Rhinoplasty is one of the top five most common plastic surgery procedures performed each year, but the good news is you don’t always have to go under the knife in order reshape your features. When you contour your nose, it’s possible to effectively create the illusion of a completely different shape. Discover what products to use, understand why it works and learn how to contour your nose below.
What is Contouring?
Contouring is the art of subtlety defining your features using makeup. By using light and dark shades, you can enhance, define and even re-shape your features.
Using Makeup to Create the Illusion of a New Nose
What You’ll Need:
Within the past few years, contouring has taken the makeup community by storm, and there is no shortage of products designed to help you reach your goals.
Color is Important
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when contouring is using too warm of a shade for their skintone. If your skintone is pale to medium, you’ll want to reach for a matte, cool toned contour. Look for beige, taupe and greyish tones. If you have tan to deep skin, cool tones also work for you, but warmer shades can look great as well.
Cream vs. Powder
If you’re just learning how to contour, I recommend starting out with a contour powder instead of cream because it’s more forgiving. If you make a mistake, you can blend it away. In my kit, I find myself reaching for powder more often than cream because I find it gives more subtle results.
If you want the heavily contoured Instagram look, or if you are more advanced at makeup, try a cream. I use creams when I need to really sculpt out features.
Products I Recommend
My holy grail contour product is Kevyn Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder. I have used this in my kit for years and I reach for it in 85% of situations. The colors are perfect for contouring and they carry three shades for all skintones: light, medium and dark. [review HERE].
I also have recently started using Kat Von D’s Shade and Light kit for powder highlighting and I’m loving it.
When I need a cream contour, I usually reach for Tom Ford’s Shade and Illuminate , especially on tan, deeper skin tones. He carries two shades, Intensity One and Intensity Two and they apply and blend beautifully.
I also love Senna Cosmetics Face Sculpting Kit. Makeup Artist Eugenia Weston created this product for the makeup department on Desperate Housewives. The colors are fantastic and super pigmented. I also like this product because the cream is not too emollient and it’s easy to control.
You Don’t Need Expensive Contour Kits
You do not need a specific contour kit in order to get the results you want. 5 years ago there were hardly any contouring products on the market but makeup artists have been utilizing this trick for decades. Grab a shade of foundation 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone, or use a taupe eyeshadow. NYX’s Over the Taupe or S.O.S eyeshadows are good colors. Just please, for the love of God.. skip the bronzer if you are any shade lighter than tan. Orange contour is unnatural and looks ridiculous.
Highlighter attracts and mimics light by giving the illusion of higher, brighter features.. and it can enhance your contouring results ten fold. Just like with contouring products, you have a endless options when it comes to highlighters.
Liquid vs Powder
Liquid highlighters are going to give your skin a dewey, more natural looking finish. I prefer using them much more than powder because it makes the skin look like it’s glowing from within. Liquid highlighter on dry skin gives amazing results and will give life to your skin. If you’re more on the oily side, you might find that liquid highlighter to slips around too much.
Powder highlighter is arguably the most popular formula in consumer makeup, especially when it comes to contouring your nose. Powder will give you a much stronger and dramatic highlight, especially when layered. This formula is better for those with oily skin.
I tend to associate powder highlighter more with Instagram looks, and liquid highlighter with red carpet. Both formulas can yield beautiful results when applied correctly and it just depends on the look you’re going for.
Products I Recommend
My go-to liquid highlighter is Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheers. They make your skin look so glowy and fresh. You can also mix them with foundation for an even more natural highlight. For a less expensive option, try NYX Liquid Illumination.
For powder highlight, I like NARS Albatross [review HERE] and Kevyn Aucoin’s Celestial Powder for a natural look. If you want serious glare, check out Anastasia Beverly Hills’ highlighters for more of a dramatic glow.
When learning how to contour your nose, the brushes you use will have a significant impact on your results. A small blending brush such as the MAC 217 will give you precision when contouring and highlighting. Angled brushes and small oval brushes, like Artis, also work well. For applying both powder and liquid highlighter, I love Cozzette’s Mini Eye Blender brush. Cozzette brushes are synthetic so they can be used for liquid or powder products [review HERE].
I always use a damp Beauty Blender to blend out harsh lines. I also like to tap liquid highlight onto the nose with it for a really natural looking highlight.
How To Contour Your Nose
Apply your foundation before any contouring
Using your contour product, draw a thin line down each side of your nose. Start with a light hand, it’s easier to build product than to take it away. Check out the diagram below to get an idea about where to place your lines. Again, every nose is different and contour placement will always depend on the shape of your nose, as well as the shape you’re looking to create.. The closer together you place your contour lines, the slimmer your nose will appear.
Use these guides to understand how to contour for different nose types:
How to Contour a Wide Nose
If your nose is consistently wide from the bottom to the top, you will carry your contour lines to the bridge of the nose. Blend them up into the outer ridge of your eye socket for a seamless transition.
How to Contour Wide Nostrils
If you have wide nostrils, bring your contour lines down and onto the front of your nostrils.
How to Contour a Bulbous Nose Tip
If the bottom of your nose is wide or bulbous, draw a “down-facing arrow” once you begin to reach the tip. This will create the illusion of a more narrow tip.
Clean off your brush, or grab a new one. It’s time to highlight.
Contouring is the most important step to reshaping your nose and highlighting enhances the results. These next steps are optional, but you will see more dramatic results if you use them.
With your highlighter, apply a narrow line down the very center of your nose.
For those with bulbous or wide nose tips: Only take your highlight half-way down and stop before the tip of your nose starts. If you highlight the the tip of your nose, you will only make it look wider and more bulbous as you are bringing light to that area.
Take a clean, fluffy brush or a Beauty Blender and buff out your lines. Do not blend the contour lines into the highlight or it will look muddy. Blend, blend, blend, you want it to appear natural.