How to Contour Your Face

Whether you’re an avid makeup-wearer or not, having certain tricks up your sleeve for when the occasion calls for it can be helpful. One makeup trick in particular is how to contour. We’re not saying you need to do it daily–but you totally can! There are ways to subtly contour for a day look that’ll give you a little more definition or really dial it up to get a snatched, chiseled look for a special event. Read on for Maybelline New York’s top tips for contouring– it’s way easier than you might think and only requires a few products.

Contour Your Face Using Concealer

Learn tips and tricks from our Babelline on how to contour your face using Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind Concealer.

1. Prep Your Skin

Applying makeup to clean, moisturized skin will ensure that it goes on smoothly and looks its best. After moisturizing, use a primer like FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Smooth, which allows you to start with an even canvas and locks in makeup for all-day wear.

2. Contour First

In the underpainting technique as demonstrated in the accompanying video, the idea is that you contour before you apply your foundation. This makeup artist’s beloved technique makes it so that your contour appears more natural, as it subtly peeks through your base makeup for an I-wokeup-like-this effect. Choose a shade of Instant Age Rewind Concealer that’s two darker than your skin tone. Its sponge applicator is a dream for creating your contour with precision.

3. Chisel Your Cheeks

Dispense the darker shade onto the sponge, then starting at the high points of your cheeks, using the top of your ear for guidance, drag the applicator downwards so it hugs the hollows of your cheeks and imparts an extra shadow. Do the same along your forehead and your jawline for more definition in those areas, too.

4. Brighten Up

Contouring is great for adding depth with a darker shade, but you can add even more with a lighter shade to create contrast. To highlight, grab a shade of Instant Age Rewind Concealer that’s two lighter than your skin tone. Using a concealer in this way will give you more of a natural effect than using a traditional highlighter formula with lots of shimmer. Concentrate on areas that need some brightening such as under your eyes, down your nose, and on your chin.

5. Buff and Blend

At this point, the lighter and darker shades of Instant Age Rewind Concealer on your face probably look a little crazy, but trust the process– now you get to blend it all in! Use a densely packed brush to buff in your contour, then using a damp beauty sponge, dab the areas that you highlighted so that everything blends together seamlessly.

6. Add Blush

Often overlooked, blush can play a part in a contour routine as well. When applied in the right spots, it has the power to lift the face and create additional depth. And similar to creating a subtler contour with the underpainting technique, your blush will appear gentler for more of a lit-within-glow. Using a gel or cream blush such as Cheek Heat, dab a few dots on the top of your cheekbones, but don’t go all the way down to the apples. By concentrating your rouge higher up, you get the lifted effect that pairs well with a contour. Blend in with your sponge or even your fingers– their warmth will help the formula melt into the skin flawlessly.

7. Add Foundation

What would ordinarily be your first step becomes your last with the underpainting technique. In areas that you haven’t highlighted or contoured– where you feel could use some extra coverage– you can add Instant Age Rewind Concealer in a shade that matches your skin tone. Using the same beauty sponge, dab until there are no noticeable lines of demarcation.

8. Contour Your Lips

For extra credit, you can try contouring your lips as well. In a similar way to contouring your cheeks, by adding a brown lip liner just to the center of your lips– draw a small line right below your bottom lip and above your cupid’s bow– with Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner, your pout gets a more plump look thanks to the addition of shadows. Over top, add some Lifter Plump Gloss, which has chili pepper and Maxi-Lip™ to enhance the size of your lips, too.

9. Finish it Off

Now that your contour is complete, you can stop here or you can complete your look by adding a few additional details like a fluffy brow with Build-a-Brow and lengthy lashes with Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara.