What Is the Purpose of Contour Makeup?

by Shopify API on Jul 06, 2024

What Is Contour Makeup Best Things To Know

Do you need to know what is contour makeup? Contour makeup is a technique used to enhance and define facial features. It is a type of shading that is applied to the skin to create the appearance of depth and dimension.

Contour Makeup Definition

Contouring refers to a method of adding dimension and shape to your face using makeup that is slightly darker than your skin. Contrary to everyday foundations and concealers, designed to match the skin perfectly, contouring creates shadows and light.

Contour Makeup Definition

What Do You Need To Contour?

To contour, you don't necessarily need a specific kit. You can use any combination of concealer, foundation, bronzer, highlighter, eyeshadow, brow powder, and even highlighter to create the look.

Make sure you use the same makeup products (layering powders with creams and liquids can make them look cakey), and you have the correct makeup brushes.

What Do You Need To Contour

How To Choose The Right Contour Color For Your Skin Tone

Once you have the basics down, it is time to pick the right color to match your skin tone. Although it may seem obvious, how often have you seen people with a foundation line? One shade does not always fit all when contouring.

We all know how challenging the process of choosing the right shade can be due to the multitude of colors that blend. It can be stressful.

We turned to Nick Barose, a celebrity makeup artist who has worked with celebrities like Lupita Nyong’o and Brie Larson, to explain how it works and show you how to contour based on skin tone.

Full disclosure: Nick's contouring philosophy focuses on enhancing your natural beauty rather than creating new shapes or drawing lines. This is the essence of contouring. You can find his comprehensive guide here.

If You Have Fair/Light Skin

It would help if you were especially careful when choosing a contour color for fair and light skin tones. Anything too dark or too bright will make your skin look skewed.

Nick said that a taupe contour is best for fair skin. They are more versatile and don't make your skin turn red. He recommends Chanel Les Beiges 40 if you look for something comparable at a drugstore, NYX Cosmetics Powder Blush in Taupe.

Nick stresses the importance of not applying too much contour. This can make it too pronounced or too blotchy. He suggests smoothening the edges using a damp Beauty Blender to ensure seamless results.

If You Have Medium/Tan Skin

Medium and tan skin types have more options, but you should still test them out before spending any money. Nick said that for medium-tanned skin, Nick prefers a bronzy contour. He uses it for bronze. He explained that this allows you to sculpt your features and make them look more sunkissed.

Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze & Glow is his favorite contour color for medium/tan skin. However, if the sculpting shade seems a little too dark for your liking, the medium to light version may be a better fit.

If You Have Dark/Deep Skin

Nick uses a highlighter to define dark skin tones. He explained that for dark skin, it is the opposite. You work with your skin's darkness and add a highlighter to contour your face. This is usually a coppery-bronze shade that flatters your skin.

He recommends NARS Contour Blush, in the shade Gienah, for those with dark skin. A highlighter such as L'Oreal's True Match Lumi Illuminator Rose is a good choice for those with deep-dark skin like Lupita. It's all about balance.

Nick said that adding a sheen to the bridge of your nose, cheekbones, and chin helps to shape the face. However, dark skin can make the complexion look shiny because it reflects light. To tone down this shine, you might need to dust some powder on top.

How To Choose The Right Contour Color For Your Skin Tone

How To Contour Makeup Step By Step

Contouring can enhance your natural facial shape. It will vary for each person depending on your face's bone structure and condition.

How To Contour Makeup Step By Step

Make Sure You Prepare Your Face

Start with your skincare. Wash your face, then apply moisturizer. This will prevent makeup from clumping around dry skin and lines. You can opt to use primer, but it might be worth it if you want to do a more complex makeup look.

Primer works as a buffer between your skin and your makeup products. This allows them to last longer and perform better. Apply a little concealer and foundation to even out your skin.

Choose shades that are close to your skin's natural color and undertone. This will cover any discoloration or blemishes.


To contour, the easiest and most common way is to use your darker shade to create shadows underneath your cheekbones. You can find your cheekbones by suckling in your cheeks. Next, trace the product along your hollows.

You can place your shadow depending on your facial features and shape. You can experiment with shadows on your face until you find the best look.


Use a lighter shade of concealer or a highlighter on areas that reflect light naturally. These include your forehead, bridge of the nose, top of cheekbones, cupid's bow, and around your eyes and brow bone.

Apply concealer slightly lighter than your skin color, or use a shimmery (but not sparkly!) concealer: highlighter, illuminator, or eyeshadow.


Applying blush to the apples of the cheeks is not necessary for contouring, but it can make your makeup look more natural and act as a bridge between your highlight and shadow areas.


Blending is crucial because you will be working with shades that aren't compatible with your skin's tone. Blend your shadows and highlights with a large, fluffy brush or blending brush until they look natural.


Apply setting powder or spray to achieve a flawless finish.


FAQs About What Is Contour Makeup Used For

What's The Difference Between Contour And Bronzer?

To add definition to your face, contour and bronzing can be used. Bronzing warms up your skin, while contour highlights your best features. A bronzer, on the other hand, shows contour.

Does Contouring Need To Be Done?

It is best to avoid daily contouring as it can take a lot of time. To add subtle contour to your skin, you can learn how to place your blush strategically.

Can Contouring Make Me Look Older?

However, going too far can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Use it with caution and blend carefully!

Should I Buy A Powder Or Cream Contour Palette?

It all depends on your skin type, how much makeup you use, and the time of year. Cream contour products work best for dry skin types. These products have a natural look and can create a soft, sculpted appearance in the summer.

Powder contour palettes are great for creating a dramatic, defined look. These palettes are long-lasting and great for oily skin or special occasions.


How do you feel about the guide overall? We hope you found this article useful and enjoyable. Now we want to hear from you! What was your biggest takeaway? Do you have any suggestions, or did we miss something? Please take a minute to leave us a comment below and let us know.