Sunday, 10 August 2014

How To: Contour & Define

how to contour cheeks
I heart makeup contour palette
How to contour using makeup

I've always used contouring on my cheeks, whether I realised it at the time or not. I've always been a fan of applying my blush high on my cheeks, right next to my ear, just under my cheekbone then lightly blending the colour further down my cheeks. This created a slight shadow under my cheekbone, allowing it to stand out... basically, contouring. 

It sometimes seems like a very professional technique, used by the celeb MUAs on people like Kim Kardashian before the red carpet. Which is true, but the basics aren't really that difficult in my opinion. It's a basic technique that anyone can do at home to define and shape your face every day, as long as you're using the right products and tools. 

Products and tools:
I've picked out a couple of products that I recommend using, however if you have something similar from a different brand then definitely try it out with that too! To start, take a matte bronzer that's just a few shades darker than your skin tone. It's best to start with a subtle colour and build up, rather than try to work with a bold shade from the start. I've loved using I Heart Makeup's 'I Heart Definition' palette in 'fair' - the sister brand of blogger favourites, Makeup Revolution. It contains a contouring powder, blusher and highlight - everything you need to create the perfect defined look. Previous to owning this palette I've using various matte finish bronzers, including this Makeup Revolution Baked Bronzer [not completely matte finish but it works well]. To apply, I like to use my Zoeva 110 Face Shape brush, which is the perfect small brush with compact bristles, for the contour shade. However any similar small, dense brush will work well. 

To contour:
Dab your brush into your contour shade and tap any excess off, then you need to create a subtle line down from under your cheekbone towards the corner of your mouth. The best way to see where this shadow should naturally sit is to suck your cheeks in like a fish, yep. Lightly follow the natural hollows of your face and apply your contour. If you're feeling more adventurous, you can contour and add depth to your temples and under your jaw line too.

Add blush:
After contouring the hollows of my cheeks, I add my blush. I use a larger blusher brush for this, like the Real Techniques blush brush. I've been using the blush included in the Definition palette as it matches the contour shade well, however any subtle shade that suits your skin tone well will work. It's best to not use too bright a blush shade when contouring, as it can end up looking really unnatural. This type of contouring is all about bringing out definition, enhancing the natural hollows of your face, so natural shades will work best. Apply blusher to the apples of your cheeks and slightly up towards your cheekbones. Make sure the blusher you apply is blended well into the contour shade, you don't want two separate stripes down your cheeks. 

As a final way to define your face, use a highlight. There are so many good highlights on the market at the moment, in various forms - I've got a separate post lined up to showcase some of my favourites. Highlight should be applied above your blusher, from just below your temple leading under your eye following the top of your cheekbone. As the name suggests, it should be used on the higher points of your face, such as the top of your cheekbones and the higher points of your forehead. Make sure you use a subtle shimmer rather than a glittery highlight, again subtlety is key here.

Once you're confident with shaping your cheeks you can start experimenting with slightly different shades and more dramatic contouring. You can also move on to the more face-changing forms of contouring, used to change the shape of noses or slim the face down, rather than just enhancing the natural shape of your face. But I'm quite happy to leave that to the professionals, just sticking to the basics of contouring for my own every day makeup. 


  1. Such a good post! Thanks for this :) I love contouring xo
    Jessie @

  2. Oh I needed to try this as I am terrible at applying the three. Great tips and I'm sure I'll be trying them in my routine.

    Jackie | fashionxfairytale | bloglovin' |

  3. Great post!! I really like that palette!!

  4. Amazing post! And I love your blog:)
    I am now following you on Bloglovin, follow me back?:)

  5. Awesome post - great attention to detail :) I always struggle with contouring, can never get it right for some reason! xx

  6. Such a great post! I need to try out I Heart Makeup. It looks like such a great brand.

    Emma x

  7. This looks so pretty and very similar to the Sleek Face Form palettes! :)

    Kat x
    Kat Horrocks

  8. Great post! I love contouring and do it everyday now!


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