Center for Plastic Surgery
1945 Old Gallows Road, Suite 400
Tysons Corner, VA 22182
Phone: (703) 560-2850
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Center for Plastic Surgery
5550 Friendship Blvd, Suite 130
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: (301) 652-7700
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Pro Makeup Tips for Contouring Your Face

Center for Plastic Surgery

Do you ever wish you had Kim Kardashian’s flawless skin and chiseled cheekbones? Contouring makeup may be her not-so-little secret, but there’s no reason it can’t be yours as well! Using makeup to contour and highlight your face looks complicated, but it is achievable at home.

What is Contouring?

2015 is officially the “Year of the Contour,” according to popular cosmetics retailer Sephora, and it’s not just celebrities hitting the red carpet who are using this advanced makeup technique.

Contouring, also called shading, involves applying and expertly blending two different hues of makeup to help define, enhance, and even alter the appearance of your bone structure. When applied properly, contouring can make your cheekbones look more pronounced, your nose appear smaller, and your eyes look larger.

How Do I Contour at Home?

The first step is to evaluate your face shape so you can determine how to approach contouring in a way that flatters and enhances your features.

  • If you have a heart-shaped face, the goal is to balance out the forehead and chin
  • Square faces should use contouring to round out sharp features
  • Oval-faced ladies have it easy and can highlight any area they’d like.

Next, choose two different but complementary colors of concealer or foundation. A matte shading cream or powder plus a highlighter make an excellent duo, but many cosmetic lines now offer contouring kits to make the process easier. If your skin is fair, use a cream that is one to two shades darker than your skin tone. In general, look for the darker-shaded versions of your same foundation color, and stay away from bronzers.

Creating Contrast Through Shadow

Although techniques vary, you should apply the darker foundation to shade in and enhance areas of your face that are naturally “shadowed” to create the appearance of depth. Typically, this is around the hairline, in the hollows of your cheeks, along the jawline, and along the sides of your nose.

If you want your cheekbones to really stand out, suck in your cheeks while applying makeup and shade just beneath the sunken area. It will accentuate the shadow and make your cheekbones look higher.

Balancing and Highlighting to Add Dimension

If you’re a fan of visual arts, you may have heard of chiaroscuro. This art technique uses light and shadow to create the appearance of dimension, contrast, and definition. The same principles apply to makeup contouring—you need to add a little light to bring your darker shades to life.

Once you have blended out the darker foundation, it’s time to highlight and bring the look into balance. You’ll want to use a product a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone to highlight areas naturally offset by the darker contour. This typically includes the tops of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, under the eyebrows, and at the apex of the chin and forehead. Your technique will vary based on your natural anatomy.

Take Your Makeup to the Next Level

Looking to boost your makeup routine with new products or give your skin a little extra TLC? The skin health specialists at CPS love working with patients to recommend specific makeup, products, and treatments for professional-grade skincare.

Stop by our office in Chevy Chase or Annandale for a complimentary skincare evaluation and consultation to find out how we can help you achieve that perfect glow. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of some of our favorite recommendations:

  • While expertly applied makeup can hide even the most stubborn blemish, it’s important to have healthy skin. iS CLINICAL® skincare offers a variety of products to help you achieve and maintain beautiful, youthful skin
  • If painstakingly applying daily eyeliner is bringing you down, get a head start on looking great each day with permanent makeup. You can use it to define your eyes with top or bottom eyeliner, enhance your natural eyebrow shade and shape, or opt for lip liner that never wears off.

Look Your Best Every Day

Whether you take the time to contour your face each morning or opt for more subtle mineral-based makeup, your face is beautiful because it’s yours. Have fun playing with these makeup options and get in touch with our skincare experts at CPS when you are ready to give your beauty and skincare routine an expert boost!


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