You may associate contouring with chiseled cheekbones and a slim face shape, but this makeup trick can also dramatically change the appearance of your nose.
For example, contouring can create the appearance of a more defined nose, a long or shorter nose, and even smaller nostrils. Read on for a step-by-step nose contour tutorial along with tips for common nose types.
What Is Contouring?
Contouring is a makeup trick that fools the eye into seeing depth where it doesn’t naturally occur. Contour uses a darker tone of makeup to create the appearance of shadows on the face. It uses a lighter tone of makeup to draw your eye toward other areas, naturally emphasizing them. Shading areas of your face can sculpt, define features, and create hollows that may not naturally be there.1
How To Contour Your Nose
1. Choose Your Contour Product
To contour your nose, you’ll need two different colors of face makeup. You can pick these up together in a contour palette or purchase them separately. Here’s what you should look for:
- Highlighter: should be one shade lighter than your natural skin tone. You can choose a concealer, matte foundation, or something with a luminous finish.
- Contour: should be two shades darker than your natural skin tone. Look for a cool, rather than warm tone that gives the appearance of a natural shadow.2
2. Decide On The Formula That’s Right For You
Contour makeup generally comes in two formulas: powder or cream contour. You’ll want to choose a contour product that matches the formula you use on your face.
If you need help deciding, you may want to consider your skin type and the overall look you’re going for.
- Cream contour: Cream contour works well for dry skin types and those concerned with fine lines.
- Powder contour: Powder contour is best for oily skin types and those looking for a more natural look.3
3. Gather Your Tools
Any makeup artist will tell you that the secret to a perfectly contoured nose is using the right tools. While you could use your fingers to blend in your contour product, the right set of tools can help give you a more professional look. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Angled small brush – to apply powder or cream contour
- Fan makeup brush – to highlight your nose bridge
- Blending sponge or larger angle brush – to blend cream contour or powder
- Powder brush – to apply setting powder for a finished look
How To Contour Your Nose: Step By Step
- First, apply a base of foundation. This will smooth out your makeup look and help you blend in the contour.
- Draw a thin line down both sides of your nose. To draw your lines, dab your small angled makeup brush in your contour palette. Start at the top of your nose and draw a straight line. The length of these lines will determine how long your nose looks.
- If you’re looking to add length, start at the inner corner of your eyebrows and draw a straight line down both sides of your nose bridge. If you want to shorten the appearance of your nose, start midway up the nose bridge. Continue the contour lines down to the inside of your nostrils.4
- Connect the bottom of the lines underneath the tip of your nose. Starting on one side, continue your line diagonally down to the tip of your nose. Trace that line back up to the other side. A “V” shape will make your nose appear more angular. A “U” shape will round out your nose shape.5
- Blend the contour in with your sponge or brush. Be sure to blend thoroughly for a natural look. You should not be able to see a harsh line anywhere.6
- Add matte highlighter to the bridge of your nose. Apply with a finger, fan brush, or a clean eyeshadow brush. Be sure to blend.
- Optional: apply shimmer highlighter to the tip of your nose. To accentuate the tip of your nose, add just a dab of shimmer.7
- Finish off with a setting powder.
Specific Contouring Tips For Different Results
Depending on the shape you’d like to end up with, you’ll use different nose contouring techniques.
How To Contour Your Nose To Make It Look Smaller
If you’d like your nose to look smaller, follow these tips:
- Draw your parallel lines closer together toward the bridge of your nose.
- Add a small horizontal line of shading just above the tip of your nose to make it appear shorter.
- Swipe a bit of contour color around the curves of your nostrils.8
How To Contour A Narrow Nose
If you want your nose to look wider, follow these tips:
- Draw your contour lines wider than the natural bridge of your nose.
- Fill the space in between with your lighter highlighter shade.9
How To Contour An Aquiline Nose
For an aquiline nose (sometimes called a Roman or hook nose), you may want to downplay the natural bump in the bridge. Follow these tips:
- Depending on where the bump falls on your nose, you may choose to softly contour the outer edges or top of the bump.
- Add highlighter below the bump to even it out.
- Add contour to the very tip of your nose.10,11
How To Contour A Flat Nose
To add more definition to a flat nose, follow these tips:
- Trace the top of your nose tip by drawing an upside-down “U” shape.
- Add highlighting cream in the middle of the “U.”12
How To Contour A Long Nose
To make a long nose appear shorter, follow these tips:
- Place a bit of contour just below the tip of your nose.
- Draw a faint horizontal line just above the tip of your nose.13
How To Contour A Short Nose
To create the illusion of a longer nose, follow these tips:
- Extend your contour lines all the way to the tip of your nose.
- Apply highlighter all the way down to the tip of your nose.
- Extend highlighter all the way up your nose until it is parallel with your brows.14
Have Fun With It
Once you get the hang of contouring, you may be surprised at how easy it is to change your overall look with just a few swipes of makeup. If you want to follow elaborate face maps and use dozens of different products, you certainly can. But you can also make a big difference with just two shades applied with your finger. Have fun, experiment, and remember that you’re beautiful just the way you are.
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