If you’ve struggled with makeup contouring tutorials in the past, you may have missed one important piece of advice: focus on your face shape.
There are at least six different facial shapes, and the contouring advice for one shape may not work well for another. For example, if your face is oval and you’ve been watching tutorials made by women with round faces, your results may not look the same.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to contour makeup for your face shape—whatever that may be. We’ll also provide a list of additional resources to help along the way.
Contouring a Heart-Shaped Face
A heart-shaped face has a wider forehead area, fuller cheeks and a slightly pointed chin. To contour your heart face shape, focus on making your forehead look more narrow and softening your jawline.
Use your highlight on the bridge of your nose and the apples of your cheeks. Then sweep the highlighter upwards from the apples to your hairline.
Using your shadow color, start at the outside corner of each eye and sweep below your cheekbone for definition. You can add a bit of color below your jawline, too. Finally, add a bit of blush or bronzer to your cheeks to finish the look.
Contouring a Square-Shaped Face
A square-shaped face is more angular with temples, cheekbones and jawlines that form the sides and angles of a square shape. Because your face already has defined angles, your contouring focus is to soften these angles. Blending is especially important for this face type.
First, brush highlighter along your forehead, nose bridge and chin. This helps lengthen your face visually. You can also dab some highlighter under your eyes to draw attention to that area.
Then, brush shadow color beneath your cheekbones and along your forehead and jawline. Blend very well until it’s barely noticeable.
Contouring a Round Face
Round faces are usually shorter with balanced features. Your cheeks may be full, and cheekbones are the widest part of your face. Because your face is so soft and balanced, your contouring goal is to create more angles.
First, brush shadow color just under your cheekbones to enhance them. You can make a fish face to find your cheekbones first. Next, brush the shadow from the center of your forehead down the sides of your face to the tops of your ears. Brush highlighter across the tops of the apples of your cheeks, the center of your nose and forehead and the tip of your chin to finish the look.
Contouring an Oval Face
Oval faces are similar to round faces, but they’re longer. (Yes, like an oval.) The forehead is generally the widest part of an oval face.
To contour an oval face, add blush for a bit of color on the apples of your cheeks. You can also add a bit of blush along your hairline and the tip of your chin to help balance your features.
Add a bit of highlighter just above your nose and in the center of your chin. You can also highlight the apples of your cheeks if you like. Finally, sweep a smidge of shadow color under your cheekbones for definition.
Makeup Contouring Tutorials
If you want to experiment a bit more with contouring, there are some excellent makeup contouring tutorials available. Here are some of our favorites.
Ogle School—Makeup Contouring Tutorial: A Beginner’s Guide
Ogle School is a beauty school that provides a comprehensive tutorial for basic contouring. If you’ve never contoured before or want to brush up on the basics, this helpful guide is a great foundation to start with.
Masterclass—How to Contour: Master Makeup Contouring in 6 Easy Steps
Masterclass provides another helpful guide for basic contouring. This step-by-step piece helps beginners learn how to contour like pros.
How to Contour for Beginners - Tina Yong
Tina Yong’s YouTube channel is full of practical beauty and fashion advice. Her “How to Contour for Beginners” video has over 14 million views and offers plenty of practical advice to help you get started contouring. She also includes a full list of all the makeup products used in her tutorial.
CC Clarke Beauty—CONTOUR DO'S AND DONT'S
If you’ve tried makeup contouring in the past with lackluster results, CC Clarke’s channel may be the place to start. Her “Contour Do’s and Don’ts” video explains exactly where you went wrong. She highlights common mistakes and how to fix them and also includes ways to improve your contouring game. Of course, she also includes a full list of products for both U.S. and UK viewers.
If you’re not already using TikTok, this may be a reason to start: TikTok users often have the trendiest, most recent makeup tips and tricks. The platform made headlines in early 2021 for a viral contouring method that gave amazing results. There’s no single user to follow here, but search the hashtag #contourtutorial to find plenty of great content.
Try Contouring Yourself
No matter your facial shape and whichever method you choose, practice is the best way to learn which contouring techniques work for your face—and which ones don’t. With a little luck and a lot of practice, you’ll perfect your look in no time.