The Best MakeUp Trick Ever! How To Contour Your Face.

Have you ever looked at your favorite celebrities and wondered how they’re skin always looks picture perfect? Stars like J-Lo or Kim Kardashian seem to always have insanely high cheekbones,  defined noses… and seemingly flawless complexions. The secret is contouring.  I learned this one day when I was asked to appear in, “Face to Face” by Scott Barnes (the most amazing celebrity makeup artist on the planet’s new book.)  After applying a foundation that matched my skin tone, he used a really light and a really dark foundation and contoured my entire face. As he started applying my foundation and contouring I thought I looked crazy and seriously wondered how in the world it would turn out… Once he blended it I looked the best I have ever looked! I never knew my cheekbones could look so pronounced or my nose could look so small. Even my eyes looked bigger, it was crazy what a world of difference this technique made! Now I do it all the time and I want to show you how to do it now because it truly is an AMAZING tick and you have to try it!!!

Here is what you will need:

Foundation matching your natural skin tone.

Cream Foundation in a much lighter color than your natural skin tone.

Cream Foundation in a much darker color than your natural skin tone.

These are the two I use to give you an idea. Loreal True Match Cream Foundation is great and runs you $9 each.






A Foundation Brush that is flat and a little pointed at the tip. I like using MAC 190 Foundation Brush. $33





A brush to blend. MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush works great! $42





A powder brush. MAC 150 Large Powder Brush works really well. $42











A Setting Powder. Try Airspun by Coty Face Powder. $6.99 at all drug stores. This is my favorite!


The idea is to highlight the areas on your face that you want to pop, this is where the light would normally hit your face. The bridge of your nose, your cheekbones, your temple, your brown bone and along your jaw line.

1. Apply your foundation that matches your skin tone. I always match mine with my neck because I never get sun on my face so it is always a couple shades lighter and I want it to match the rest of my body.

2. Starting with your light foundation take your flat brush apply it under your eyes and on your cheekbones all the way up to your hairline. Apply it in the middle of your forehead, down the center of your nose,  underneath your eyebrows on the brown bone, along your jawline and on your collar bone. Do not blend yet.

3. Next using your dark foundation and flat brush, apply it in the hollows of your cheeks (under your cheekbones) down both sides of your nose and on the tip (this makes it look smaller) under your jawline at the very top of your neck (this makes your jawline more defined) at the top of your forehead around your hairline and in the crease of your eyelids (this makes your eyes more defined) and above and below your collar bone.


Right now you will most likely look like a clown, but that’s ok. actually that means you did it right!

4. Time to blend. Taking your foundation brush, in a circular motion blend everything in. You will be surprised how easy this is and how great it looks instantly!

5. Apply powder. Now you need to set all the work you just did in. It’s important to use a powder brush to do this not a puff. After you have gone over your face I put a good amount under my eyes and on my cheekbones, I leave it unblended while I do the rest of my make up and blend it at the end. This gives your cheekbones that extra pop. I really love Airspun powder because it goes on great and is translucent but when you apply more under your eyes and on your cheekbones it gets lighter. Whatever powder you use make sure the powder under your eyes is light, this brightens up your face and makes your eyes pop.

I finish up this look with a little shimmer or bronzer on my cheekbones and a touch of blush on the apples of my cheek. This makeup trick always looks really amazing in photos as well so try it for your next special occasion or if you just want to look stunning going to Starbucks. It’s great for day and night. Just make sure to blend!









  1. sherie deutscher says:

    Amazing … I will have to try this

  2. Loree McKague says:

    Love the new tricks!!! Thanks for sharing, Courtney.

  3. Ann Marie says:

    I have all of these! Can’t wait to get home and try this!!!! Thanks girl!

  4. I love it!!!

  5. Amazing tutorial Courtney, thanks so much for sharing!!

  6. Love the new tips! Gonna have to try them out

  7. Thanks so much Courtney! This tip rocks, I also appreciate the examples and prices!

  8. Thank you soooo much for sharing, I just started blogging and I LOVE this!

  9. Deff going to try this!!

  10. tiffany says:

    I’m kind of confused at step 5. Do you apply powder with an actual brush ?? And what do you mean blend that in ??

  11. Janessa says:

    What do you do when even the lightest shade of make up is too dark? What would you highlight with then?

    • Courtney says:

      You can go to and order their white cream makeup. It works great! I’m sure it will work great for you.

  12. victoria says:

    Been tryin dis for a long tym. Avnt still gotten d whole trick.*sigh* I criosli need help on dis. I luv anyfin contour

  13. At last! A step by step how to contour with the tools and kinds of brushes! Thanks!

  14. christine says:

    Thanks I really like the step by step instructions. I really like my bare minerals powder foundation. Can I still use the powder foundation and apply your steps? Or to work best, use the liquid foundation?

    • Hey,
      I just wanted to tell you that I use bare minerals and then contour on top. I would however recommend a primer if you do this to help hold the bare minerals in place. I use a mattifying moisturizer, primer, bare minerals, contour, and then a finishing powder. It works well!

  15. Can’t wait to try this out, def going to buy these products tomorrow! Thank you :D Xxxx

  16. Do u have any suggestions for a cheaper make up brush that I could use to contour my face? Target has some good brushes. Which ones should I use?

  17. Will have to try this.
    Really wna look flawless, duno if I’ll get it right though
    Haven’t really used all these products before,so not sure how to apply them
    But I love this tip

  18. Tried this nd so many people commented on how fab my make up looked. Need to tweek it a little as my face ended up being a little too dark for my body (lucky it’s turtle neck season!) but the overall effect was great! Thank you!!

  19. Please tell me how i would do this despite under eye wrinkles i really wouldnt want them highlighted. , I see most of these diagrams on how to also show the under eye area being emphasised.

    • Great question. Try using a foundation primer before you start. Photo finish by smashbox is amazing, it helped fill in and smooth out lines and wrinkles so you have a smoother surface. Also, I would go with a highlighter/conceler with more moisture in it, creamed based are the best. Ben Nye has great ones, you can find them online, they are very thick and creamy and are used a lot in tv and film to help wrinkles.

  20. Love the tips how do you know how dark to go though?

  21. Great tips but how do you know how dark to go?

  22. Looks great! Can’t wait to try!

  23. I’m 57 and everything I read says to not use powder to set because it gets in the lines and creases which make you appear older. What do you think, and/or suggest?

  24. Ok so im a beginner in make up.. so I’m light skin kind of like nude beige and want to know what colors can I use or how to find them//

    • Hi Maria, You want to start with a foundation as a base that matches your skin perfectly. The best way to do this is to go to a sephora or makeup counter and apply three streaks of foundation to your cheek. Starting with the lightest that looks like it will match your skin then, a shade darker and a shade darker. Whichever steak disappears on your skin is the correct shade. Now that you have a base you want to go three shades lighter in a concealer or highlighter for your highlights and three shades darker for your contouring.

  25. Hi Courtney! Question for you, I tried on twitter, but you must get overwhelmed with the tweets. Anyway, I’m 42 and just starting to get wrinkles. I’ve been using Bare Minerals, but it doesn’t seem to be working for me anymore. I saw you recommended Loreal True Match. I read all your tips. Do you think this is a good fit, or should I try a different product? I plan on investing in a great concealer and highlighter as well. Love all the tips. You’re wonderful!

  26. Wow thanks for this great lecture…..

  27. Any specific reason why I should spend the money on these brushes? I have lots of brushes I already use just wondering what the big difference is on these higher priced ones?

    • Courtney says:

      Good question, you most certainly don’t need to splurge on MAC brushes, I’m just trying to give an example of the type and size of brushes needed. :)

  28. Great tips!!!!!! I love to contour & highlight I use motives but I just got it and already after about 5 use I already hit pan on my highlight. I have bad acne and dry skin I’m a olive with very yellow and red undertones. I have wrinkles under my eyes which BEN nye products should I try? And do you know of any other contour products that will be good for my skin?

  29. wow ive seen this i knew abou it now i know how to do it im going to buy everything i need tomorow i really thank you whoever you are for putting this up im going to loook soo good now .

  30. The brushes are to expensive for me, but I do love coastal scents what brushes do you recomend from them for this? Thank you love you’re blog.

  31. Random and maybe daft question, my natural foundation colour is the lightest, im making a guess that using a highlighter would be best for me to use instead of the ‘lighter than natural’?

    • Yes. A highlighter would be great or even a very light, almost white Revlon concealer stick, available at CVS or Rite Aid. :)

  32. Mandy Kelly says:

    I was looking to update my look. I have never worn much makeup, usually some mascara and conceler because I have very dark circles all around my eyes. I tried a practice run after buying all the things I didn’t have and was absolutely blown away by the results. Thanks for sharing this and making makeup fun again!

  33. Yamahaprincess says:

    I tried this and looked like I was caked in makeup. I used a liquid foundation instead of a cream. Does it matter?

    • Courtney says:

      Sorry to hear that. You can use liquid foundation for your base coverage but the contouring always works best with creams. :)

  34. You take your foundation brush to blend in section 4? That’s kind of dumb.. what’s the point of the blending brush then?

  35. I absolutely love this tutorial! I have just spent an hour looking on YouTube and other sites to figure out how to create this look, this is by far the best one. I do have a question though, am I supposed to apply my eye makeup before, after or during the highlighting/contouring process? I have watched so many videos where the ladies already had their eye makeup on and that confused me because I would think you would want a completely blank canvas.
    I just wanted to tell you that I love that you provided product names and prices as well as a picture with both dark and light areas. I saved the image so that I can pull it up on my phone while I get ready until I get the hang of it. I’m so excited to try this look!
    Thanks for such a great article

  36. The Truth of Makeup says:

    I am baffled by the knowledge in this blog I found it to be not just incredibly interesting but it really also made me think. It is tough now a days to get appropriate information to ones search, so I am pleased that I found this blog

  37. I love these tips! The only issue I have is using powder, this makes me look much older than I am because it settles i to the fine lines around the eyes. Is there any way to avoid this?

  38. Cindy Frederick says:

    Make face look smaller permanently without make you have to try face thin tool which help to burn fat around to your face.

  39. This is lovely, just exactly how it is

  40. Dania AlJubury says:

    i am using nose right tool for make my nose smaller it’s really work great i love that.


  1. […] at explains how to achieve the countoured look with examples of the products she uses and detailed […]

  2. […] The Best MakeUp Trick Ever! How To Contour Your Face . – The Best MakeUp Trick Ever! How To Contour Your Face. August 5, 2012 By Courtney 45 Comments. … Great tips!!!!! I love to contour & highlight I use motives but I just got it and already after about 5 use I already hit pan on my highlight. […]

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