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How-To Beauty: Basic Contouring

Sculpt your cheekbones to perfection.

how to beauty basic contouring
Julianna Grogan
William Scott Blair
Tim Buol
We’re all familiar with the contour craze that swept through the beauty industry over the last decade, thanks in large part to people like the Kardashians, Huda Kattan, and various beauty bloggers. Even if you’re not a fan of a full face beat, there is still a way for you to apply the principles of contouring to a more minimalist face of makeup.

The most important thing to master is the placement and to think of the whole process in terms of shadows and light. The latter, as we’ve learned, is for the high points of the face, like the tops of the cheekbones, under the brows, and the Cupid’s bow. The shadow comes in to define the recesses of the face, like the hollow underneath the cheekbones, around the temples, and along the jaw. But before you worry about all that, the first area we recommend mastering is the cheeks. It will give your face definition, hide any lingering puffiness, and pair perfectly with your highlighter.

If you don’t consider yourself a makeup expert, don’t worry—makeup artist Julianna Grogan revealed all her tips for a subtle face sculpt, aka contouring 101.

Grogan prefers this multi-use palette from Charlotte Tilbury. The golden undertones are universally flattering, and the subtle shimmer will give your skin that luxurious glow we all crave year-round.

how to beauty basic contouring
1. Start the application close to the hairline, keeping the color within an inch from the bottom of the cheekbone. Use your fingers to warm up the product and then gently tap onto the skin. You’re trying to create a shadow, implying that your cheekbones are large and defined.

how to beauty basic contouring
2. Use a stipple brush to blend the color into the skin, working downwards in small circles. Don’t be afraid to work a bit of color into the hairline (that way you’ll avoid the dreaded makeup line). Go down your cheek only as far as half your index finger—this will keep the contour looking natural and not too makeup-y.

Once your contour is finished, use the opposite side of the palette for your highlighter to make your cheekbones really pop. Learn about proper highlight application right here.

Producer: Monique Kamargo; Model:Brittney Hurley

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