The current contouring makeup trend can look a little extreme, but it doesn’t need to be as dramatic as many of the photos and videos out there.  We put together a guide for 5 common face shapes to illustrate how to subtly enhance or “sink” areas of your face without the telltale stripes. You can also check out Sam’s Contouring 101 video for more technique tips.

Oval Face


The oval face is widely considered to be the optimal shape because of it’s symmetry, so when contouring, just enhance the exisiting shape.

  • Define the oval appearance with a slight contour around the perimeter of your face (forehead, temple and jawline).  Dip the tips of your buffing brush into a matte bronzer  that is slighter darker than your complexion, tap off excess and blend along the temples and hairline with the width of  the brush.  Once the brush is empty go over the edge with small circular motions for a seamless look.
  • Enhance your cheekbones.  Switch to the sculpting brush and smooth on a powder or cream product (2-3 shades darker than your skin tone) directly under the cheekbone in a visible stripe.  Blend out the perimeter of the stripe with your setting brush using short up and down strokes.

Round Face


A round face is not quite as long as the oval shape, so if you want to elongate the look of your face, follow these steps:

  • Create the illusion of a more angular face.  After appyling foundation over your face, use a cream or liquid foundation (2-3 shades darker than base color ) and work onto the underside of the cheekbones toward the outer chin with your sculpting brush.  Blend out on and under the jawline so the contour blends into your neck seamlessly.  Use your setting brush to micro blend the contour edge near the middle of your face.
  • Accentuate the length of your face with a highlight above the chin.  Apply a lighter foundation color (2-3 shades lighter) with your fan brush under the center of your lower lip.
  • Draw attention upward with a highlight around the outer corner of the eye.  Dust a highlight powder onto the area with your fan brush, for a subtle lift. 

Long Face


The long face has an even longer shape than the oval face, so you can use contour to widen the look of the face.

  • “Sink” the chin and forehead—dip your setting brush into a powder contour and sweep along the top of your forehead, directly under your cheekbones and the bottom third of your chin.


Diamond Face



The diamond shape is widest across the cheekbones with a tapered chin and forehead.  Use contour and highlight to balance a pointy chin and narrow hairline.

  • Contour under the cheekbones (as done above for the long face) and lengthen the look of a narrow hairline by “sinking” the center of top and sides of forehead, creating the illusion of a forehead that is as wide as the cheekbones.
  • Create a wider looking chin—highlight the outside edges with a small contour in the center.


Square Face


The square face has a forehead, cheekbone and jawline that are the same width with a straight (less pointy) jaw shape.  Use contour to soften the perimeter of the face so it looks more oval.

  • Create the illusion of a rounder face shape.  After appyling foundation over your face, use a cream or liquid foundation (2-3 shades darker then base color) and work onto the lower corners of the jaw with your sculpting brush.  Blend into your hairline and down the top of the neck with your setting brush.
  • Widen the appearance of eyes and cheekbones by sweeping a lighter shade of concealer in a triangle between your eyes with your concealer brush.
  • Accentuate cheeks for a rounder looking visage.  Place a pinky-brown blush onto your fan brush and sweep under the apples-of-the cheeks and then up.

 What contour tricks do you use to alter your face shape?