One of the most magical techniques in the world of make-up is contouring. It can transform your nose shape and give you what looks like an apparent face lift. For years I sat trying to unravel how I could contour by cheeks and get the looks I saw in magazines. I soon learned that contouring actually isn’t difficult. Once you find the right products and understand what contouring actually is, the idea is pretty simple. The idea is that the sun is hitting the high points of your face and that shadows are being cast on the other areas, receding them.

via Total Beauty 

These essential items are the basics to achieve a minimal and effortless contour. It is easy to achieve a slight contour with beauty products you more than likely already have in your collection.


1) A CREAM PRODUCT DARKER THAN YOUR SKINTONE – This product can be a cream bronzer, concealer, or a foundation that is darker than your current skintone. If you aren’t sure which shade to pick, it is safe to choose one that is about two shades darker than your current skintone. I usually use the darkest shade for my actual contour color so I can actually achieve a shadow with little product. Look for cream products that have a matte finish and can be easily applied to the skin. Companies have recently introduced stick foundations and concealers that are great for contouring if there is a shade appropriate for you. Beginning with a cream shade preps the skin for longevity.

2) A FOUNDATION THAT IS ONE SHADE LIGHTER THAN YOUR SKINTONE – To start the process, make sure you have a flawless base to work with. To achieve this I suggest applying a foundation that matches your skintone or is one shade lighter. The process of contouring and bronzing will eventually warm up the skin and if your foundation is on the light side, it will be darkened once the process is finished. Using a lighter foundation is also a great way to prep your skin for highlighting – especially if you don’t have many blemishes to cover and are able to concentrate the product on the high points of your face.

3) HIGHLIGHTING CONCEALER – A highlighting concealer will give you the perfect wide-awake fresh-faced effect possible. Once you find a brightening concealer you like, you will be addicted, I swear! Maybelline’s brightening concealer has a pinkish hue that brightens the entire under-eye and blends beautifully into all areas of the skin. The highlighting concealer you choose will be applied under the eyes and on all of the eye points of your face. If you don’t want to get a brightening concealer, you can opt to use a concealer that is one to two shades lighter than your current concealer. Anything that has coverage and is bright will do the trick!

4) BRONZING POWDER/HIGHLIGHT – This is optional but I consider it to be a vital aspect of any contouring routine. After using any cream product I think it is important to set it with a powder, so find a matte bronzer you love and incorporate it into your contour routine. After you use the cream contour and go through your routine, use the matte powder bronzer to set the cream and ensure all day wear. If you don’t have a matte bronzer, don’t hesitate to use a matte brown shadow.

5) BLUSH – Your favorite formula of blush in a standout shade is the best way to add the final pop of color to your contour. The Tarte blushes come in a range of colors and last all day, which is perfect for a contoured face. They don’t smudge all over the face making sure your contour will stay in place all day. When you apply your blush, make sure to not rub the color where you applied the bronzer or else you may end up with a muddy mess.

6) SETTING POWDER – To lock in your look, use your favorite setting powder. Without smudging any product use a large brush and a light dusting to set your make-up any type of translucent powder and an optional setting spray.


7) ANGLED BRUSH – A small brush of your choosing is a great option for contouring small areas of your face. A small angled brush or blending brush is ideal for sculpting the nose, around the eyes, or under the lips. This brush is also great for blending out any harsh lines and lets you get very precise.

8) BEAUTY BLENDER – Not until recently did I discover the magic of the BeautyBlender. This gem is amazing at blending in any cream product and making sure no product cakes up on the skin. I would recommend using this product to apply your foundation first to make sure the foundation looks like a second skin. After you put the cream bronzer and highlight on your face, blend everything out with the BeautyBlender and everything will have a flawless finish.

9) FLAT TOP CONTOUR BRUSH – The MAC 163 is one of the most unique flat top brushes on the market. It is the lazy girl’s tool for contouring. All you have to do is dip the brush in the product then wiggle the brush in the hollows of your cheek where the contour applies. If you don’t want to splurge on this style of brush, try out the brushes that you find in the Benefit Boxed Powders or other drugstore compacts. I used to toss them but I now use them to make my contouring simple.

10) CONTOUR BRUSH – Your typical angled contour brush is a fool-proof way of applying a bronzer on top of the cream contour. If you want to apply just a bronzer on the hollow areas of your face, you can use an angled contour brush to ease the process and help the bronzer apply in all the right places.

11) ALL OVER FACE BRUSH – To make sure your entire look is blended out, use a large powder brush or a kabuki brush to blend everything together once all of the products are applied to your face.


1. Apply your favorite foundation to achieve a flawless look.

2. Begin the contour by applying a matte cream bronze shade in the hollows of your face (under cheek bones, around forehead, down nose, jawline, etc.). Apply this anywhere you want to look more receded than it is.

3. After you apply the contour, apply the brightening concealer to the high points of your face (the places you want to accentuate – cheekbones, forehead, cupid’s bow, etc). Doing this will brighten your face up and pull it forward. Also highlight underneath the contour that is in the hollow of your cheek.

4. Use your brush of choice to blend both the brightening concealer and cream contour in. Blend using a beauty blender, stippling brush, dome brush, etc. Anything that will blend the product in works!

5. If you want to apply a powder bronzer, accentuate the cream contour by going over the area with the powder bronzer. Warm up the skin with the bronzer if needed.

6. Apply your desired blush shade above the contour and blend it in toward the contour. Don’t mix it with the contour.

7. Apply a soft highlighter on the top of your cheekbones above your blush and contour to further accentuate the highpoints of your face.

8. Finish the face by setting the look with a setting powder and finishing spray.

Happy Contouring!

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What are your favorite products for contouring?