Contour Your Face Like A Pro With These Five Easy Steps

(Source: Sephora, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America)Contouring is one of the most elusive beauty tricks out there. Everyone is dying for that Kim Kardashian definition, but no one wants to overdo it and end up with cheek bones worthy of any drag queen. If the nuances of highlighting and shading still mystify you, we've got five quick tips straight from Sephora Pros Erik Soto and Hector Espinal to put to rest all of your contouring woes.

(Source: Caitlin Miller/Instagram)1. Analyze your face shape
The key to contouring success is to know your face shape straight from the get-go. Whether you have a round face, an oval (the space at the forehead, nose, and lips are all the same), a heart (the forehead and nose areas are larger than the lips and chin area), or a square one (more defined jaws), understanding your face's shape will guide you in your contouring mission. Remember, darker shades create shadows and make things look smaller and sharper. Highlighters or blushes will do the opposite and make things look fuller. (So you can see how knowing your face shape will help dictate how you'll apply your makeup, right?) For round faces, for example, you'd contour the lower cheek (from the temples to the lower cheek) and under the jawline to elongate the face and create balance, while someone with a square-shaped face would contour on the jaw and temple, but not so much the cheeks.

2. Stick to foundation for daytime contouring
It might be tempting to create chiseled cheek bones with the darkest bronzer out there, but Espinal advises sticking to a foundation for a more natural-looking daytime contour. Opt for a foundation that's one to two shades darker from your natural tone. This makes it easier to blend and will keep you from looking like you should be out at the club instead of at the office. Espinal and Soto showed us their contouring tricks with Marc Jacobs Beauty Genius Gel-Super-Charged Foundation ($48) because it's incredibly lightweight and super easy to apply.

3. Arm yourself with the proper tools
To get the most natural, blended look, get gear that can handle the job. A good tip from the pros is to match your tools to the texture of your skin. So in this case, a beauty sponge is great for applying foundation to porous skin. Sponges can also get in the little nooks and crannies, like around the nose, to deliver a more even application. Anther good tool to have on hand is an angled brush. This is great for using with darker shades or bronzers to create shadows because you can follow the angle of the brush head to create your line.

(Source: Sephora)4. Let your face be your guide
Knowing how to use your face to act as a road map is so critical for getting the best and most balanced look. Let your cheeks, ears, and mouth dictate where to shade. Mark your territory by drawing an imaginary line from the tip of your ear and corner of your mouth. That area under your cheeks will be where you contour. Apply your darker shade in that area and blend, blend, blend! (Just be sure to stop before you reach the actual corner of your mouth—no puppet faces here.) Espinal suggests only shading about halfway down the cheeks for daytime wear.

5. Don't fear blush
We know it's scary at times, but blush is your friend. It can add volume to your face and seal your contour. Apply blush on the apples of your cheeks if you want to make them appear fuller and juicier. For example, for heart-shaped faces, apply highlighter to the chin and forehead and dab on blush on the cheeks to create a plumper middle and lower part of the face. When applying blush, smile and apply to cheeks two fingers away from the nose. Take your brush and work back and forth to blend into your base or bronzer. If you make a blush boo-boo and apply too much, relax. You can always fix it by lightly going over the error with a brush to blend it in more.

Just remember those five simple steps, and you'll be on your way to having the most perfect, carved out cheekbones and balanced face around. Watch out, Kim K!
Associate Editor at StyleBistro. Lover of makeup, running, Bob Dylan and chocolate. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @CaitlinSMiller Follow me: Google
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