Witness a beauty transformation with our beginner-friendly contouring tips

Simple Contouring for Beginners: Elevate Your Look!

Have you ever envied celebs like Kim Kardashian for their sculpted, chiseled cheekbones? The secret is likely contouring. Simple contouring for beginners can help enhance and define your natural facial features with just a few makeup products and techniques. Contouring may seem intimidating at first, but starting with the basics will have you looking like a professional makeup artist in no time. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to master simple contouring, from choosing the right products to blending for a flawless finish. Let’s start sculpting!

Key Takeaways

  • Contouring sculpts and defines facial features by using makeup shades that are darker than your natural skin tone.
  • Beginners should start with powder or cream contour formulas and blend using stippling or buffing brushes.
  • Focus on contouring the hollows of the cheeks, temples, and jawline to subtly sculpt the face.
  • Go slow, use a light hand, and blend thoroughly to achieve a seamless, natural look.

Contouring 101: Understanding the Basics

Before you pick up a contour brush, it’s important to understand what contouring is and why people do it. Here’s a quick Contouring 101 primer:

What is Contouring?

Contouring is a makeup technique that uses shades darker than your natural skin tone to create shadows and define facial features. By strategically applying contour products, you can:

  • Sculpt and slim areas of the face
  • Enhance and emphasize cheekbones
  • Slim the appearance of your nose
  • Chisel and define your jawline

Done right, contouring can give the illusion of facial structure and dimension through shading and highlights.

Navigate the world of contouring with our step-by-step guide for beginners

A Brief History of Contouring

Contouring has been used in film and theater makeup for decades to transform actors’ faces. But it hit the mainstream in the 2010s when Kim Kardashian and other celebs made sculpted cheekbones popular.

While elaborate, dragged contour may be trendy, the basic technique of strategic shading to enhance natural features has been used since the early makeup days. Max Factor was known for “face sculpting” in classic Hollywood!

The Difference Between Contouring and Highlighting

Contouring and highlighting go hand-in-hand to enhance your features:

  • Contouring uses darker shades to create shadows and recede areas.
  • Highlighting uses lighter shades to illuminate and bring forward areas.

When applied together, contour and highlight can transform your bone structure. Contour slims, and highlight accentuates!

Contouring vs. Bronzing

What’s the difference between contouring and bronzing?

  • Contouring has cool undertones that mimic natural shadows to recede areas.
  • Bronzing has warm undertones that add an all-over glow and color.

Use contour to sculpt and bronzer to warm up and add dimension for a pro makeup look.

Now that you know the basics, let’s get into the simple techniques to take your contour game to the next level!

Choosing the Right Contouring Products for Beginners

Starting your contour collection can be confusing with all the formulas and shades out there. Here’s what you need to create simple, seamless contours as a beginner:

Best Contour Formulas

Look for these user-friendly contour formulas:

  • Powder contour – Buildable, easy to blend, great for beginners
  • Cream contour – Dewy finish, seamless blending
  • Liquid contour – Precise application and long-lasting wear

Can’t decide? Try a powder contour for easy blending and layerable coverage.

Stippling brush, a must-have tool for simple contouring beginners

Contour Brushes vs. Beauty Sponges

Contour BrushesBeauty Sponges
Fluffy brushes diffuse and blend contour
Angled brushes precisely apply contour
Stippling brushes are great for powder contour
Blends liquid and cream contours
Creates an airbrushed effect
Use damp for a sheer, natural contour

Choosing the Right Contour Shade

Look for a contour shade 2 shades deeper than your natural skin tone. Cool-toned shades mimic natural shadow areas best.

Swatch test on your jawline in natural light to find your perfect match!

Starting with versatile, foolproof products will make learning to contour easy and fun. Next, it’s time to break out those brushes!

Contouring for Your Face Shape

One of the keys to natural-looking contour is customizing it for your unique face shape. Follow these simple guides to accentuate your best features:

Oval Faces

  • Apply contour under the cheekbones and along the jawline and hairline to add definition.
  • Highlight the center of the forehead, nose, and chin.

Round Faces

  • Contour below the cheekbones and along the jawline to slim the face.
  • Avoid applying the product to the sides of the forehead or it will widen the appearance.

Square Faces

  • Contour the forehead, jawline, and neck to soften the angles.
  • Highlight the chin and center of the face.

Heart Shaped Faces

  • Add contour along the hairline and jawline.
  • Highlight the upper cheekbones.

Diamond Shaped Faces

  • Contour the forehead and jawline to balance out the wide cheekbones.
  • Highlight the cheeks and chin.

Customizing your contour for your face shape will create the most natural dimension and structure. Time to get sculpting!

Choosing the right makeup shades for a natural look in simple contouring for beginners.

Contouring for Beginners: Basic Techniques

Now that you’ve got the right products and know your face shape, it’s time to master these key contouring techniques:

Where to Apply Contour

Focus on sculpting these areas:

  • Hollows of the cheeks
  • Temples and hairline
  • Sides of the nose
  • Jawline and underneath the chin

Pro tip: Never bring the contour shade past the middle of your cheeks or it will drag your face down!

Blending is Key

Perfectly blended contour is the secret to looking like a pro. Make sure to:

  • Use a light hand and build up color gradually
  • Blend with a damp sponge in pressing motions
  • Diffuse edges so there are no harsh lines
  • Blend until seamless and undetectable

Common Contouring Mistakes

Watch out for these trouble spots:

  • Applying too much product and looking muddy
  • Forgetting to blend for a natural look
  • Having uneven or patchy contours

Take your time, blend well, and build up to the level of contour you want.

Mastering natural-looking, seamless blending is key for beginner contour success. Practice makes perfect!

Step-by-Step Contouring for Beginners

Follow these simple steps to achieve a subtle, sculpted definition:

  1. Prep your skin – Wash, moisturize, and prime for a flawless base.
  2. Apply foundation – Stick to light coverage to let your natural skin show through.
  3. Conceal and set – Cover dark circles, blemishes, and oily areas. Dust lightly with setting powder.
  4. Add subtle bronzer – Apply to the forehead, cheeks, and nose for warmth. Don’t overdo it.
  5. Contour cheek hollows – Use an angled brush and sweep from the top of the ear towards the corner of the mouth.
  6. Contour perimeter – Define the hairline, jawline, and sides of the nose with a contour shade.
  7. Blend, blend, blend – Buff out edges until seamless. No harsh lines!
  8. Highlight – Apply highlighter to cheekbones, nose, and cupid’s bow.

Take your time and blend thoroughly for a natural dimension. Subtle sculpting takes practice, so don’t get discouraged! With the right products and techniques, beginners can master simple contouring for a subtly defined everyday look like Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic creates.

With the right products and techniques, beginners can master simple contouring for a subtly defined everyday look.

Contouring for Different Occasions

The amount of contour you apply can vary based on the occasion. Here are tips for tailoring your sculpting:

Everyday Contouring

  • Use a light hand to enhance your natural features.
  • Stick to your usual makeup routine and add subtle contour.
  • Contour just the cheekbones, nose, and jawline.

Contouring for Photos

  • Apply more contour than usual – it helps sculpt features with flash.
  • Add contour along the perimeter of the face as well.
  • Make sure to blend seamlessly to avoid looking overdone.

Subtle Contouring for Work/School

  • Use sheer, buildable contour for the most natural look.
  • Focus on the cheekbones only.
  • Opt for a dewy cream formula during the day.

Dramatic Contouring for Night

  • Deepen your contour shade for evening events.
  • Sculpt your nose, lips, and collarbones as well.
  • Set with powder to increase boldness and longevity.

Tailor your contouring to any occasion for a customized sculpted look! Amp it up for bohemian weddings or other photography.

Frequently Asked Questions About Contouring

Still have questions? Here are answers to some common contouring concerns:

How do I choose the right contour shade?

Look for a matte shade about two tones deeper than your skin. Cooler shades mimic natural shadows best. Always test shades first before applying them to your whole face.

What’s the difference between cool and warm contour shades?

Cool shades with pink or red undertones mimic natural shadows. Warm shades with yellow/olive undertones are more for bronzing and adding warmth.

How do I make contouring last all day?

Use a long-wearing cream or liquid formula. After applying, set it with a translucent powder to lock it in place for up to 12 hours of wear.

Help! I can’t blend my contour seamlessly!

Make sure to really buff and diffuse the edges. Apply your foundation first for a smooth base. Use a damp sponge and blend in pressing motions until no harsh lines are visible.

What are cream contours best for?

Cream contours blend seamlessly and create a dewy, natural finish. They’re great for dry skin and achieving that everyday sculpted glow.

Now you’re a contouring expert! It’s time to get sculpting and enhancing your natural beauty.

Mistakes to Avoid as a Contouring Beginner

Learning any new makeup skill takes practice. Avoid these common contouring mistakes:

  • Applying too much product – Start with less color and build up gradually for natural definition.
  • Forgetting to blend – Always blend, blend, blend until seamless and no harsh lines are visible.
  • Choosing the wrong undertone – Cool, ashy shades mimic shadows better than warm shades.
  • Bringing contour too low – Stop contours at the hollows of the cheekbones to avoid dragging the face down.
  • Uneven contour – Make sure both sides are symmetrical.
  • Unblended contour – Overlooked edges look obviously painted on. Fully buff out the perimeter.

Contouring is a skill that improves with practice. Don’t get discouraged! Taking your time to apply and blend will lead to naturally defined, beautiful enhancements.

Correcting mistakes is easy – buff and blend until you’ve achieved your desired sculpted look. Have fun getting gorgeous!


With the right techniques, contouring can be easy and fun for beginners! Remember these tips for naturally sculpted beauty:

  • Choose a cool-toned contour formula and shade that suits your skin tone.
  • Focus on enhancing your face shape by contouring the cheeks, nose, jawline, and hairline.
  • Blend, blend, blend until seamless – no harsh lines!
  • Highlight with lighter concealer or shimmery shades.
  • Subtle, blended contour sculpts gently and naturally.

Contouring is all about enhancing what you already have. Play with light and shadows to bring out your best features!

Patience and practice will help you master simple techniques for defined everyday makeup looks. Have fun with contouring and discovering your most gorgeous facial structure!

The Right Ways to Contour & Highlight For Beginners – Pretty Designs

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