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Contouring & Highlighting Hacks For Each Face Type

Ever look at contouring videos and feel downright intimidated? All the lines make you feel like you need to be some sort of Picasso, and you figure you’ll never remember all those markings anyway. The secret is that it’s not too hard once you get used to it. And once you learn the right contouring lines for your face type, it’ll be second nature.

First, contouring is using a matte makeup product in certain areas of the face that is a couple shades darker than your natural skin tone. It could be a powder, pencil or cream.

Contouring goes best with highlighting, which is using a bright shade. Highlighting shades get a bit more specific for each skin tone. They are:

  • Fair skin: champagne tones
  • Light to medium skin: pink champagne tones
  • Olive skin: golden hues
  • Dark skin: teracotta hues

Depending on your face shape, you’ll simply put the contouring product and highlighting product in differing areas of your face. Here are our contouring and highlighting hacks for each face type.

Oblong Face

Contour: Thin line at the hairline stopping where the temples begin. Thin line at the bottom of the chin under the mouth. The outer area under the cheekbone leading to an inch from the side of the bottom lip, slanting inward.

Highlight: Large inverted triangle leading to two inches under the nose, rounded downwards-facing tip on the triangle.

Round Face

Contour: Two triangle shapes with the base of each facing the center of the forehead, each starting above the inner third of the eyebrow, and the top two sides of the triangles should be an inch above the eyebrows and an inch below the hairline. The outer tip of each triangle leads into a stripe that goes down around the eyes, over the outer cheekbones and to a half inch below the bottom of the lips, ending about an inch from the edge of the mouth.

Highlight: Circle in the center of the forehead. Inverted triangles from under the eyes to the bottom of the nose. Horizontal oval in the center of the chin.

Diamond Face

Contour: Two long ovals right under the cheekbones.

Highlight: Horizontal oval in the middle of the forehead. Inverted triangle under the eyes. Small circle in the middle of the chin.

Heart Face

Contour: Thin line at the bottom tip of the chin. 2-inch wide stripe leading from the forehead above the eyebrows, down past the outer eyes and ending in the middle of the cheek.

Highlight: Vertical oval in the middle of the forehead. Inverted triangle under the eyes to the bottom of the nose that also leads up and around the outer eyes, ending under the outer third of the eyebrows. A crescent moon pattern in the middle of the chin with the two tips facing up.

Rectangle Face

Contour: Stripe along the hairline leading into two oval shapes above the outside third of the eyebrows (ending an inch or two above the eyebrows). Long ovals on the whole cheekbone areas. Lines on the outside, bottom part of the jaw, stopping under the edges of the mouth (lines should be concave against the jaw).

Highlight: Inverted triangles under the eyes with a rounded bottom tip, stopping at the bottom of the nose. A circle in the middle of the chin.

Square Face

Contour: Whole outer third of each side of the forehead, also covering the temple to the hairline. Long ovals over the cheekbones. Long ovals on the sides of the chin, leading to the outer jaw.

Highlight: Large circle in the center of the forehead. Inverted soft triangles going from the under eyes to the middle of the nose, and leading up and around the outer eyes, ending below the outer third of the eyebrows. Horizontal oval in the center of the chin.

Oval Face

Contour: Along hairline at each outer side of the forehead in a half-pear shape. Long half oval under the cheekbones.

Highlight: Circle in the center of the forehead. Cheek space between the under-eye area to the bottom of the nose and leading up and around the outside of the eye, ending under the outer half of the eyebrow. Horizontal oval in the middle of the chin.

When you think about it, you’ll just need to determine your face shape and remember 2-3 contour and then highlighter areas. With practice, it’ll become second nature. And after you’ve applied this method, you’ll have a chiseled, defined look that is great for parties.

Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. You can find out more about her at https://www.clippings.me/michellelovrine.