Master Contouring in 4 Easy Steps

Before and After Contouring

Double chin? Disguised. Cheekbones? Chiseled. Jawline? Accentuated.

Welcome to the magic of contouring. Brought back into the limelight by the contouring queen herself, Kim Kardashian, this must-have makeup method can take your look to whole new levels of wow.


“Contouring helps define the face and show off your features with just a few swipes of contour and highlighter,” said Lena Burgess, Burlington’s resident beauty expert. “Done well, contouring can help you instantly look up to 10 pounds thinner.”

Sure, it sounds a bit intimidating, but contouring is seriously simple. Really! In just four steps, we’ll show you exactly where to place your contour and highlighter to shade and brighten with ease.

A few pointers before getting started:
Matte matters: Contours are meant to be matte so shy away from all that shimmers. Save the shimmer for your highlighter.

Bring on the brushes: Not any old brush will do. The right tools are key for creating a pro-style, airbrush finish. Every beauty toolbox should include an angular contouring brush for cheek, face and nose, a flat circular-tip highlighting brush and a blender brush or sponge.

It’s all about the blend: Hard lines are a definite no-no (and can even make you look a bit clownish). The trick? Blend, blend, blend. Contouring isn’t supposed to be noticeable. Think of it as subtle definition…with emphasis on subtle.

So grab your brushes and let’s get started!

Contouring Foundation

1. FoundationStart with a clean face and apply foundation in the same shade as your skin, stretching all the way from the top of your forehead to below your chin (even blend into your neck to prevent the appearance of hard lines)

2. ContourUse your contouring brush to contour the places where your face would naturally be shadowed by the sun. This includes:

  • Below your hairline at the top of your forehead
  • On the right and left sides of your forehead near your hairline
  • Along the right and left sides of your nose (if your brush is too large, an eyeshadow brush will do)
  • In the hollows of your cheeks (suck in your cheeks to find ‘em)
  • Along your jawline from your ears to the tip of your chin

Contouring Highlighter

3. HighlighterUse your highlighting brush to apply highlighter to the places on your face where the sun would naturally hit:

  • Center of your forehead and chin
  • Along the top of your brow lines
  • Bridge of your nose
  • Apples of your cheeks
  • Cupid’s bow (the section between the tip of your nose and the top of your lip)
  • Bonus spot: dab a bit in the corner of each eye for added sparkle

4. BlendGrab your blending blush and blend away. Make sure the edges are well blended so there are no sharp divisions between the lighter and darker shades.

Contouring Blend

BAM! Just 4 steps to an Instagram-ready look. Now go and show off your flawless self.

Category: Your Style

Tags: beauty, how-to

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