How-to Contour like a Pro - Sensible Stylista

How-to Contour like a Pro

You guys have all seen contouring everywhere. We've talked about it on Sensible Stylista several times already, and we constantly see crazy transformations on our Instagram feeds. I personally don't do this everyday, but it's fun to experiment with new looks for parties or nights out! Here is how you achieve a chiseled face with contouring:

1. Figure out where the high points and shadows are in your face.

Contouring is all about accentuating the high and low parts of your face. Basically, you want to put dark shades where the shadows of your face are and light shades where the highlights naturally are. There's obviously not an exact science to this since everyone's face is very different. 

There are six main face shapes (pictured above), and each should be contoured differently. Figure out your shape by shining a light onto your face and studying where the light and dark parts are. I do this with a mirror that has a built-in light, but you can just shine your phone's flash onto your face - it works just as well.

2. Gather your products.

There are two main ways to contour- you can use cream or powder. Cream contouring is used for a severely dramatic effect that's almost harsh whereas powder contour is far less intense in comparison.  However, a lot of people double up and layer powder contour on top of their cream contour!  The latter's achieved with different shades of foundation or concealer while the former's executed with bronzers and, unsurprisingly, powder. 

There are tons of powder contour kits, like the famous Anastasia Beverly Hills palette, that come with all the shades you need! For cream, you can buy pro-concealer palettes that are meant for makeup artists that work on many different skin tones. I prefer powder contour!  My favorite bronzer is Too Faced's Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, and my favorite highlighter is Laura Geller's Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator

Here are a bunch of products that are perfect for contouring:

3. Buy the right brushes!

Brushes are an extremely important - it's almost impossible to achieve a good makeup look without the right tools. For cream contouring, I recommend a really big foundation brush and a small concealer brush. I use the foundation brush for bigger spots on my face, and a concealer brush for smaller areas, ex. under my eyes & around my nose.

For powder bronzer, I use e.l.f.'s Contour Brush. It's perfect for getting bronzer in the right places!  I actually have a more expensive version from Sephora, but I like the e.l.f. one better! For my highlight, I use a fan brush.  It's perfect for sprinkling bright highlight onto the face. For my matte highlight - think banana powder - I use a blending brush. It packs the color on perfectly, and it doesn't crease at all.

It's hard to find brushes, so here are a bunch that well help you apply your contour easily:

4. Contour away!

Finally, it's time to contour! Now that you know all about your face, have your materials ready - it's time to apply it all.  Makeup gurus typically put dark shades around the edges of their faces, underneath their cheekbones, and along the edges of their noses. Then, they apply highlights along the tip of their noses, underneath their eyes, and on their foreheads and chins.

Now you know how to perfectly contour! Show us how you contour by posting a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #sensiblestylista and tell us what makeup tips you wanna know next!

Written by Zoe Luiz


  1. Such a helpful post, I never contour with cream but I really should give it a go because I bet it looks way more natural x
    Freya's Fashion Chapter

  2. Indeed a very helpful post !!
    Can't wait to try it on !!