HOW TO: Basic Facial Contouring

Contouring is what I call the "natural surgery" for it lifts your face in an instant and gives you a more structured look. Contouring should be done correctly though or otherwise, you'll look like a sunburned chic or much worse, Frankenstein.

In here, I'll show you how to do contouring the right way. I'm a theater actress, and facial contouring has been a vital part of my career. Contouring is so useful to theatre actors because: 1.) It lets our faces catch light 2.) Draws attention to the most important parts of the face for projected expressions. So this goes without saying that I am already pretty good at this technique. :D

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- Minimizes awkward areas on the face, making them look small, lean, and nice
- Softens sharp edges for square faces
- Creates edges for round faces
- Helps draw the attention to the face

In this tutorial, I am going to use the following:

1.) Hoola Bronzer
2.) Charm Cheek Contouring Brush


- Opt for matte powders in midtone brown shades so as to mimic your face's natural shadows. Glitters aren't part of our body chemistry, so steer clear from glittery contouring powders, unless you're achieving a different look.

- Angled contouring brushes are vital in contouring because the slanted shape helps you create planes on your face easily.

FACE MAP: What to contour

Legend: Blue- Nose line; White- Jaw; Red- Temples

Click READ MORE and become a face contouring expert now!


Contouring the cheeks is great because it makes your face look slimmer. It’s very handy to people with round and plump faces because it adds dimension to it.

Traditional contouring guides tell you that you should locate and contour the V portion of your face. Well, It is wrong. Observe the picture. In this pic, I have located the V portion of my right cheek. Notice that there is something weird in it. Can you guess what it is? The answer: The V portion is not the natural plane of your face! The areas of your face that create natural shadows are the hollow areas of your cheeks. It is located right at the bottom of your apples. It’s so easy to locate: Pout and try poking your cheeks. If you have hit a hollow part, then congratulations: You’ve found it!

In this pic, I’ve used a pencil for a graphic explanation of what I’m talking about. For reference, the hollow area is usually located at the tip of your side whiskers. (It also depends on the length of your side whiskers. In any case, just locate the hollow part of your cheek)

STEP 1: Dab contouring powder on the hollow part. Make sure you apply it gradually.

I don't know where it came from and who popularized this look, but this has been the most prominent look of women when it comes to contouring faces: The Duck Face. This is absolutely wrong. When you do the Duck Face while contouring, you end up applying more than what is needed. Just relax your face when contouring--No need to do fancy faces.

STEP 2: Swirl your angled contouring brush on the powder and along the area to soften any harsh line. When swirling the brush, try to make small swirling motions so as not to apply contouring powder on your apples.

End Result

EMPHASIZE YOUR EYES AND MOUTH (Contouring the Forehead/Temple)

Okay, here's one thing I learned in the theatre. Contouring the forehead/ temple is important because you divert the audience's attention to the lighter part, which is your t- zone, including your eyes and mouth. This way, the audience get to see your expressions and understand what you're saying much clearly. In real life, this is also useful.

STEP 1: Locate the part right above the tip of your eyebrows’ arch. That’s what you’re going to contour.

STEP 2: Dab contouring powder on it, and then blend in a swirling motion from that part, going to the off- center area of your forehead, then down to your eyebrows’ tip. Refer to the red arrows on the picture to know the exact area you’re going to contour.

End result


Not everybody has the heart to undergo Rhinoplasty. Besides, it will cost you tons of money. So here’s a fool- proof alternative that is risk- free, and feels lighter on the wallet :)

This is absolutely unintentional. :P

STEP 1: Contour the supposed bridge of your nose. The areas you’re going to contour are the invisible lines that run from the edge of your brows down to your nose’s dimples. (The two creases right above your nose openings) Place your middle fingers on it to familiarize yourself with the area. Dab your finger on the contouring powder, and then gently run your middle fingers on the invisible line. Blend evenly by moving your fingers up and down the line, and then blur the sides for a more natural- looking contour. I suggest that you contour both sides simultaneously to achieve a more even contour.

End result: I’ve framed the contoured part in between the blue lines.

I didn't smile in this pic so you'll have a better view of the contoured parts. If you want to emphasize further the lighter areas on your face, use a shade- matching powder in a matte finish.

Apply product gradually, and use a very light hand!


There you go! Start contouring now! :D

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17 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Another helpful post from you! I must always keep this in my mind cause I have round face. Walang angle or contour ang face ko. Thanks for this helpful post talaga! :)lalo na sa nose area. hahaha

  2. thanks for this post. now i know how to contour. :)

  3. Thanks for this :) it would be nice if you put the before and after conturing to emphasize on the difference :)

  4. wow, this is a great post! I love it! you are really good at it... but i hope you included a save alternative for the contouring powders, hihihi...

  5. thanks girl!

    anonymous: thank you and welcome to tbj! I actually posted a before pic, but it's right at the top, the first pic with my face on it haha. :D

  6. Thank you for this another useful post Ms. Martha! :)

  7. Wow!.. Thanks for this one Ms. Martha, now i know that I am doing the wrong thing when contouring, the (duck face).hahaha.

  8. The duck face thing doesn't work on me. It is just so wrong! I agree with you that you'll just end up putting on more than the amount needed!
    Thanks for sharing some tips! :)


  9. I have naturally prominent cheekbones but I would really love to emphasise them more. Thank you so much for the contouring tips! I'm so using them!

  10. elle: true! and thanks for visiting! :D

    alexis: you're welcome! :)

  11. You made it look like it was so easy! Thank you for this! i shall practice! I used to do the duck face thing when contouring. Now I know it was wrong. Hehehe.

    What cheaper contouring powders could you suggest?:)

  12. I always play safe with make up because I thought contouring is hard. But, you made it easy peasy! I'm so excited to try contouring. Thanks for this helpful post! :)

  13. I always play safe with make up because I thought contouring is hard. But, you made it easy peasy! I'm so excited to try contouring. Thanks for this helpful post! :)

  14. Thank you for sharing your contouring techniques!

  15. The duck face! I do that sometimes, now I know it's wrong! HaHa

  16. so helpful!!! have you tried BYS contouring kit?

  17. Me also facial contouring was difficult thing. But after few lessons now I know how to do it correctly and easy.


Thank you for your comments!