How To

What Is Your Face Shape and How to Highlight & Contour

by Anubha Charan
February 16, 2022

Makeup isn't magic — but the right contouring and highlighting can effectively give the illusion of different features. At a more subtle level, contouring simply helps enhance your natural features. Whether you opt for a lowkey look or sculpt yourself a new bone structure, here's how to identify what your face shape is and how to highlight and contour your face shape.

What Is Your Face Shape?

Contouring and highlighting is not a one-size-fits-all process. Determining the shape of your unique face will help you understand which features you'd like to play up or down. Contouring doesn't come with rules — but it can be helpful to lean on classic, flattering ways to highlight and contour your face shape.

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If your cheekbones are set high and are the widest part of your face, with a curved chin, then you have a round face. Try contouring along the hairline and below the cheekbones to add definition, using a light blush on the apples of your cheeks and dabbing a highlighter on your forehead and chin.


If your face is long with angular edges and a square jaw, then you have a rectangular face. Contour along the hairline and below the cheekbones to create the most defined angles. Highlight on the cheeks, nose and chin.


If your cheeks, forehead, and jaw are the same width, but your chin is angular, you have a square face. Use a contour along your hairline and jawline to create shadows that slim down your face. Highlight just under your cheekbones to make them really pop.


If your forehead is wide, your cheekbones are high, and then your face angles in toward your chin, you have a heart-shaped face. To add definition, try contouring just under the cheekbones and highlighting the center of your face. You might also contour along the hairline and add blush on the apples of your cheeks.


If you have a small forehead and chin with high, wide cheekbones, your face is diamond shaped. To elongate your face, contour along the hairline and below the cheekbones. Then, highlight just under your cheekbones with a lighter color to make them pop.


If your face is longer than it is wide, and your cheekbones are the widest part of your face, then your shape is oval. Try using a bronzer or blush on the apples of your cheeks and a highlighter on your cheekbones, nose, and forehead.

Where To Apply Highlight & Contour On Your Face

Many kinds of contouring and highlighting products can give your face new depth. Here's how to highlight and contour your face shape with the right routine for your level of makeup skills and your skin type.

  • Powders are the easiest to control and blend, making them the best option for beginners or those in a hurry. They are also great for oily complexions, which don't always mesh well with creamier formulations. Apply contouring powders with a slanted brush to add definition, while powder highlighters need a smaller brush for precise application.
  • Liquid formulations may require more blending, but they often provide a more natural and smooth finish. You can blend it in with your fingers, but a stiff foundation brush (for the contour) and a stippling brush (for the highlight) will give you more control over the application.
  • Cream contouring products are thicker, making them the most challenging to blend. However, get it right, and they'll reward you with the most flawless results. Grab a foundation brush or a damp sponge for a seamless effect.

Finish your look with a fine layer of pressed powder to help set the makeup, locking your look into place for whatever adventure lies ahead.

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