Contour Makeup

Highlight, sharpen and sculpt your face like a professional with our contour palettes.

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Contour Makeup FAQs

What is contour makeup used for?

Contouring is a constantly trending and evolving makeup technique that can do so much! It adds dimension, defines, sculpts, and enhances facial features. It is usually done using a darker shade than your foundation or concealer to create the effect of shadow and define your facial features.

What is your best makeup for contouring?

At e.l.f we have specifically designed palettes, and our concealers can also work great for contouring and are always cruelty free!

Our Contour Palette contains 4 different shades of medium coverage contour powders with a satin finish that are designed to sculpt, shade, and brighten your complexion. This amazing makeup palette will give you everything you need to create endless dimension in all shade ranges.

Our Cream Contour Palette is great if your skin is on the dryer side, or if you simply prefer to contour and highlight with a cream product. It comes with 4 creamy blendable contour shades designed to highlight, sharpen, and sculpt.

Our 16 Hour Camo Concealer is also great to use if you want more of a full coverage concealer with a matte finish, and our hydrating concealer is perfect if you prefer a little less coverage with a more satin finish. To contour using either of these concealer formulas, just pick a shade that is about 2-4 shades darker than your skin tone.

Do you contour before or after foundation?

We definitely recommend contouring after foundation. Foundation will help create an even base for your skin tone and allow your contour products to blend beautifully into the skin to create seamless dimension. If you feel like you might have gone a bit overboard with your contour, have no fear! You can gently buff a little bit of foundation over it to soften.

Is bronzer and contour the same thing?

Bronzer and contour are not exactly the same thing, but they can be used interchangeably. Bronzers are meant to give a sun-kissed look to your complexion. You can use bronzer as contour, since bronzers are meant to be darker than your actual skin tone so they can be used in the exact same way you would use contour. This will give you definition, and a little suntanned look all at the same time.

How to Contour Your Face With Makeup

First, create the perfect canvas by applying foundation all over your face, concealer under your eyes, and lightly set everything with a sheer setting powder.


  1. Using the Angled Blush Brush and a shade from the Contour Palette that is deeper than your skin tone, apply the powder underneath your cheek bone starting at the temple, and working your way down.
    PRO TIP: Smile to find the apples of your cheeks, and apply contour under that so it hugs your cheeks.
  2. Lightly brush the contour powder up the temple, and along the side of the forehead, as well as on the jawline. The shape in which you are looking to apply is somewhat like a backwards 3 on each side.
  3. If you want to contour your nose, use a Fluffy Eye Blender Brush to softly buff a line of powder down each side, leaving the middle open.


  1. Apply a line of contour under the cheekbone from the temple down (about half way), and softly buff using the Angled Buffing Brush or Sculpting Face Brush.
  2. For the temples, forehead, and jawline, lightly dot the product on and buff in using the Putty & Cream Blush Brush or the Ultimate Blending Brush.
  3. If you want, you can set with powder, making sure the powder is not lighter than the product you used to contour.


  • Highlight the top of the cheekbone, center of the nose, and cupid’s bow using a highlighter, powder, or concealer that is 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone.
  • Apply blush just to the apples of the cheeks and blend it a little bit up towards the temple.