contour makeup technique


“Fake a Facelift” in 5 Minutes with this Contour Technique

February 4, 2019 By

Makeup has always been one of my favorite “anti-aging” tools because it can instantly make your skin look more dewy, cover up dark spots, and draw attention to your best features (and away from wrinkles).

But did you know you can also use makeup to “fake” higher cheekbones, a sculpted jawline, and “lifted” skin?

You can do all this with a makeup technique called “contouring.” By mimicking the effects of shadows and light, contouring can actually make your face look more “sculpted” — giving you the benefits of a facelift, without all the nips and tucks!

And the best part is, it’s actually really easy to do (even if you’re not a makeup pro) and won’t add more than 1-2 minutes to your makeup routine.

Literally anyone can master contouring if you follow the “No. 3 Trick.

And the best part is…

You Only Need 4 Products to “Fake a Facelift”


  1. A matte contour (liquid, cream, or powder)
  2. An iridescent “highlight” (liquid or powder)
  3. A dense, angled brush
  4. A fan brush

1. A matte contour shade mimics shadows.

Powder, Cream, or Liquid? When choosing contour, powder is the easiest to work with because you have more control when applying it. If you decide to use a liquid or cream contour (say, a liquid or stick foundation), start with a tiny bit and blend it out as you apply.

What Color is Best for Contour? When choosing the perfect contour color, pick one that’s 2-3 shades darker than your usual foundation color. Don’t worry about the darker color looking “unnatural” when you first see it — it will look right when you blend it out.

Use a matte contour and avoid using anything iridescent, sparkly; or shimmery. An all over shimmer looks dated and draws attention to the wrinkles on your face — ruining the sculpted, slimming effect we’re trying to create!

2. A highlight shade with subtle sheen reflects light.

Find a highlight that’s shimmery enough to reflect natural light. The key here is to avoid anything too glittery — which can look artificial.

If you’ve got fairer skin, look for a shade with a pearl-colored tone. (You might see these in stores with “champagne” or “moonstone” on the label.)

If you’ve got olive or darker skin, choose a color with golden or rose-gold tones. (Sometimes labeled as “peachy” or “bronze.”)

Now that you’ve got the perfect shades of contour and highlight, you’re going to need two specialty brushes that really make it easy to get a precise application.

(This comes straight from a client of mine who works as a makeup artist in film production: “It’s all about the brush… get the right brush and it’s almost impossible to screw up!”)

3. A medium-sized, angled brush for contour.

This should be firm with densely-packed bristles. It should have an angled shape that hugs the curves of your face. While browsing brushes, look for labels like “face-hugging,” or “sculpting.”

4. A fan brush for highlight.

For your highlight, use a fan brush. This will help you have control over the area where you’ll apply it.

It’s almost impossible to deposit too much product with a fan brush; and it will give you just enough glow without looking like a YouTuber. A fan brush is also flat in shape, helping you apply directly to the angular part of your cheekbone.

Now that you’ve got all your tools, get ready to fake a facelift!

The Perfect Contour “No. 3 Trick”

  1. After applying foundation, lightly dust your contour brush into the contour powder, tapping off any excess.
  2. Looking in a mirror, imagine drawing a giant “3” on one side of your face — starting from the center of your forehead, down your cheekbone, back near your temple; finishing down your jawline.
  3. Repeat on the other side of your face.
  4. Avoid obvious lines by blending any harsh edges into your foundation.

Pro Tip — Suck in your cheeks to help you find their hollow and apply along this line.

Gradually add more contour powder until your features are defined. You’ll know you’ve added enough powder when your cheekbones stand out and your jawline appears chiseled.

Next, apply your Highlight to complete the “lifted” effect


  1. Dust your fan brush into your highlight, gently picking up a bit of product.
  2. Apply across the upper cheekbone, building up slowly.
  3. Repeat on the other side of your face.

And that’s it! With this simple “3” technique you’ll be a contouring pro in no time.

Stick to this simple technique every time. There’s no need to invest in expensive palettes or waste time on insane tutorials. This trick works, and it makes you look younger and fresher. What more could you want from your makeup?

Try it out before catching up with an old friend over lunch, or a special occasion. It’ll give your face an instant pick-me-up, so you can feel like your best, most radiant self.

I’d love for you to try this quick little guide and let me know how it works for you!

P.S. It’s never been easier to “cheat” a slimmer jawline or nab more defined cheekbones with the flick of a makeup brush. Yet still, cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever.

What do you think? Would you ever go under the knife to enhance your features?

What about your other options? There’s always anti-aging skincare — and now the “No. 3 Trick” — in your back pocket.

Comment below and let me know what you think about makeup vs. cosmetic surgery! And make sure to share this post with a friend who’d like to try their hand at contouring.

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