What is Contouring?

how to contour
how to do your makeup
I recently had my makeup done by Lauren from Lauren Day Artistry. Lauren is a certified makeup artist that loves to do makeup for weddings and graduation pictures alike.  While we were talking, I had her give me some tips about contouring! This is what Lauren had to say:

  • The purpose of contouring (especially for beginners) is to Enhance features, not to change them completely (though this IS possible with heavy contouring) --heavy application will often look nice in photos but not face to face.

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makeup blending brush
  • Blend!!! This is key with all makeup application. Get a nice brush and blend, blend, blend! No harsh lines!
  • Bronzer will help blend out your contour. Just like any application, be light-handed. You can get away with just bronzing, but I would not typically suggest contouring without this step.
  • Always blend your foundation and bronzer down your neck. Just enough to have evenness of color, and to avoid the line of makeup along the jaw that doesn't match the neck.

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makeup highlighting
  • When you contour, also highlight! Highlighting lifts and pulls forward the things you want to draw more attention to. Contouring is like a shadow and will pull in or pull back.
  • It is easier to start with a light hand and slowly build, than it is to fix too much product.

what is contouring?
  • Generally speaking, bronzers should be warm toned, and contour shades should be cool in tone, like a shadow. But not always-- if you have very warm skin, your contour shade can have some warmth. Putting very cool tones on very warm skin usually looks dirty, instead of like a shadow. But don't go too warm! Orange is not the new black when it comes to contouring

Generally speaking- avoid contouring the nose. This is really popular and there are always exceptions to the rule...but usually it comes off as unnatural. 
  • When contouring cheekbones, concentrate the most product closest to your ear. Then let it fade. Never contour past the center of the eye!
  • Feel for your jaw, and place your contour where your jaw really is!
  • Brush shape plays a big role with contouring. A flat-edged brush will create a sharp, harsh line. A tulip-shaped or tapered brush comes to a point, but is also fluffy enough to blend product really well.
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lauren day artistry
makeup artist from Utah


  • Heavier contouring is encouraged for professional photography-otherwise facial features will be lost. Makeup usually photographs 2 shades lighter with high quality/professional photos. ⬆otherwise- going more natural is always best!

Thanks for the awesome tips, Lauren!
If you want to contact her for an upcoming event or shoot, her email is: laurendayartistry@gmail.com

Enter to win a makeup application from Lauren, a mini photo session from my photographer Melea Nelson, and a $20 gift card PLUS styling tips from me over on my Instagram at 5:30 tonight!



  1. Beautiful photos, I love the makeup.. Two gorgeous Lauryn/Laurens... Think I'll be giving her a jingle to get my makeup didded!! :)

  2. I agree that contouring the nose often looks unnatural. I usually only contour for photos. Its a bit to heavy for an everyday look in my opinion.

  3. I like these tips. They are really helpful not only for looks you want photographed but also for going out.


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