Beauty Tips and Tricks

How To Contour Your Nose : Everything You Need to Know

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.

How to Contour : Products to Use

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.

How to Contour your Nose

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.

Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder : Contour Your Nose

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.

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate

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.

Anastasia So Hollywood Illuminator

 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.

Armani Fluid Sheer : How to Contour and Highlight your Nose

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].

Docolor #3 Oval Brush

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

How to Contour Your Nose

Step 1

Apply your foundation before any contouring

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.


How to Contour Your Nose : A Step by Step Guide

Leave any questions in the comments!

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  • Reply Nie Attunaga March 1, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    nose right great tool for make nose smaller without any surgery and make just only try to wear nose right tool.

  • Reply Barbaraa March 22, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Great and complete guide….thanks. I’ve had surgery, however my nose was left too wide above the nostrils, center nose. I’m aware of what has to be slimmed, but part has to be blended on sides working into part of face closest nose. I have fair skin, so I bought a darker foundation, Cover Girl, Tawny Fauve, kind of bronzy which I don’t like blending on side of nose for fear of contrast with my fair skin. Is there a drugstore product that you can suggest that has stay on power? Needless to say that after the expense and pain of the surgery that I have to resort to this, so any help will be appreciated. Thanks again, Barbara Please do not post my email

    • Reply Lindsey March 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Barbara, For contouring I prefer to use shades that are a little more grey than bronze, especially if you’re fair. Like I said in the article, the most natural contour looks like a shadow, not a bronze stripe. Is the CoverGirl foundation you bought a cream, liquid or powder? Try checking out NYX’s taupe blush.L’Oreal also has a pretty good contour color in their infallible pro contour kit. Hope this helps! Keep me posted on how this works for you.

  • Reply Dina October 25, 2016 at 12:01 am

    I’ve tried the v-shape for bulbous + pointed tip but nothing works. Always looks worse after shadowing in any way. Tip looks too pointed and large no matter what.

    • Reply Lia marin January 16, 2017 at 7:59 am

      I agree my nose looks terrible after few hours when make up start wearing out. For a while I used the Nosesecret nose enhancer, I saw it forthe first time on Michele Phan blog. I use them consistenly for around 3 years and notice that my nose had imporved now I use it on and off but I still think it is a great alternative. The only downside is that I was always affraid of breathing in plastic but the NoseSecret seems to be a legit company from the US so they are the only brand I trust.

  • Reply Shawn Michaels January 16, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Wow! such an amazing tips for girls. My wife will definitely going to love this post. She only knows the v shape contouring but here are some more ideas and shapes given. I like your post quite much. Thanks for your guidance.

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