When Kim Kardashian tweeted photos of her No. 1 beauty secret—amazing contouring—it sparked a landslide of interest in this face-sculpting makeup technique. Who knew striping your face in a strange two-tone color combo could produce such a glowing finish? Now, we all know Kim employs professional makeup artists to do the work for her. Which begs the question: is it really possible for the average MUA-less Filipina to contour her face on her own?
The answer is one big, fat yes! Of course, do expect the prepwork to look like a freaky face-painting project. But with a whole lot of blending (and a little extra mirror time), you’ll see amazing results. Think: more pronounced cheekbones, less eyebags, and a slimmer, more radiant face overall. Here’s a guide for your at-home practice!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
If you’re a beginner, we suggest going with a contouring palette that contains one matte bronzer (the darker color) and one highlighter (the lighter color). These things are also sold separately, but it’s just easier to have all your contouring shades in one case for portability’s sake.
Whether you opt for powder or cream-based contour shades, use a good quality foundation brush to apply them. We also recommend having a special blending brush on hand. This will smooth away any streaking and make everything look seamless and natural. If you’re more comfortable with sponges, you may also use a precision applicator like BeautyBlender (columnist Karen Pamintuan loves it!).
WHAT TO DO
Contouring is done after you’ve applied your makeup base—meaning, primer, concealer, and/or foundation. Once you’ve got that out of the way, follow these steps.
STEP 1: HIGHLIGHT. Apply the lighter color to these parts of your face:
- Your T-Zone, meaning:
a. The area right above your eyebrows and the patch of forehead between them
b. The line right down the center of your nose
c. The small strip of skin between your nose and Cupid’s bow
d. The center of your chin
- Your browbones, AKA those protruding bones under your eyebrows
- Underneath your eyes, sweeping upwards to your temples
- Right above your jawline
STEP 2: BLEND. You want the lighter color to meld with the rest of your makeup. Meaning, there should be no line of demarcation between your base and the highlighter.
STEP 3: CONTOUR. Apply the darker color to these parts of your face:
- Around your hairline
- On the sides of your nose
- Underneath your cheekbones (Tip: Suck in your cheeks! You should be swiping the color just beneath the hollowed area.)
- Right at your jawline (but feel free to skip this step if your jaw is naturally sharp)
STEP 4: BLEND AGAIN. You want the contouring color to merge with the rest of your makeup, just like the highlighter.
STEP 5: SWIPE ON BLUSH. We’re sure you’re familiar with this essential! We just love the pretty pop and additional depth that blush brings to a well-contoured face. Apply the color starting from the apples of your cheeks, moving upwards towards your temples. Then brush off your hands—you’re all done!
Illustrations by Erika Gue