Here's How You Should Contour to Flatter Your Face Shape

Here's How You Should Contour to Flatter Your Face Shape
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Ever try out a seemingly genius contouring technique from YouTube or Pinterest, only to find that the method doesn't exactly flatter your face shape? Unsurprisingly, the needs of a round face are much different than those of its longer counterparts, so we asked makeup artist Julianne Kaye to break down the correct way to flatter your specific shape. "The whole point of contouring is to cheat something—if you have a round face, you want to make it more angular, and if you have an angular face, you want to cheat a rounder shape that isn't as long," says the pro, who has worked with stars like Kate Hudson and Emily Ratajkowski, and has partnered with Acuvue to front their 1-Day Acuvue Define lenses. "It's all smoke and mirrors!" she says.

In general, less is more when it comes to your technique. In lieu of an entire palette of neutrals, Kaye typically uses a bronzer to contour her clients, and loves Chanel's Tan de Soleil ($48; chanel.com). "You don't need to mess around with five different colors on your face, because to me, that just looks like a lot of makeup," she says. "Choose something about two shades darker than your skin tone, and keep it simple." Read on to get her expert advice on how you can put your best face forward—sans 12 varying concealers and cream bronzers.

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If You Have a Heart-Shaped Face

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"When I think of heart-shaped faces, I think of Marilyn Monroe," says Kaye. "Marilyn played up her shape, but if you have a wider situation at the top, contour the forehead and temple to bring it down a little bit." Follow Kerry Washington's lead by using a small amount to play up your cheekbones, and keep the center of the face illuminated. "Strobing is also really popular right now, and is a more subtle way to contour if you have a heart-shaped face and want to highlight the nose and forehead instead of using dark colors to shade," Kaye adds.

If You Have a Square Face

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Those with square shapes like Sofia Vergara's should focus on softening any hard angles in order to give off an oval-like appearance. Kaye advises contouring the outer edges of your face, blending along the hairline, temples, and jawline, then chiseling out the hollows of the cheeks. "For this shape, you want to focus on the outer perimeter so you can bring a circular angle to the face," she says. "If you have a square jaw, you want to round it out."

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If You Have an Oval Face

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Depending on how angular your face is, oval shapes like Beyoncé's can appear longer if you go too hard with the shading powder. Kaye recommends applying a bright creme blush onto the apples of your cheeks to create a fuller, wider appearance. "I would actually stay away from anything too contour-y because chances are, if you have an oval face, you have a longer nose, so you can do different things there if needed, or apply a little bronzer to shorten the forehead," she advises.

If You Have a Round Face

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In general, most of the contouring methods in your YouTube viewing history will apply to a round face shape like Selena Gomez's. "When you have a round face, you want to make it more angular, so this would be a more traditional contouring technique where you emphasize the cheeks and slim the rest of the face down," says Kaye. "Heavily contour into the hollows of your cheeks, then pop a highlighter onto the actual cheekbone." Follow by sweeping your brush around the perimeter to square off your jaw, and make sure to blend a small amount of bronzer over areas where the sun would naturally hit your face.

If You Have a Long Face

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Just like the rules applicable for oval-shaped faces, those with long faces like Liv Tyler's should also focus more on creating a wider appearance. "If you want to contour your cheeks, I wouldn't bring the hollow effect all the way down," Kaye advises. "Keep it a little toward the ear, then pop the cheek and use a creme blush to give off a rounder look."

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