Beauty How-To: Tips & Tricks For EnhancingYour Face Shape

With so much talk about “contouring” in the beauty press these days, it is easy to get bamboozled and lose sight of the basics. Whilst contouring is an advanced makeup technique (and when taken as far as Kim Kardashian goes with it, it is certainly NOT for the every-day,) in essence contouring really comes down to an understanding your basic face shape then learning how to accentuate your best bits.

Most contouring information out there only demonstrates via one face shape (usually the oval) – which is no good for everybody else! You’ll really get value out of learning basic contouring tricks when you are following the technique that is suited for your shape.

So – a few simple pointers as illustrated below will have you applying your makeup and highlighters in the right way, in no time at all. Keep scrolling for the commentary. (With thanks to @maskcara for expert advice in this story)

Diamond – If your face is widest at the cheekbones with a narrow chin and hairline you are a diamond shape. With a narrow chin and forehead area your eyes get all the attention, so play those up! You share your shape with the likes of Ashley Greene & Anna Kendrick.

TIP: Using mostly highlight on the forehead and chin and focusing the contour at the cheekbones.

Heart – Heart shaped faces are similar to round faces (the length of your cheekbones at their widest are similar to the length of your face) and your features are rounded. The main difference is that your chin is comparatively narrow to the rest of the face. The great thing about having a heart shaped face is your narrow chin frames your mouth and there is also a sweetness and innocence that no other face shape can compete with. You share you shape with Reese Witherspoon and Scarlett Johansson.

TIP: Focus the majority of the contouring foundation on the widest part of the face but keep it out of the chin area, and highlight foundation there instead.

Oblong – If your face is much longer than it is wide but is in an oval shape, and usually you have great cheekbones! Blake lively, Gwyneth Paltrow & Tyra Banks are all oblong.

TIP: Be very careful not to contour the sides of your face and instead shade right beneath your cheekbones and beneath the apples of your cheeks.  Be careful with blush choices, use something vibrant or light in color vs something dark so that it doesn’t sink your cheeks!

It’s worth noting as well that as you age or lose weight, you lose volume around your cheekbones and underneath your eyes, which you can’t correct with contouring. Refrain from using light concealers to hide the dark areas as this might highlight the problem. Some consider dermal fillers to avoid sunken under eye areas. Ideally, you want to create the illusion of volume through injectables or a smart colour corrector technique.

Square or Rectangle- If your jawline is angled in sharp curves rather than rounded you are most likely a square or a rectangle. Or, if your face is wider at the jawline than it is at the forehead. A strong and striking look. Think:Demi Moore, Diane Kruger & Keira Knightley.

TIP: Add some curves under the cheeks and around the jaw to add softness and balance.

Pear Shape – Focused on the lower half of the face, with soft cheeks and big smiles! Kelly Osborne & Kelly Clarkson have pear shaped faces.

TIP: Focus the majority of the contour on the sides of the face from about the ears down and stick to highlight everywhere else.

Ovals – The most “proportionate” and balanced of the shapes.Think Beyonce, Megan Fox, Rihanna and Chalize Theron.

TIP: Simply define all of the natural shape and bone structure acrossthe whole face (not just zeroing down to one feature) and do not overdo it. 

Round faces – If the length of your cheekbones at their widest are similar to the length of your face and you have a rounded jawline/chin. The great thing about having a round face is that full cheeks are gorgeous and very youthful and a soft rounded jawline is sweet and feminine. Think:
Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Cameron Diaz.

TIP: Highlight the bridge of the nose and apply contouring foundation to the jaws.

Will this tempt you into trying contouring, or will you leave it all to the Kardashian clan? If you have tried the techniques- did you succeed or fail? Let us know in the comments below, and earn BWA Dollars for doing so!


  • Fashionista8P
    Reply Fashionista8P Tuesday 19th May, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I dont really understand contouring and never wear that much makeup up so feel like this is not something I would use

  • Reply Tibby_86 Thursday 4th September, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    I just dont understand how to contour my face I need a makeup for dummies book

  • Reply Jane Thursday 21st August, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Great article – I think I am oval.

  • Reply BellaB Tuesday 12th August, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    This is all too hard for me.

  • Reply yslyenom Friday 8th August, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Can’t decide which one is my face shape. Definitely not diamond, heart and oval.

  • Reply Caroline Friday 8th August, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Been playing around with contouring and have found great successes and ACTUAL changes in the way I look on photos! As a round face with a complete dislike for my profile, I cover my chubby cheeks with my hair but since I started playing with make up, I’m building some confidence to walk out the door with a pony tail. I don’t go as far as the Karhashians, that’s too vain, but I use stick foundation on a darker tone than my foundation and the YSL highlighter. Useful to have a blending sponge and brushes of good quality to mesh everything together

  • Reply amanda6393 Friday 8th August, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Great tips and images!

  • Reply Sparkles17 Friday 8th August, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Really useful article!

  • Reply lovelyloves Friday 8th August, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I should get a highlighter.

  • Reply yslyenom Thursday 7th August, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks for the article. It’s one skill that I’m lacking.

  • Reply jessicawheelock Thursday 7th August, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Sweet contour guide!

  • Reply Whatthe Wednesday 6th August, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I think I’m a bit of an assymetrical oval type.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.