- Contouring uses light and dark makeup to highlight or minimize facial features
- With this makeup technique, you can make your nose appear slimmer, pointier, wider or shorter
- You can contour with foundation, concealer or products specifically meant for contouring
Contouring is a technique that uses the illusion of light and dark to change the appearance of your facial features and create a sculpted look. If you’re dissatisfied with the size or shape of your nose, contouring your nose can help you improve its appearance.
What Is Contouring?
Contouring is a technique that uses two makeup products to enhance the structure of your face. One product is a shade darker than your natural skin tone that is applied to areas you’d like to minimize; the other is a lighter shade for areas you’d like to emphasize.
Together, the elements of light and dark add dimension to your overall look.
Step-by-Step Guide to Contouring Your Nose for Beginners
Regardless of the look you’re trying to achieve, the basic steps of nose contouring are the same – although you don’t necessarily need to do all of them.
- Prepare your skin with a primer suited to your skin type
- Apply two thin vertical lines of the darker shade along the bridge of your nose
- Apply the lighter shade to the tip and/or center of the nose
- Contour your nostrils, if desired
- Smooth out harsh lines by blending with a makeup brush or sponge
- Set with translucent powder or a setting spray
By customizing these steps, you can alter the shape of your nose however you choose. Any area you darken will appear smaller; any area you highlight will be emphasized. To ensure a natural look, blend out products with a contour brush or your fingers to avoid harsh lines.
The more you practice, the more contouring tricks and hacks you’ll discover.
How to properly contour your nose to look smaller
First, apply two vertical lines of your lighter shade down the sides of your nose. Then, draw two thin vertical lines of a darker shade between them to create the impression of a narrower bridge. Highlight the center and blend out.
If you have a long nose, don’t highlight the lower half-inch or the tip. If you have wide nostrils, extend the dark vertical lines all the way to the end of your nose and highlight the tip.
To create even more definition, apply a matte highlighting shade on either side of the contour lines and to the undereye area.
How to contour a nose bump
To minimize a bump on the bridge of your nose, apply your lighter shade above it – usually between the eyebrows. You can also apply a small amount of the darker shade on the bump itself.
If the bump makes your nose appear crooked, apply the darker shade to the side you’d like minimized and highlight the center of the nose.
How to contour your nose to look shorter
Contour the underside of your nose (between the nostrils) and highlight the bridge. This technique draws attention to the upper part of your nose and minimizes the lower portion.
How to contour your nose to look upturned
To create the illusion of an upturned nose, apply a horizontal line of contour above the tip of your nose, vertical lines to both sides of the upper portion of your nose and a small amount below the tip. Blend everything out. Lastly, highlight the tip of the nose to create an upturned look.
Best Products for Contouring Your Nose
You can use foundation or concealer in different formulations, or products specifically labeled as contour products, however other types of makeup such as eyeliner can work just as well.
There are a few basic rules to consider when selecting your products.
For your darker shade, choose a product that is:
- Two to three shades darker than your natural skin tone
- Cool or neutral
Products with shimmer (such as bronzers) will reflect light instead of creating a shadow. Warm contour tones won’t create the proper shadow effect and may look orange.
For your highlighting shade, you have more choice. A matte product only a few shades lighter than your skin will create a subtle effect, while a much lighter, shimmery or sparkling product will reflect more light and create a more dramatic look.
Powder foundation or concealer is a good solution if you want a matte finish or have oily skin. Contour powder can be applied with a small brush or your fingers.
Many beauty brands offer powder cosmetic palettes specifically designed for contouring. They contain a variety of shades to suit different skin tones, taking the guesswork out of choosing the right one.
Powder eyeshadows contour kits can also be used, although they typically contain a limited choice of colors.
One downside to using powder is that it doesn’t remain very long on the skin and has the tendency to crease. Avoid this problem by using a setting spray over your contour powder.
Liquid foundation or concealer can also be used to contour your nose. They can be found in a bottle, squeezable tube or tube with a wand applicator. You could also use a liquid eyeliner.
Liquid products offer a more dewy, natural look and generally last longer than powder. They’re also more appropriate for people with dry skin because these formulas add moisture and sit better on dry skin than powder does. To increase the wear time, set with translucent powder.
Cream foundations and concealers are becoming increasingly popular as easy-to-use contour options. Creams are typically available in a twist-up tube (similar to a lipstick), which can be applied directly to the skin or by using a brush, and in cosmetic palettes. In a pinch, you could use a creamy eyeliner.
Regardless of the makeup product you choose, cream contour should be set with setting powder to last as long as possible.
Contouring involves using a darker shade of makeup to minimize certain facial features and a lighter shade to accentuate others. By contouring the sides, tip and bridge of your nose, you can make it appear shorter, thinner or more upturned.
Use foundation or concealer in powder, liquid or cream formulations, and be sure to set the makeup with a setting spray or translucent powder.
For best results, choose cool- or neutral-toned products in contour shades two to three levels darker and lighter than your natural skin tone. Your darker shade should be matte; highlighters may be matte or shimmery.