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Face Contouring Makeup Ideas to Easily Highlight & Contour Your Face

Can we just talk about face contouring for a second? It’s not an underappreciated beauty technique by any means, but we also don’t believe that contouring gets nearly enough credit. It transforms your entire look with a swipe of bronzer, blush, or concealer (like our Stay Naked Correcting Concealer!), helping to effortlessly lift your cheekbones and faking everything from a sharper jawline to a shorter nose. It’s designed to enhance your already-fabulous features in a fresh and temporary way, and even Botox can’t compete with a killer contouring tutorial.

stage actors in Elizabethan England to the drag world that defined an entire beauty era, countless icons have praised the power of face contouring over the centuries. Of course, what works for them doesn’t always work for you. You can’t start to create magic with bronzing powder until you know the proper contouring techniques that work for your facial features, and that’s where Urban Decay comes in. From our shade finder to the all-new and super-innovative Quickies Multi-Use Dual-Ended Concealer, here’s how to get started with contour and more.

Contouring Theory

Don’t be intimidated by hour-long YouTube tutorials, as contouring is actually quite a simple and beginner-friendly beauty technique. All you need to do is shade, define, and illuminate certain areas of your face that you’d like to tone down (contour) or turn up (highlight). There’s no need to change your face shape or what makes you uniquely beautiful; just see it as a fun, fast and easy way to highlight your favorite features. Simply shade the areas you’d like to minimize with a bronzer or contouring powder, and illuminate the highpoints of your face, or areas that you’d like to truly pop, with highlighter.

Pick a product two to three shades darker than your skin tone that stays within the same undertone family of your existing foundation or skin tone. When it comes to undertones, go with a cooler, greyish-brown shade if your complexion is cool-toned, and a warmer, red-brown shade if your skin is warm-toned, and you guessed it, neutral for neutral! You’re all set to start contouring and highlighting, and here’s a detailed tutorial for every face shape.

Diamond

@khaleela_ami

Remember when Rihanna told us to shine bright like a diamond? We’re pretty sure that she was talking about the best face contouring makeup for a diamond face shape. This face shape is longer than it is wide, with the most width occurring at the cheekbones. It also has a long and narrow jawline, with a pointed chin that comes to resemble the diamond emoji!

RiRi herself may not have this face shape, but other superstars like Scarlett Johannson, Viola Davis, and Tyra Banks sure do. And they can teach you a thing or two about brightening up your look with the best face contouring makeup. Here’s what you need to know about diamond contouring for beginners….

Contouring Tutorial for Diamond Face Shape

1. Using a bronzer and UD Pro Contour Definition Brush, apply a line of product from your ears to the center of your cheeks.

2. Believe it or not, you’re done with contouring! Now it’s time to highlight, and it’s a doozy. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but so is the Quickie Concealer from Urban Decay. It’s hands-down the best concealer for contouring and highlighting! Use the shade-finder quiz to find your go-to hue, and then select a color that’s roughly two or three shades lighter than your skin tone. This will be your new highlighting concealer, and it’s time to start swiping.

3. Apply Quickie in a circular or square shape on your forehead, right between your eyebrows. Moving down your face, you can also place on the upper cheeks above the contour line you’ve already created. After one last swipe on the chin below your lips, it’s time to blend! You’re in your element (pun intended) with diamond contouring for beginners, and we can’t wait to see you sparkle.

Pro Tip:

Don’t bring the contour too close to your mouth! Since the cheekbones of the broadest part of a diamond-shaped face, the goal is to minimize them while bringing fullness to the forehead and jawline. This helps to balance and harmonize your features. We’d encourage diamond face shapes to go easy on the contour and be more generous with the highlighter, which helps your features truly shine.

Round

@schanellequiza

First things first, we love round faces. They’re effortlessly chic, super versatile, and somehow manage to be adorable and sexy at the same time. Do they take a little longer in the contouring process than other shapes? Sure, as it means that your face is roughly the same width and length from all angles and lacks pointiness, for lack of a better word. However, it’s hardly difficult to give your circular features a little edge. Whether you’re looking to create the illusion of cheekbones or make a jawline that could cut glass, we’ve got your back.

There are countless tips and tricks to take your contouring technique for a round face to the next level, and we’re obsessed. It’s incredible how a bit of powder can transform you into another person for just one night, and we’re going to teach you the celebrity-approved face contouring tricks for round faces.

Contouring Tutorial for Round Face Shape

1. While choosing the bronzer for contouring is genuinely up to you, we’ll never stop recommending our Stay Naked Threesome Bronzer, Highlighter, Blush for a natural yet noticeably defined look. That’s always the goal when contouring for a round face! Open up your palette and prepare to swipe in every direction.

2. First, suck in your cheeks and make a duckface. We’re going somewhere with this, really! You need to determine the location of the hollows of your round face. Once you find them, apply bronzer around half an inch above them in a curved line, moving from the center of your cheek and halting right before the ear. You’ll contour a bit lower on the cheekbones than other face shapes, which helps to create shadows and dimension.

3. Once your cheekbones are complete, add the bronzing powder to the side of your jawline, your temples, and lightly around the forehead.

4. And we're back to the best concealer for contouring ever… Quickie! Use it to highlight several sections of your face — including under your eyes in an upside-down triangle shape, the same way you usually apply concealer. You can also place the product in the middle of your forehead, chin, and brow bone to add length and an angled effect to your face.

Pro Tip:

When it comes to contouring for beginners with round faces, give extra attention to your jawline and cheekbone areas. This mid-section of your face will be most affected by the power of bronzing powder, which helps to elongate the face and produce an angular effect with just a few buffs of your makeup brush. You should also apply a more minimal amount of bronzer along your forehead. A light amount of product along your hairline is ideal, but going overboard can overwhelm the rest of your features.

Oval

@joda.jackson

An oval face shape is many things. Elegant, edgy, and ultra-versatile are top of mind, which may or may not remind you of a little brand called Urban Decay. Wink wink. All jokes aside, an oval face is the best canvas for all your favorite face contouring makeup. The characteristics of this shape include a face that’s twice as long as it is wide, featuring a prominent jawline with no hard edges. Your chin will be mildly round, while the forehead will be slightly broader than the jaw. Some of the most gorgeous celebrities on the planet are blessed with an oval face shape, including Charlize Theron, Bella Hadid, and Beyoncé.

Did you gasp a bit when we said Beyoncé? Us too, boo. The oval face shape is considered one of the most adaptable to all types of beauty styles, and we’re here for it. Whether you're a contouring beginner (which is totally okay!) or an oval-faced expert just hoping to pick up a few new tricks, all you have to do is follow this contouring tutorial step by step.

Contouring Tutorial for Oval Face Shape

1. After you’ve applied your beloved Face Bond Self-Setting Waterproof Foundation, it’s time to go in with the face contouring makeup. We’d recommend our Stay Naked Threesome Bronzer, Highlighter, Blush to lift and illuminate your features! Use the powder bronzer to draw a line below each cheekbone, beginning at the ear and stopping at the inner corner of your eye. This is similar to how the diamond face shape defines this area, just with a shorter and less dramatic stroke of bronzer.

2. As for the next step in the oval face contouring tutorial? It’s all up to you. Oval faces tend to have balanced overall features, and the cheekbones are the only feature that is “required” to beat on the bronzer. However, you can take this opportunity to correct any custom issues. For example, you can brush along the hairline for a smaller forehead or slimmer nose with a touch of bronzer on the bridge. Create your own custom contouring tutorial for oval faces that puts your best features forward!

3. Highlighting, on the other hand? Go crazy. You can enhance your unfairly attractive oval features by applying the best concealer for contouring (AKA, Quickie concealer) on the forehead, cheekbones, and chin. This helps to decrease facial length and produce a more balanced look. You can also blend together the blush and highlighter from our Stay Naked Threesome Palette to add a lifted and illuminating effect to your cheekbones, which looks effortlessly beautiful on oval faces.

Pro Tip:

Keep it simple, especially around your cheekbones. Since an oval face shape is already highly symmetrical, you shouldn’t aim to transform your features but rather elevate what you already have. Contouring simply makes your face a little wider and shorter, and you can maybe add a bit of cream or powder contour to your jawline for an extra edge. However, highlighting should generally be the main focus in oval face contouring.

Heart-shaped

@vivianprado

The heart emoji called, and she can’t wait to see you learn how to master face contouring makeup for a heart-shaped face. This form is just as sweet as it sounds, featuring a wider upper face, narrow and pointed chin, and broader forehead often accompanied by a widow’s peak. Reese Witherspoon, Lily Collins, Mary-Kate, and Ashley Olsen all have heart-shaped faces, which shows just how much fun you can have with it. So many different hairstyles, makeup techniques, and more! But for now, let’s talk about the contouring part. Once you’ve collected the best bronzer for contouring and our Quickie concealer to take full advantage of your elevated, angular features… we’re all going to be making heart eyes at your contouring tutorial.

Like the oval-shaped face contouring tutorial, those with a heart should focus less on chiseling and sculpting and more on upgrading their current features. You already have great angles, so take full advantage! Here are the steps to keep your heart-shaped face looking super-hot, always.

Contouring Tutorial for Heart-Shaped Face Shape

1. Guide a small amount of bronzer along the sides of your forehead and along the temples, which helps them appear less broad. Don’t get us wrong; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wider cheeks. In fact, it’s adorable. This simply balances out your face's upper and lower halves for a bit of harmony!

2. Apply a tiny bit of bronzer to your chin to soften the pointedness, and then prepare to start highlighting!

3. Do you have your highlighting brush or finger ready? Sweep concealer or sparkly powder across your under eyes, plus the middle of your forehead and chin, to complete your sweet and sexy contour tutorial for heart-shaped faces.

Pro Tip:

Since a heart-shaped face requires minimal sculpting, you may consider skipping the powder and opting for a more natural look with cream contour. It blends easily, produces a practically perfect everyday look, and comes with zero risk of powder fallout!

Square

@laura_borgen

“Dat jawline, tho,” is a text we’ve probably all sent once or twice, and is almost always regarding somebody with a square face shape. It’s just all kinds of sexy, angled at every corner, and made for the edgiest and most innovative face contour makeup looks. Don’t believe us? Look at Zendaya, Margot Robbie, or Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer on the red carpet and how even the most candid photos capture their insanely structured faces. A contour and highlight session only enhances these incredible features. Are you ready to grab your contour palette, Quickie concealer, and blending brush for your most incredible face beat yet? Be there, or be square.

Contouring Tutorial for Square Face Shape

1. Often called a “rectangle,” this face shape is roughly the same length and width. You’ll want to work your way down during this contouring tutorial, applying bronzing powder to your forehead and temples to take a little edge off these features. You can also spread along the hairline to minimize the forehead, if desired.

2. Draw a line from your ear and down to the middle of your cheeks, upgrading your chiseled features even further. This line can stop at the inner corner of your eye, although it should be directed more towards your mouth than your nose.

3. Place a small amount of bronzer along your jawline to soften this area, and then start highlighting. Sketch an upside-down triangle under your eyes with your Quickie concealer, and dab of the product along your forehead and chin to light up every makeup look.

Pro Tip:

Lean into your angles, always. The contouring tutorial for a square face is meant to simply soften your strong jawline and forehead, not erase them. Don’t go overboard with the bronzer trying to look dainty, because you have the jawline that face contour makeup dreams are made of!

Can't wait to get started with the best contouring tutorials? There’s still so much more to explore. Visit @UrbanDecay on Instagram or Twitter for more contouring and highlighting tricks!

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