Avoiding Contour Overkill

BY Carol Premacio

Contouring can seem pretty complex for beginners, especially as a seemingly advanced step that beauty gurus require at every turn. You probably have a million questions racing through your head right now, the first of which being: How exactly do you sculpt your face and have more defined angles by drawing lines on your face?

Via Tina Yong/YouTube

While contouring shouldn’t be seen as a confusing task, we must admit, that quite a number of products and techniques are used in this makeup process (don’t worry, we can take you through it here); but more often than not the challenge lies not in the process itself but the technique.


Something that beginners don’t quite understand is that there are (unofficially) 2 types of contouring. The first type is dramatic contour—it’s more commonly seen and seems to complete the look of every social media maven out there. The second type is your everyday contour, and it provides a natural-looking sculpt. A common misconception is that dramatic contour is the same thing is everyday contour, but you’d be surprised to see how strange it looks when you step away from the lens.

Now, what makes it look so strange and almost unnatural?

The technique for dramatic contour was created for the purpose of the stage. It’s makeup that’s meant to turn you into a character, in contrast to everyday makeup which enhances you. Dramatic contour requires that your face is turned into a blank canvas, and this means that layers upon layers of product is packed on, making your face look incredibly cakey. Try sneaking a peak behind the scenes of any production and you’d be surprised to see that their definition of contour is carefully placed streaks of dirt.

Via Splash


Skip the full face of foundation and use it sparingly. For fair skin, it is best to avoid brown and orange colors. For medium skin tones, you can go for a bronze shade. If you have a dark or deep skin tone, this is when you can go for brown and orange colors.

Don’t just draw lines on your face! We all know that there are different face shapes, right? The lines that you will draw will depend on whatever shape your face is. But basically, you put the darker colour on the places you want hide since the colour acts as “shadows.” Check out this visual to see the recommended areas to contour for each face shape:

Via Vanessa Coco Makeup

Keep in mind to go easy on the colour—makeup looks drastically different under natural light and fluorescent lights. Packing on product gives your skin some unwanted texture, and remedying a texture issue is equal to redoing your entire look.

Via Birchbox

Try out these simple tips and show us how your natural contour look turned out! Use the hashtag #beautybytes and share your thoughts with the beauty community!

Featured images via Jennifer Chiu.

Carol Premacio is a graduating business student with a great love for fashion and beauty. She hopes to make it big one day as either a fashion buyer or a lifestyle journalist.