Contouring 101: How to Get the Perfect Contour

Treat your makeup like jewellery for the face. Play with colours, shapes, structure; it can transform you.”

The evolution of makeup has come a long way. In Ancient Egypt, both men and women applied bold eyeliner to their eyes as it was believed to have magical powers and ward off illness, while in Japan Geishas wore extravagant face makeup, so audience members would more easily read their emotions.

One makeup trend that has stood the test of time is the contour and highlight trend. Contouring is the process of using makeup to sculpt and enhance the natural features of your face. 

The trend regained popularity in 2012 thanks to celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic.  He used the contouring and highlight technique on Kim Kardashian, and the pics went viral. 

Brides can incorporate this technique into their makeup routine for their big day, to enhance their natural beauty and define their cheekbones, and here is a step-by-step guide on how to contour. 

Ready, set, contour!

Step 1: Prep Your Skin

Before you start applying makeup, it’s important to prep your skin. Cleanse and moisturise your skin to ensure it’s hydrated and smooth. You can also apply a primer to help your makeup stay put throughout the day.

Step 2: Apply Foundation

Use a light hand when applying your foundation. Start with a little bit of product, keeping in mind that you can add more coverage if needed. Apply your foundation as you normally would, using a brush or sponge to blend it evenly across your skin. It’s important to make sure the foundation shade you’re using matches your skin tone, so you don’t end up with any obvious lines or patches.

Step 3: Choose Your Contouring Products

To create a natural-looking contour, you’ll need a cream contour and highlight product. Choose shades that are one to two shades darker than your skin tone for the contour, and one to two shades lighter for the highlight. 

We are loving Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Contour Wand as it’s perfect if you want to create a buildable, natural contour. To highlight, we recommend the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. 

This formula is perfect for highlighting as for its lightness and leaving a soft natural finish that lasts up to 16 hours.

Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Contour Wand
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NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
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Step 4: Map Out Your Contour

Map out your contour by applying the darker shade to the areas of your face that you want to define and sculpt. Apply the cream contour product to the sides of the nose, under the cheekbones, under the jawline, and around the temples. Then apply the concealer underneath the eyes, on the bridge of the nose, on the forehead and on the chin to highlight. You can also apply concealer to your cupid’s bow, this will give the effect of fuller lips!

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Step 5: Blend, Blend, Blend!

Begin with blending out the highlighted areas first with a wet beauty sponge. We love the one from real techniques. Once the highlighted areas are blended, you can blend the contoured (darker areas) with a clean Real Techniques Soft Sculpting Brush. 

It’s important to be precise in your blending, making sure to blend well to avoid any harsh lines. You want your contour to look natural and subtle, not like you’ve painted on stripes.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
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Real Techniques Soft Sculpting Brush
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Step 6: Set your Contour

Once you’re happy with how you’ve blended your contour and highlight, it’s time to set your makeup. Use a translucent powder, Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder, is perfect for setting the highlighted parts. Then use a bronzer to lightly to set the contoured parts. 

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer has a lightweight and buildable formula that looks beautiful on the skin.


Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer
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Step 7: Finish Your Look

Finish off your look with some blush, lipstick, and mascara. You want your makeup to look balanced and cohesive, so choose colours that complement your contour and highlight. The last step is to use a setting spray, and we are big fans of MAC Prep + Prime Fix + Spray. This will give you a smooth and flawless complexion, ensuring your makeup lasts all day!


MAC Prep + Prime Fix + Spray
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Remember, less is more when it comes to wedding makeup. You want to look like the best version of yourself, not like someone else entirely. By following these four simple steps, you can achieve a beautiful, natural-looking contour for your bridal makeup. 

Remember to practice beforehand and experiment with different products and techniques to find what works best for your face shape and skin tone. With a little bit of practice and patience, you’ll be able to create the perfect wedding-day look that enhances your natural beauty and makes you feel confident and radiant on your special day.