How to Contour Using Makeup

Highlight cheekbones and downplay a big nose and a high forehead with bronzer.

Contour and highlight makeup on a woman's face
shvili / Getty Images

If you've landed on this page, you likely know that contouring is the hottest trend right now in makeup. Makeup artists — both professional and amateur — use bronzers, blush, and highlighters to contour the face to hide imperfections, highlight their best features and take years off a face.

Years ago, Kim Kardashian made the contouring technique famous with a picture posted on Twitter of her face being transformed through shading and contouring.

Her face was piled on with concealers, bronzers, and blushes before blending and the amount of makeup used was insane. Since then, people have become obsessed with contouring. 

But there's no need to go to such extremes. We show you how to incorporate a bit of contouring into your daily makeup routine to hide some common beauty imperfections and to highlight your best features. 

What Exactly is Contouring Using Makeup?

Contouring is the use of bronzers and blushes to create definition to your face. The goal here is to create shadows to highlight your best parts (hello cheekbones and jawbone!) and downplay any bad parts like a weak or double chin, a big nose or thin lips.

You'll need a bronzer that's not too shimmery or orange. Brown bronzers tend to work best. Remember: You don't want to bring attention to the bronzer. It is meant to create an illusion.

How to Bring Out Your Cheekbones Using Contouring

When we are young, our bone structure can remain hidden underneath chubby cheeks and leftover baby fat.

The chub can carry over into our 20s. Plump cheeks are a sign of youth, so much so that some women pay thousands of dollars to plump up their cheeks using fillers.

And then as we age, the fat melts away revealing that bone structure.

No matter your age, you can bring out your cheekbones and your jawbone using the contouring technique.

Use Contouring to Make a Wide Nose Appear Thinner

If there's one facial feature that we'd bet most women would want to change, it's the shape of their nose. Contouring can be amazing, AMAZING for downplaying a wide nose. With just a few sweeps of bronzer, followed by a sweep of a highlighter pen, you can trick the eye and make your nose appear thinner.

Contouring Will Highlight Your Jawline and Downplay Jowls

Whether you have an amazing jawline you want to show off, or you have jowls you want to downplay, this trick using bronzer is a must-try.

How to Contour Lips to Make Them Appear Plumper 

Give your lips the appearance of plumpness by contouring them using bronzer and finishing them off with lip gloss. 

How to Downplay a High Forehead

If you have hair that's one length and you pull it back, you can downplay a high forehead using bronzer.