How to Contour Cheeks

How to Contour Cheeks featured photo

While many are, not everyone who wants a sculpted and chiseled face is willing to go under the knife. But thanks to the power and art of makeup and contouring, it isn’t a fairway dream anymore. More and more are growing curious about how to contour cheeks the right way.

Contouring your cheeks will give them structure so they appear slimmer. You can do this by drawing a line from the top of your ear and going towards and downwards your nose. Stop the line right where your eyes start. You can also use the indentation or hollow of your cheeks to determine where the line should be. Blend it out to remove harsh lines.

Our guide below is simply a general and standard contouring guide. The same techniques will not give all kinds of faces the same results. You would still need to adjust your techniques according to your face shape, facial features, and preferences.

In this article, we’ll not only go over how to contour your cheeks but a full guide on contouring your entire face. We’ll also cover everything you need to know about contouring, including the products you should be looking into.

What is Contouring?

Who doesn’t want sculpted, lifted, and defined facial features, right? Everyone daydreams about looking like they come straight off the front cover of a fashion magazine or on their way to strut the biggest red carpet event of the year.

Various makeup hacks and techniques have come and go in the beauty world but one thing that remains is contouring – and it doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon.

More and more people are wanting that instant sculpted and chiseled face without having to go under the knife for surgery. One perfect way to achieve this instant gratification is with the art of contouring.

Contouring is a makeup technique that plays around with shadows and highlights to add depth and dimension to your natural facial features. It’s a way to sculpt and define your facial features with the help of makeup, specifically with the help of darker-hued makeup products.

The goal of contouring is to add depth and dimension, define, sculpt, or make specific features appear smaller than they actually are. But remember, contouring is not so much as to erase natural features or create new ones. Instead, it takes on an enhancing and accentuating approach.

The most common areas for contouring are the forehead, cheeks, nose, jawline, and chin.

Contouring can look and sound intimidating, especially for beginners and people who find themselves drowning in tons of guides and tutorials all over their social media pages.

To understand contouring further, it would be best to break it into down to two purposes:

Contouring to enhance features

Contouring doesn’t have to be bold or dramatic when you don’t want it to be – and it isn’t just for night outs or big events.

Contouring can look subtle, natural, and simple – perfect if you just want a little enhancement to your natural features. Basic contouring does just enough to further define, sculpt, and add dimension to your favorite facial features.

This is a great makeup technique for everyday makeup choices or for going out for casual outings.

Contouring to correct features

When done right, contouring can quite magically “correct” some features you might want to pay closer attention to.

Contouring in this sense can help change or alter the shape of your face and bone structure, create symmetry that wasn’t naturally there, or balance certain features. It can also help hide or minimize the size of certain facial features like the forehead and nose or create an overall slimmer-looking face.

Corrective contouring is more common in professional makeup settings like photoshoots, film and TV settings, and big formal events but anyone can use it whenever they see fit. Here are some great foundation palettes for professionals.

If you are working with textured skin, these foundations for textured skin might help the contouring process go more smoothly (no pun intended).

Contouring vs Highlighting

Quite the opposite of contouring is highlighting.

While highlighting also enhances your face’s structure, it does so by lifting, emphasizing, and enlarging your natural facial structures. Highlighting brings forth an area, bringing them forward and helping them look more defined.

You can highlight anywhere on your face – your nose, cheeks, jawlines, eyebrows, cupid’s brow, etc. Highlighting adds length or width where you need it.

The key to applying contour and highlighting techniques is understanding how they work together to give you the look you’re after.

Contour Products to Look Out For

One essential step to make sure you get the contouring results you’re after is to look out for the right and best kinds of contouring products. Keep an eye out for these:

Contour powder

Contour powder palettes are the most-recommended contouring products for beginners. They’re easy to use and buildable, perfect for anyone just starting to build their contouring skills and techniques.

Contouring with powder formulas will give your hands the most convenient control. Additionally, this type of formula would work best for those with oily skin who would want their look to stay on for the whole day or night.

Powders are also great for subtlety if you’re aiming for a more natural look. An angled contour brush or a fluffy brush is the best options for applying contour powder.

Cream contour

A cream contour stick is a very popular option for fans of the art of contouring. Though it’s not as blendable as a powder contour, especially for beginners, it does provide precise contouring results. They’re also highly pigmented, perfect if you’re going for something older and dramatic.

Cream contours work great for those with drier skin types. Their formula and finish don’t settle on fine lines or emphasize the dryness of the skin.

A beauty blender, makeup sponge, or powder brush would do wonders in blending the lines from cream contour sticks.

Liquid contour

Though not as popular as powder and cream contour products, a liquid contour is another option for those looking for alternatives.

This can provide a smooth, flawless finish all the while allowing you to blend the formula into your skin easily. A beauty blender, makeup sponge, or angled brush are also your best options for blending it seamlessly on your skin.

Choosing the Right Products to Contour

Now that you know your options when it comes to contouring products, here is a more in-depth guide to help you choose the right products for your skin and contouring needs:


When it comes to formula, you have two basic options: powder or cream, but a third less common option of a liquid contour is also available.

We’ve discussed in great detail what the differences are between these three formula types. Powder contours are great for beginners due to them being easy to build up and blend. They’re also great for those with oilier skin types.

Cream and liquid formulas would need more experienced hands and techniques. Both offer precision and vivid results. And those with drier skin types would enjoy either of these formulas.


To get the best contouring results, always go for a product with a matte finish. Regardless of which formula you choose, always choose something with a matte finish and avoid anything with sheen or shimmer.


It’s generally recommended that the best contouring shade is one that’s one to two shades darker than your skin tone. This will allow you to build that depth, dimension, and structure you’re after. However, if you’re someone with very fair skin, a product that’s only one shade darker should do.

You would also want to avoid contouring products that have too orange or reddish undertones. This is why it’s also recommended to avoid using bronzers as contouring products, no matter how many sites say you can. Bronzers tend to have these orange or red undertones and that’s exactly what you’re trying to avoid.

How to Contour Face

Now that we know everything there is to know, it’s time to start contouring our faces:

  1. First step: lay a blank canvas

The first step to the perfect contour is to start your makeup routine as you normally would, given that you’re prepped your skin and have done your skincare routine.

Go ahead and apply your primer and foundation. This lays out a blank canvas for the contouring about to take place.

For the following how-tos of contouring, you can follow all the steps or choose to contour areas you want to pay close attention to.

  1. How to contour forehead and hairline

Contouring the forehead and hairline can do two things: either lengthen or shorten your face.

To lengthen your face, add lines along both sides of your hairlines but don’t connect the two together and leave the middle blank. Add a short line along both your temples and blend. This gives the forehead a higher structure, elongating and lengthening the face.

To shorten your face, draw a complete upside-down U on your forehead, never reaching the temples, and then blend.

  1. How to contour cheeks

Contouring the hollows of your cheekbones gives them a structure and dimension that will instantly slim down your face.

Draw a line starting from the top of your ear towards and downwards your nose and stop right where your eyes start.

It could be easier to determine where to draw the line if you suck in your cheeks. If you see where the indentation or hollow of your cheeks is, that’s where you should aim to draw the line. This placement will give your cheeks an instant lift.

Once both sides of the cheeks have been drawn, blend the product out.

A common concern: how to contour chubby cheeks

Contouring, when done right, can instantly give you more definition on your cheeks, even if they’re a little chubby and rounded.

Just follow the steps to contour your cheeks above and make sure to blend properly to get rid of the harsh lines.

Moreover, adding blush to your cheeks can actually help hide some of the chubbiness. To do this, opt to apply the blush on your cheeks with your blush brush in a diagonal manner instead of the classic circular motion.

This will offer even more slimming effects to hide chubby cheeks.

  1. How to contour the jawline

Sculpt your jawline by tracing and drawing a line along the natural angles and shadows of your jaw. You can also add a few extra lines under the jaw to target the double chin area.

Blend to get rid of the harsh lines.

  1. How to contour the nose

You can also choose to contour and sculpt your nose and you can do this by drawing a straight vertical line down on either side of the nose and then blending out.

  1. Final step: finish your look

Finish your makeup look by completing the rest. Apply your blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, and powder highlighter of choice. Don’t forget to set everything with a translucent powder or setting spray to ensure makeup longevity.

How to Contour for Your Face Shape

Our contouring guidelines above are merely general guidelines. Of course, you would have to adjust your technique according to personal preferences and according to your facial features. The same contouring techniques will not work the same across all face shapes and features.

Round-shaped faces

Individuals with a round face shape would need to pay close attention to contouring their cheeks. They also don’t have a lot of angular features so jawline and forehead contouring should not be skipped.

Oval-shaped faces

Oval-shaped faces really only need to pay attention to their cheeks so never skip contouring that area. They also tend to have narrower jawlines and foreheads so many skip these steps. Still, you can opt for a smaller forehead by contouring the area.

Square-shaped faces

Someone with a square face shape can contour their foreheads and jawlines to give them a smaller appearance. And if you need to, go ahead and contour your cheeks as well.

Rectangle-shaped faces

For rectangular faces, focus on contouring the sides of your face and avoid contouring too far into the center of your face.

Heart-shaped faces

Contour the temples and sides of your forehead to create more balance in heart-shaped faces. Contour the lower chin area as well.

Diamond-shaped faces

Diamon-shaped faces tend to have wide cheek areas so pay close attention to that while preventing contouring close to the mouth.


Everyone wants sculpted and defined features but not everyone is willing to go under the knife to achieve it. With the power of makeup, these dreams can soon be a reality. More and more are growing curious about how to properly contour cheeks so they seem slimmer.

Contour your cheeks by drawing a line from the top of your ear. Bring it downwards and towards your nose. Stop and cut the line right where your eyes start. Blend it out to get rid of the harsh line. Apply blush on your cheeks diagonally instead of the classic circular motion. This will further slim down your cheeks.

And that has been our detailed guide on how to contour cheeks. If you have other queries for us, hit us up below!

Michelle Jackson
Michelle Jackson