The Map to Contouring

Kat Haros and Taryn Sherman

Bronzer, blush, highlighter, an angled contour brush, and a large fluffy brush — these basic makeup tools are the key to a structured and contoured face. Contouring was a technique previously reserved for runway models and fancy photo shoots, but it’s now becoming part of many daily routines at home, according to beauty care writer, Lauren Francis from’s article “What You Need To Know About Contouring.”


Contouring has been noticed throughout Arrowhead, whether it’s a very minimal application of makeup, making it more of a simple, natural contour, or a heavier application, creating a more more of a defined and drastic contoured look.


Contouring uses specific tools like liquid and powder makeup as well as different types of brushes to enhance parts of your face that you may want to show off, and also minimize parts you don’t like. Contouring does this by creating hollows and shadows where there aren’t any and enhancing the angles of your face, whether you have a round face or a chiselled jawbone.


“Contouring is giving shape to an area of the face and enhancing the facial structure through makeup,” says Beau Nelson, celebrity Kristen Stewart’s longtime makeup artist,’s article, “So: What Is Contouring and Why Should You Care?”


Senior, Rachel Mauer says,  “I’m actually amazed by contouring. I thinks is so cool how you can completely change the look of your face and bone structure and shadows, and you come out looking beautiful. Every morning I try to do a little contouring around my nose and cheeks but I definitely don’t go all out, only for special events will I do that. But I really like the end result and I think it’s fun,”


According to Francis, contouring involves many specific, time-consuming steps. But these steps aim to enhance the face’s natural structure. There are six main shapes to master the basics of contouring:


  1. The first step is the base. For the base, use moisturizer, primer and a foundation to balance out the face.
  2. Next step is the bronzer. This step involves applying the bronzer to the hairline that hollows your cheekbones and your jawlines.
  3. Next comes blush. Add a thin line of it above the bronzer lines you created before this step.
  4. After blush comes highlighting. A highlighter is a cosmetic for emphasizing areas of the face with an off white illuminating effect, such as the eyes or cheekbones. Adding the highlighter down the bridge of your nose and brow bones are the most common areas for application.
  5. After those four steps are complete, move on to blending. You usually blend until the visible contour lines are gone. This is a crucial step to make sure your makeup looks natural and not harsh.
  6. Lastly, set your makeup with a loose setting powder which makes all of your makeup stay in place and last for hours.


Senior Halle Berg says, “I think everyone has there own opinion on courting, some think it goes beyond what you should be putting on your face and others find it to be a simple beauty. I think contouring is a really cool way to show off all of your cheekbones and bones in general on your face but I think the overall look can be a little overdone.”


According to allure.coms article, “Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Contouring?” the practice of contouring can both be fun with miraculous results, but the process is also time consuming and can come with a high price tag attached to each makeup product.


Katie Catalano, a junior, says, “I have seen so many pictures of celebrities and girls with all of these lines drawn on there face and then at the end once everything is blended in they end up looking completely different. You see a before and after photo and it’s crazy. It’s like a different person. I don’t really like contouring because of that reason and just because of all the makeup caked on your face.”

You can purchase contouring tools and makeup from Sephora, MAC, and Bobbi Brown. There are also other, less expensive brands from Walmart and Target. Consider from Sephora, the Highlight Lowlight Face Contour Duo sells for $20.00 each and the Maybelline ®  Face Studio Master Contour from Target is $11.99.
YouTube is a great site to look at when it comes to learning how to correctly apply and follow the steps of face contouring. Some helpful links for students to use are listed below. There is one with a more in depth and drastic face contouring tutorial, and one for more of a simple, everyday use.


We tried out our own contouring on senior, Colette Stich! Watch the process and transformation!