Beauty products

Make-up Contouring: Change Your Appearance without Surgery

By  | 

With the right technique you can contour your face to slim your nose and enhance your cheekbones using make-up.

If you’ve been on Instagram lately or read Vogue, you may wonder how celebrities are able to change their appearance dramatically in minutes with only make-up.   One of the secrets is using make-up to contour facial features to enhance them.  Recently we sat down with celebrity make-up artist Jen Fleming to get tips on how to do contouring.   It’s a lot easier than we thought, and you don’t need any special products.

Jen Fleming Facemaid

Makeup Artist Jen Fleming in a stunning blue dress from her website Facemaid.

Ms. Fleming recommends using your Bronzer as a contouring color, tool, because that is the safest.   So for example, here’s how you can step into contouring to contour your nose to look more streamlined.   The first way , “is to use a brush that is either flat or fluffy, ” according to Ms. Fleming.  You want to use a brush that has a bit of fluff to it so that the contour does not look super-intense, as it can with just a flat brush. If you use a softer brush, it will be a little more flexible.  But you can also just use your fingers to apply the make-up if you don’t have a brush.  “If you do it with your fingers, you actually have more control,” notes Ms. Fleming.  To slim your nose, what you would do is if you have fair skin, you’ll use one shade darker color than your normal tone either in foundation or bronzer, and run it down the sides of your nose with your fingers or the brush.   If you have darker skin, you’ll use the same technique but select a lighter color than your skin tone.  You just follow along the bone lines on the side of the nose with the make-up.   If you want the nose to look thinner, then you would contour a wider area along the sides of the nose with the make-up.

“As you go, you can keep track of how the look is working out by taking a selfie on your cell phone, ” says Ms. Fleming.  “If the contrast is too dark, then you can use a brush or a sponge to buff it out.”

Cheekbone contouring with Covergirl

Cheekbone contouring with COVERGIRL Makeup

For cheekbones, Ms. Fleming recommends investing in a nice make-up brush like an angle blush.   Before you start, look in the mirror and look for the natural shadow where your cheek bone is.  Then, place your color in that little area and blend upward.  “Don’t flick down,” warns Ms Fleming, “Because that will pull your cheek bones done and not give the desired effect.”   Blend your darker bronzer, powder, or foundation upward.  Then you can go right over that area with your blush.  Again, take a selfie to see how the look is turning out. If the make-up is too heavy, you can use a sponge to buff it out.  Finally, Ms, Fleming recommends adding a bit of your contour color to your forehead where the sun would naturally hit you.    To get a more  chiseled look, take the foundation you use and go underneath where you just contoured. By doing that, you will add another layer of depth to that will make the contour stand out.   Again, check as you go, and if this looks too artificial or heavy handed, you can buff it out with a sponge.

According to Ms. Fleming, there are no rules for tools you can use “just use what is easiest for you.”


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.