How To Contour & What Is Makeup Contouring: Tutorial

What is contouring? Discover what makeup contouring is and how to contour with Charlotte Tilbury's top tips and video tutorial for contouring made easy.

Create a flawless-looking, sculpted complexion with contouring. With this guide, discover what contouring is, how to contour, the contouring essentials and further guides that will enhance your contouring knowledge!

How to Contour and What is Contouring?

What is Contouring?

Makeup contouring has been a huge trend for the last several years in beauty, but as Charlotte says “it’s the secret silver-screen sirens have kept to themselves for years!"

Contouring and playing with light and shadow can help reshape, resize, enhance and define the look of your facial framework. In theory, anywhere you apply a lighter, brighter product will stand out and appear more prominent, and anywhere you apply a shadow or darker shade of contour will give you more depth and definition.

Knowing how to correctly contour your face is key to any makeup MAGIC look, as contouring too severely, or in areas that don’t need it, can actually have the opposite effect of what you’re looking to achieve. For example, if you were to contour too heavily on someone with an oblong face shape and already high cheekbones, it could make the face look too sunken-in, aged or too gaunt.


Whether you're using powder or liquid contour products, follow Charlotte's 2 MAGIC Tilbury Tips for perfect contouring:

  1. Apply your sculpting shade to the hollows of your cheeks, the temples, the jaw line, sides and tip of your nose. Never forget to blend, blend, blend!
  2. Apply the Highlighting shade on top of the cheekbones, down the centre of the nose, the lip’s cupid bow and your brow bone for candle-lit skin!

Discover step-by-step tutorials to discover how to contour below!

How To Use Liquid Contour

  1. Illustrated face showing cheek placement of contour makeup.

    Step 1: Sweep through the hollows of the cheekbones

    To use Charlotte’s Hollywood Contour Wands, start by sucking in your cheekbones & sweeping the sponge applicator on the hollows in a horizontal line towards your hairline.

  2. Illustrated face showing contour makeup placement down sides of nose, jawline, temples and under cheekbones.

    Step 2: Make stripes down your nose and along your jawline and forehead

    Apply in vertical stripes on the sides of your nose & loop underneath, then apply on the sides of your forehead, temples & jawline.

  3. A double-ended face brush for contouring, applying foundation, blush, and bronzer, with the handle in black and gold colour and the synthetic bristles in grey-blonde and black colours.

    Step 3: Buff & Blend

    Finish by applying on the eye crease to fake a deeper socket, then use the Hollywood Complexion Brush to buff & blend it all in for a seamless finish.


  1. Open cream and powder bronzer compacts with mirrored lids in light brown, medium brown, dark brown, and black-brown shades with gold-coloured bodies and lids.


    Contouring with bronzer, or 'brontouring', is a magical way to make your bronzer a multi-use product, so you can sculpt the look of your face while adding bronzed warmth to your complexion! Choose your normal shade of Charlotte's powder bronzer, Airbrush Bronzer or cream bronzer, Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer, for a gorgeous subtle contour that seamlessly works in harmony with your bronzer-application, or choose 1 shade deeper for more defined, sculpted look.

    Read more on how to find your perfect bronzer shade

  2. Bella Tilbury with glowy bronzed skin and soft-glam pink makeup holding a closed cream bronzer compact.


    Once you've selected your bronzer and bronzer shade, it's time to contour with bronzer! Simply apply your bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks, temples and jawline.

    Tilbury Tip: For more precise application, Charlotte's Powder & Sculpt brush, followed by Charlotte's Beautiful Skin Bronzing Brush or The Air Brush to blend, blend, blend!

    Read Charlotte's guide to contour vs bronzer

    Discover Charlotte's how to apply bronzer tutorial

How To Contour With Powder

  1. Film Star Bronze and Glow features a sculpting shade that works as an effortless powder contour

    Step 1: Sculpt

    Apply the ‘Sculpt’ shade of the Filmstar Bronze & Glow to the areas you want to define using Charlotte's Powder & Sculpt Brush: the hollows of your cheeks, the temples, jaw line, the sides and tip of your nose. Never forget to blend-blend-blend!

  2. Highlighter powder shade from filmstar bronze and glow swatch

    Step 2: Highlight

    Apply the ‘Highlight’ shade on top of your cheekbones, down the centre of your nose, your lip’s cupid bow and the brow bone for a candlelit complexion.

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Author Details

Charlotte Tilbury

Founder, President, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty

With over 30 years experience, Charlotte Tilbury MBE is the world's number 1 makeup artist and British beauty entrepreneur. Charlotte established Charlotte Tilbury Beauty in 2013, which is now a record-breaking beauty brand that has won over 400 awards.