OUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO FACE CONTOURING
Contouring came about as a method to define the face – even being used to create the illusion of a different bone structure. It’s now a mainstay in makeup routines the world over. With a place in both dramatic, red-carpet glamour and delicate, natural makeup looks, face contouring can benefit everyone’s routine. While contouring techniques can seem intimidating, there are plenty of ways to make this makeup technique work for you – whether you’re looking to carve out your features or subtly add definition. Read on for our expert face contouring tips, must-haves and a step-by-step guide on how to contour your face.
Bronzer vs contour
While you’re probably aware that both products work to add depth and dimension, you may be less familiar with the distinctions between bronzer vs contour. Despite their surface-level similarities, the two have their own functions:
- Always a matte formula to create natural shadows
- Usually cool toned
- Contour placement is tailored to add structure, symmetry and dimension
Face contouring must-haves
To create a natural, blended contour, opt for a product 2-3 shades deeper than your foundation. A helpful rule of thumb is to select a face contouring product that looks like a slightly too-deep foundation for your skin – rather than a shade that creates a stark contrast.
Whether you choose a powder or cream face contouring formula will depend on your preferences and skin texture:
Lastly, select a tool for applying contour. A makeup sponge or dense blending brush will expertly melt the product into your skin.
How to contour: Step-by-step
By using face contouring products suited to your skin type and shade, a flawless contour is within reach. For how to apply contour and attain a beautifully sculpted effect every time, read on.
Step 1: Prep and prime
Hydrating skin is the first step to any makeup look. Onto cleansed, refreshed skin, apply your favourite face cream to create a nourished base. Read our guide on How to Achieve Glowing Skin to give your complexion lit-from-within radiance beneath your foundation. For additional lasting power and skin smoothing, reach for a primer next.
Step 2: Apply your base
Wondering whether to contour before or after foundation? Although there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to makeup, we recommend applying foundation first. This will establish an even base and give you more control over how defined or subtle you’d like your contour to be.
Select your foundation match from the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear range and apply as normal. For 24 hour coverage and a breathable, transfer-free finish, opt for bestselling Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation. Available in 45 shades, you’re bound to discover a seamless foundation match.
If a satin-matte finish is your preference, choose our Teint Idole Ultra Compact Powder Foundation. Infused with 50% perlite, this powder foundation will provide a smooth, lightweight base for your face contouring step.
For a foundation formula imbued with skincare benefits, Teint Idole Ultra Wear Care & Glow Foundation is made with 82% serum. Hydrating hyaluronic acid and smoothing mandelic acid care for your skin while the medium coverage, glow-giving formulation lends your skin a diffused highlight.
Step 3: Shade and define
Next, it’s time to apply your face contouring product of choice. You may find yourself asking where to contour – and overwhelmed by the vast variety of options you’ll see in tutorials, guides and how-tos. While understanding your face shape can be helpful, we suggest getting to know the unique features you’d like to define rather than following a pre-set guide. Here are some areas you might like to sculpt with face contouring techniques:
- Beneath the cheekbone
- Under and slightly above the jawline
- The bridge of your nose
While learning how to apply contour, begin with a small amount of product and build up to your desired effect. Remember you don’t need to contour all of the above options – adapt your face contouring to enhance your individual beauty.
Step 4: Conceal and highlight
Contour and highlight often go hand in hand - a dot of concealer or swipe of highlight can add impact and dimension to your face contouring look with minimal product. For a lifelike glow, we recommend a liquid or cream-based highlighter like our Teint Idole Ultra Wear Highlighter Stick applied to the very high points of the face. To create amplified contrast, a concealer will do the trick. Apply a touch of the Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer to the bridge of your nose, centre of your forehead and above the cheekbone.
Step 5: Bake and set
Use a setting spray or face powder to ensure your contour and highlight looks smooth and fresh all day – or night. The best method to lock in your face contouring makeup will depend on your skin type and preferred finish. For truly long-lasting makeup, lightly dust our Translucent Loose Setting Powder across the face and finish with the Lancôme Fix It Forget It Spray.
Enjoyed our tips on how to contour like the professionals? Next, explore our guide to concealer application.