Makeup Blog


You’ve seen it doing rounds of the ‘gram for the last few years (thanks to a certain Kim K), but we’re here to answer the question: what is contouring?

What is contouring?

Contouring is a makeup technique which uses beauty products darker than your skintone (typically bronzer) to create or accentuate shadow on your face, normally underneath the cheekbone.

Basically, contouring is a quickie face shape changer, allowing you to use light and shade to sculpt your face.

Where do I contour?

We’re sure you’ve seen the face charts on Pinterest with brown and white lines all over someone’s face. Scary, right?

The basic principle of where to contour is to think of where shadows naturally fall on the face. Find a photo of yourself in harsh lighting and you’ll see exactly what we mean. To get those Bella Hadid vibes you’re gonna want to contour:

  • Underneath your cheekbones
  • Along the sides of the face
  • Underneath the jawbone
  • Along the sides of the nose

Why do people contour?

It’s a big question to ask, but generally people contour to make subtle amendments to how their face shape appears. For example, a well placed contour can change the look of the width of your nose, or perhaps elongate the face shape.

Who made contour famous?

Contouring has been around for years, but it’s been pretty popular recently thanks to us all wanting to keep up with the Kardashians.

What products do I need to contour?

There isn’t one contour product to suit everyone. Much like bronzer, contour will come in different shades and tones to suit, so we’d recommend working out your skin tone (cool? warm? neutral?) and then selecting a shade from that.

We’ve collated our fave contouring products and left our edit for you below, so you don’t have to do the graft.

Now you know what contour is, it’s time to sculpt and shape

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Writer and expert