Working In The Shadows: Natural Contouring

If you don’t already know, contouring is a ~magical~ makeup technique that can completely transform your face. It’s all about using light and shadows to your advantage… and many people turn to contouring instead of getting expensive–and invasive–plastic surgery.

But, if there’s one major makeup faux-pas to avoid, it’s bad contouring. Instead of carving out your cheekbones you could end up looking like a clown, and nobody wants that. So, here are our tips on how to get a natural looking contour.


Contour Without Using Makeup

Hear us out… we learned this from our very own Sir John, so you can trust that it’s legit. If you’re heading on a tropical vacation, to the beach, or just planning on being in the sun, you can use sunscreen to contour naturally. First, apply an SPF 15 moisturizer all over your face. Then, take a heavier sunscreen (SPF 40+) and apply it to the areas of your face that you’d usually highlight… i.e. around your eyes, lips and down the very center of your nose. Be sure to use a waterproof formula so you don’t sweat it off. This technique will leave you with a subtle highlight that is extremely natural and flattering.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be on a constant vacation, you can use makeup to create a natural looking contour. Use these tips and you’ll look flawlessly chiseled.

Placement is Key

As we said, contouring is all about harnessing the power of light and shadows to define your facial structure. That being said, if you contour the wrong places you will be extremely unhappy with the results. Contouring under your jaw line can easily hide a double chin. But, if you bring it up too high on your jawline it will end up looking like a 5 o’clock shadow.

Use the Right Shades

The basic rule of thumb for contouring is this: your contouring product should be 2 shades darker than your skin tone, and your highlighting product should be 2 shades lighter than your skin tone. To get the most natural looking contour as possible, use cream contour and highlight products, so they’ll blend in seamlessly. Powder contours tend to photograph better, but you could end up looking like a cake-face in person.

Be Careful With Setting Powder

You need to put setting powder in specific places to get that effortlessly dewy, natural look. Apply a setting powder to the contoured areas of your face, but hold off on putting any powder over your highlight shade. Instead, use a setting spray to lock everything in place. Putting a powder over your cream highlight product will mattify it, taking away that gorgeous, natural-looking sheen.

Blend It Out

Seriously, you need to blend, blend and blend some more. There’s truly nothing worse (or more unnatural looking) than harsh lines between your highlight and contour. Once you think you’ve blended to perfection, go ahead and blend a little more.


This blog post was created based off of an idea from our May giveaway winner. Thanks, Leah!


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