A Professional Makeup Artist Tells Us How To Apply Makeup Based On Your Face Shape

In order to show off and highlight your best features with makeup, it’s important to determine which face shape you have, first and foremost. Whether you have high cheekbones and want to emphasize them even more or your goal is to showcase your epic jawline, we’ve got you covered! We reached out to a professional makeup artist and expert for helpful tips and hacks for contouring each face shape, as well as product type suggestions to get you started. Read on for insight from professional makeup artist Mary Winkenwerder.

How To Contour Your Face Shape

@gracemchoi How to find your face shape! New filter and series on how to find your face shape as well as makeup and hairstyles guides for each face shape. #faceshape #faceshapefilter #faceshape #faceshapeanalysis #beauty ♬ original sound – gracemchoi

Step 1. Determine Your Face Shape

Before applying any makeup to your face, Winkenwerder advises taking a look at your bone structure and determining which shape it resembles most (a pro makeup artist consultation can also help with this). “There are several popular face shapes recognized in today’s appearance culture,” she explains, listing the following, “oval/ 0blong, square/ rectangle, round, heart, diamond, triangle/ heptagon.” While other artists will note that there are more or less than this as many of their traits overlap, understanding the characteristics that coincide with each shape (high or low cheekbones, square or rounded jaw, etc) is most important for your contouring.

“While we don’t have control over our original genetics, we do have some control over how we work with them to achieve our best personal contour appearance,” Winkenwerder says. When we gain or lose weight, she adds, or when we are bloated (at times), the “outer features of our faces change.” As we age throughout life, she notes that sometimes the shape of our face evolves naturally. “Knowing how to work around these temporary situations places you in control of your appearance all the time,” she stresses.


An oval or oblong face shape (think Alexa Chung or Liv Tyler) looks even as far as distance from forehead to eyebrow and lip to chin. This type of shape will also look longer as opposed to wider. A square or rectangle shape (Olivia Wilde is one example) will have a more angular jaw, wider cheekbones and forehead. A heart (Reese Witherspoon comes to mind) will have a narrower chin, high, wide cheekbones and tall forehead. Rounder shapes (Selena Gomez) will have wider cheekbones and a wider chin with soft features.


A diamond face shape (Megan Fox) has a narrow forehead, high cheekbones, and a tapering chin as its main traits. Trianlge/ heptagon shapes (Fergie) usually refer to a wider forehead, wide cheekbones and a more defined jaw. If your face looks like several of these shapes or has similar traits across the board, it’s more important to get to know your facial features and bone structure, Winkenwerder says, and to find a celeb photo that resonates with you. Finding a real-life example that looks similar to yours can also help you pinpoint your face shape.





2. Contour Your Forehead

After realizing how long or short your forehead may be, this the first area of focus for your contouring. Winkenwerder says to find the spot that "starts at one outer eye corner at the natural hairline and extends to the far corner of the other eye." Here, you are to lightly dust the face at the hairline with a "sheer powder foundation or contour stick." Next, she says to "blend seamlessly so there are no stark lines from your skin tone to the area where the makeup is applied." Apply additional makeup as needed over or around your contour lines.


3. Focus On Your Cheekbones

Now, Winkenwerder instructs to "find your natural cheekbone line." This line starts at the far edge of your nose, curves around the natural round of the cheek, and slants upward to the lower ear line. Onto clean skin, she says to "draw a color contour line along your natural cheekbone line that is 2-3 shades darker than your natural skin tone." Next, blend this line downward with light strokes. Inside that line, draw another line against the darker line, the full length of the first line. "Blend this line upward with light strokes," Winkenwerder notes, adding that you should see a "solid contour taking shape." Blend the two lines together gently, making sure they maintain their own color. Like with your forehead, you can always "apply additional makeup as needed over or around your contour lines," she points out.

4. Highlight Your Outer Face Frame

The outer face frame is the "area starting at the lower ear lobe to the lower jawline where the lower face starts to take shape into the full jawline," Winkenwerder says. This is the third main area where you should be contouring. "Onto clean skin, draw a line along your natural outer face frame that is 2-3 shades darker than your natural skin tone," Winkenwerder advises. She then says to "blend this line downward until it is seamless into the skin." Next, "draw another line that is 2 shades lighter along this line, blending upward until the shading is seamless." Lastly, blend the two lines together gently, "making sure they maintain their own color."

Product Type Suggestions

In order to contour effectively, you'll need the right tools, Winkenwerder says, listing "concealers, stick foundations, cream foundations and contouring wands." These should be according to your current skin tone, which you can find by testing swatches on your hand. "These range in 2-3 shades lighter than your present shade and 2-3 shades darker than your present shade," she continues.

It's best, she says, to choose shades that are not too light or dark on your skin tone as these shades "must blend well (as standalone wearable formulas) with your present foundation or BB cream," and appear seamless after blending. "These types of makeup tools adhere very well to the skin," she adds, making them optimal for creating facial contour lines and finishes. In addition, grabbing a "round flat top makeup brush" is vital for blending the "seams" (the places where the color changes meet).

Winkenwerder also notes that "flesh tone or light liquid shimmer highlighter" will be your best friend when contouring. You can apply this to features you "want to visually appear outwardly, like the natural cheekbones, the balls of your cheeks, or the bridge of your nose." Applied under and around the natural eye area, she concludes that a shimmer highlighter makes this area "seem brighter, placing more focus on your face's contouring finish/ art."