These days contouring is about as close to makeup magic as we can get. Utilizing the powers of light and shadow, this technique can narrow a nose, enhance cheekbones, chisel a sharper jaw line, define the brows and deepen the eyes.  Contouring styles can run the gamut from subtle to dramatic, and we want to make sure you are able to achieve a naturally sculpted look without going too far. Here’s a list of vital rules to keep in mind when contouring that complexion.


Rule #1. Dont Forget to Moisturize and Prime the Skin. It’s important to start of with a clean and smooth surface, as it allows all blemishes and imperfections to be out of sight and out of mind. Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Sun Damage SPF 28 is an awesome protective moisturizer that also evens out discoloration and marks on skin. For primer, we recommend L’Oréal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base, which creates a smooth canvas to work on.

Rule #2. Make Sure You Have the Right Products and Brushes. Contouring requires key products and tools. Using the wrong one can change the overall look. Make sure you are equipped with a foundation that matches your skin tone, as well as a foundation a couple shades darker (or bronzer) and a highlighter. For brushes, make sure you have a foundation brush, contour brush and powder brush.

Rule #3. Know What Goes Where. Be aware of the focal points for each product.  Darker foundation goes across the forehead and onto the outer edges of the cheeks. Highlighter should be applied to the bridge of the nose, top of the cheek bones and the cupid’s bow. Again, any wrong move could impact the overall contouring effect. Also, always be sure to use a light touch in your application. Building color is easier than toning it down.

Rule #4. Blend, Blend, Blend. Blending is one of the most important steps in contouring. Using the foundation brush, gently blend any hard edges away so that the effect is natural and looks effortless.

Rule #5. Dont Forget to Set! Now that you’ve put some serious effort into your contouring masterpiece, make sure you set it so that it doesn’t go anywhere! Dust a loose or pressed setting powder on the entire face and neck to meld the entire look together (we recommend Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Setting Powder). MDC Quick Tip: After applying setting powder, mist the face with a facial spray to prevent cakiness.

Have you mastered the art of contouring yet? Tell us your secrets to success in the comments below.

Photography: Joshua M. Shelton
Hair and Makeup: Tara Shakespeare
Model: Jessyca Dewey

Let's Stay in Touch

Get our top stories straight to your inbox!