How To Contour According To Your Face Shape

MUA Clare Hogan gives us the one, two, three on customised contouring.

Contour face shape

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that we’re a tad obsessed with contouring at STELLAR HQ. Sure it’s a lot of hassle in the mornings, and it’s best reserved for those big nights out when we really want to make the effort, but if it’s good enough for the Kardashians, it’s good enough for us.

But it’s not a one size fits all. In fact, sloughing on your contour in the exact same way as every other blogger YouTuber and celebrity could well be a waste of your time, because to really get the deadly benefits of contouring (think enhanced bone structure) you’ll need to customise your application to your face shape.

Thankfully, it’s not as difficult or as complex as it sounds. We sought the advice of make-up artist Clare Hogan to find out how it’s done.

Step one: Figure out your face shape

The first, and, um, most obvious step is to figure out your face shape and the easiest way to do this is to grab a large handheld mirror and a lippy (preferably not your favourite one) pull your hair back and using the lipstick draw the outline of your face onto the glass. The result should fall into one of the main facial categories; oval, round, heart or square.

Step two: Get to grips with shading and highlighting

“The most important thing you need to keep in mind when contouring is where exactly to use your darker and lighter shades and what you’re trying to achieve,” explains Clare. “Any area of the face you darken will recede and look slimmer, whereas anywhere you apply a lighter product or highlight will come forward and be emphasised. Once you get your head around this you will find it easier to create a look that suits your face shape.” Got it.

Step three: Apply


If you’re oval then lucky you. “This is generally the face shape women are trying to achieve when they contour,” says Clare. “And you don’t need to contour much as you naturally have contoured features.” Stick to what Kim K does; highlight across the cheekbones, down the centre of the nose and chin, and in a triangle across the centre of the forehead.


“When contouring a round face you’re trying to give the illusion your face is longer than it naturally is so keep your darker shades to the outer part of the face,” instructs Clare. That means applying thicker lines of contour down from your temples and into the hollows of your cheeks, to make the face appear slimmer. Finish by “focusing your highlight at the centre of the face,” says Clare.


If you’ve got a heart-shape face “you want to minimise the upper part of the face where it’s wider,” explains Clare. “To do this, darken the outer temples and cheekbones, and then focus your highlight on the centre of the forehead and under the eyes,” she instructs.


“This face shape has quite sharp features so the aim here is to soften them, epsecially the jaw bone.” That means you’ll need lots of highligher. Blend yours along the top of your jaw, down your forehead, and under your eyes. Lastly, add definition by contouring under your cheekbones. Done.