Woman contouring her cheekbone with a wide brush.

If you’re into makeup, you’ve no doubt tried contouring at least once. Whether or not you were successful is a different story. Truth be told, contour makeup takes a certain amount of finesse and loads of practice. The secret to achieving that sculpted look? Figuring out contour placements that work for your face shape.

The basics of contouring and highlighting are not one-size-fits-all. That’s why copying somebody else’s technique may not give you the same results. To shed some light, we break down how to contour different face shapes and share our tips to keep it natural-looking.

What Does Contour Makeup Do?

Contouring is applying shadows using a cream or powder formula a few shades darker than your complexion. The goal is to sharpen your , like your eyes, nose, jawline, and cheekbones. Contour can also de-emphasize certain areas, like or a prominent forehead.

The idea is to enhance what you already have, so the finish is not meant to be obvious. A good contour job is subtle, softly blending into your skin. Therefore, you should always start by applying a little product and add more if necessary.

How to Do Contour Makeup on Different Face Shapes

You might be familiar with the classic “figure 3” contouring trick, where you apply the shading on the upper temples, under the cheekbones, and along the jawline in the shape of said number. To which we say: that’s so 2015. It’s time to refresh your contour know-how with a new technique, customized to your face shape.

Shorten an oval face.

Oval-shaped faces have balanced proportions and are slightly longer than they are wide. The good news is that you’ll have the easiest canvas to work with. A little sweep here and there is enough to slightly shorten your long face while adding more depth to your features.

Focus your contour at the top of your forehead, the hollows of your cheeks, and below your chin. Blur any harsh lines by blending them upward for that lifted effect. If you’re a fan of the sucked-in look, there's no need to get . Use a contour stick to create an upside-down L, starting from your ear down to your jaw.

Add angles to your round face.

Your round facial features give off a fresh and youthful aura. But at times, they can make you look bloated in photos. Contour makeup can "chisel" your full cheeks and round chin.

The key is to only apply contour on the outer points of your face. First, place it on your sideburns, then bring it inward to your cheeks. After that, dust the color along your jawline. Pat whatever is left on your brush or sponge across your hairline to give an illusion of a smaller face.

Soften your square-shaped face.

You’re blessed with well-defined jawlines and cheekbones – the right shade placement can add a touch of softness to your face structure (if that’s what you want!).

Contour makeup for square faces should line the edges of the forehead and jaws to “round” any angles. Diffuse the product on these two spots and glide it across the perimeter of your face, too.

Highlight cheekbones on heart-shaped and diamond faces.

These two face shapes are marked by striking cheekbones and a narrow forehead with a V-shaped chin. Draw attention to these features while shortening the top half of your face with contour makeup.

Begin by shading both sides of your forehead and right below your cheekbones. Next, contour the area above your chin and underneath your bottom lip to create a harmonious balance, which is also a popular trick that will make your .

Makeup Tips to Perfect Your Contour Game

One of the many considerations in contour makeup is choosing the right product. Beginners might find it easier to work with a cream-based product that's more blendable. On the other hand, if you have , powders can be an option to help control shine.

After picking the most suitable formula for you, choose your shade. Stick to cool undertones one or two levels darker than your skin tone. Reddish hues can make your face look burnt (almost like a fake tan) if applied as a contour.

Also, be mindful of your post-makeup skincare ritual. Clean, hydrated skin is crucial to seamless makeup application, after all.

Remove all your makeup and a day’s worth of grime with POND'S Cleansing Balm, which has 100% organic French rose that soothes the skin. Carry on with a second cleanse using Dove Facial Cleansing Mousse Moisture Care. Infused with 40% Active-Boost serum and , it leaves your skin extra hydrated and smooth.

This guide proves you don’t have to be a pro to have fun with contour makeup. Feel free to tweak the techniques above and make them your own. At the end of the day, makeup should be a fun way to express yourself, so play around with it!