How to contour using foundation

One of the latest trends in make-up application is the use of foundation to create contouring effects on the face instead of using traditional contouring products.

This allows you to remove a few extra products from your routine and cuts down on any damage you may do to your skin as a result. The following is a quick, step-by-step guide on how to use foundation to create contours (adapted from

Contour using foundation

Whatever your normal pre-foundation routine is, do that prior to starting. Make sure you give your moisturizer enough time to absorb and sink into the skin, as this gives you a better texture to work with and always helps your foundation apply better.


With a sponge applicator or synthetic foundation brush, apply the foundation all over the face, blending and smoothing the coverage out to as little as you need. It’s best to apply sheer coverage all-over, and then go back and build up coverage just in the places you need it. If you normally use concealer, apply it as you normally would, either before or after foundation.


With a flat, firm brush, pat on the highlight shade underneath your eyes in an upside-down triangle shape and directly underneath the brow bone. With a fluffy eye brush, blend the highlight edges into your normal foundation to make the transition seamless.


Using the same flat, firm brush, pat the highlight shade just below the center of the forehead, and then lightly down the nose. You can also highlight slightly underneath the nostrils. With a fluffy brush, blend and soften the edges so the highlight gradually fades back into your skin color.  Remember, when using any cream foundation, less is more. A little bit goes a long way. Dot a small amount of foundation onto face and blend.


To bring the mouth forward, highlight just above the cupid’s bow to make your lip shape more prominent. Lightly pat the highlight just under the lower lip around the outer corners, and then directly below the center of the bottom lip in an upside-down triangle shape. Another trick that can be used to define and shape the mouth is to use lip liner to create the shape, and then using a precise, concealer brush to very carefully apply outside to really give a crisp lip line. Use a fluffy eye brush to blend the edges of the highlights with the foundation.


If you aren’t planning on wearing eye shadow and the like, use a tapered crease brush to lightly apply the contour shade and following the natural curve of your eye to create more depth. With the same brush, apply thin lines of contour down the sides of the nose, and then lightly swish the brush in small, tight strokes to blend the contour shade with the highlight and foundation shades. When it comes to noses, we all have our preferences, and you may be angling for a narrower or wider nose; the narrower and closer the shadow and highlight are together, the narrower the nose will appear.


With a firm, flat, slightly angled brush, apply short strokes of the contour shade along the hair line, temples, and jawline. For the jawline, you typically wouldn’t bring the contour shade all the way to the center of the chin; only along the sides so that the chin doesn’t become so prominent that it juts out. With a lightly fluffy, angled brush, blend the contour shade to transition to the foundation color. It’s important that you blend slowly and with feathery strokes, because you don’t want to blend the contour so well that it disappears or makes a larger area just ever-so-slightly darker.


Lastly, contour cheeks by applying the contour shade underneath the cheekbones. It’s important to use your fingertips to feel for your bone structure, and you want to make sure the contour isn’t too low on the face, so use the structure as your guide and contour right below it. You’ll want to have the contour shade applied from about the ears to half-way to two-thirds down the face. Let your face and natural bone structure be your guide, and you can always soften and blend out if it is too heavy–or add more definition if it is too subtle.

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