For those wishing to be more daring even for a particular occasion, it is possible to use cream products, which guarantee a more sculpted look.

Contouring according to the shape of the face


These were the general rules for completing a contouring makeup on a more or less oval-shaped face. The process, however, relies heavily on face shape. In fact, depending on whether you have a round or square face, the effects of the light hitting the different areas change. Therefore you need to follow the steps more suitable.

Round face

To achieve the contouring make-up on a face mainly rounded must spread the earth on the contours of the face and darken the lower part of the cheekbones, in order to create volume. Apply the highlighter on the upper part of the cheekbones and on the chin, blending sideways. Apply a light touch of blush on the cheeks and blend all the products well.

Long face

On a shaped face elongated it always starts from the earth, which must be applied under the cheekbones, on jaws is on front, keeping some distance from the nose and mouth. Before switching to the highlighter, spread the blush horizontally on the cheekbones starting from the outside of the face going towards the nose. Then apply the highlighter around the eyes, in the middle, below and on the browbone, under the cheekbones, on the sides of the mouth and on the cupid’s bow.

Square face

With a face square, it is important to spread the earth on the sides of the forehead and along the jaws. Then pass the highlighter instead on the rest of the forehead and in the center of the chin, leaving out the outside of the face. Finally, the blush should be applied on the cheeks making small circles, not blending too high.

Triangular face

If you have a face triangular, the earth is spread on the sides of the forehead, fading downwards, to then go to apply the highlighter to the center of the chin and under the cheekbones, between the bone and the jaws. The blush should be spread over, on the cheeks, fading towards the temples.

Face to heart

If you have the typical face to heart, it is necessary to create a shaded area with the earth on the sides of the forehead, along the entire hairline, under the cheekbones and on the chin, while the highlighter is passed on the forehead, cheeks, chin and Cupid’s bow. Finally, pass the blush on the cheeks in small, slightly blended circles.

Diamond face

For the shaped face diamond instead we must apply the land to sides of the face, from the temples to the jaw and then down to the chin. Apply the highlighter under the eyes and in the center of the forehead. The blush only on the cheeks, gently spreading outwards.

The ideal products for contouring

contouringSource: Web

To get a good result, as close as possible to a professional one, it is important to use the products ideals. The main ally for making contouring makeup is the land, which must have cold shades, in order to avoid the orange effect and blend the skin color well. Furthermore, the texture it must be opaque and light, so as to be easily blended, e without glitter. Obviously, it is essential to choose the color of the earth that best suits your complexion, which can be more or less light.

In contouring, not only shadows are important but also light, and it is in fact just as important the illuminant, the protagonist of the strobing make-up. Since this technique wants to sculpt the features of the face, highlighting the strong points, the illuminant to be preferred is the one in dust, not too shiny. Finally, to complete the trick blush. A touch of color applied to the cheeks and other areas of the face to enhance the complexion and make the makeup less constructed.

Inevitable in the drafting of make-up for the chiaroscuro effect is the brush, or rather the brushes. In fact, brushes with different shapes are fine depending on the area of ​​the face to be made up, such as pointed, round or angled ones. However, it is better to prefer fairly small brushes, able to better define the make-up, than very large ones suitable for spreading the product all over the face without distinction.

Amazon’s Choice

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer

Ideal for contouring

8 € on Amazon

9 € you save 1 €


  • Opaque at the right point, excellent for contouring
  • Velvety and matte texture
  • Easy to blend
  • Cold shades, not orange
  • Long duration


  • A little too dark for fair skin

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer bronzer is the ideal bronzer for sculpting the face with the right shades. Available in different shades, mainly cold, it lends itself perfectly to countouring, thanks to its velvety and opaque texture. It is easily blended and non-orange, long-lasting and covering, especially for darker skins.

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Excellent value for money

Sculpting Palette by Kate by Rimmel

Sculpting Palette by Kate by Rimmel

The complete contouring set

€ 12 on Amazon


  • Complete with bronzer, blush and highlighter
  • Quality product
  • Opaque and easy to apply textures
  • It leaves no stains
  • Ideal for all skin types, even the lightest ones


  • Lightly pigmented highlighter

Fundamentals for make-up contouring are earth, blush and highlighter. Rimmel London’s Sculpting Palette by Kate combines all three products in a single set. Convenient to carry with you, it is ideal for sculpting the face even during the day, with a simple and everyday make-up. The highlighter is slightly pigmented, so as to illuminate without exaggerating, the matt and easy to apply earth does not leave stains, the blush is instead stronger, and a smaller amount must be used.

The most reviewed

BEAKEY makeup brush set

BEAKEY makeup brush set

Users’ favorite

8 € on Amazon

9 € you save 1 €


  • Excellent value for money
  • Very complete
  • Good quality
  • Soft and resistant
  • Ideal for contouring
  • Different forms


  • Not very versatile, very large brushes are missing

The Beakey makeup brush set is the best for contouring, as it contains even smaller brushes for finishing, and a good choice of shape, for all the different areas of the face to be applied. It also contains the sponge and the make-up brush cleaner to clean the brushes. Made with solid wood and synthetic hair bristles, they are resistant and at the same time soft and non-irritating. The ideal product for make-up and contouring beginners.

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