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makeup artist trick: work with your face shape to make the most of your looks

photo source

ever wonder how professional makeup artists create such a startling contrast in a celebrity’s appearance just by using makeup? the key is to properly highlight and contour the face using face shape & bone structure as the guide. it’s not so much about which products you use, a skilled makeup artist can achieve great results using drugstore or high-end cosmetics, but HOW you’re using them that truly makes all the difference. I’m going to share a few tips on how to bring out the best aspects of your bone structure with simple makeup tricks…

makeup rule of thumb to remember for this post:

  • lighter objects draw forward
  • darker objects recede

Round Face:

  • Contour your temples, cheeks & jawline to create the illusion of an oval.
  • Highlight your forehead, under your eyes & your chin to draw attention to the center of your face.

to make a face look less rounded, accentuate the hollows of the cheekbones. highlight above cheekbones using your foundation. then lightly dust bronzing powder underneath. slick on a lipstick that is slightly darker than your lips to add more light to the center of your face.

example of a round face:

Gennifer Goodwin

photo source

Oval Face:

oval is considered the ideal face shape due to its balance and symmetry, so if you fall into this category, contour is not needed. you can experiment with most makeup trends without error.

If your face is oval, highlight your bone structure, paying special attention to your cheekbones. work with your regular shade (or a shade slightly lighter) of foundation and bronzer. blend the foundation just above your cheekbones and apply a bit of the bronzer to your forehead and directly under cheekbones for a sun-kissed glow.

example of an oval face:

Jessica Alba

photo source 

Heart-Shaped Face:

  • Contour at the temples and cheeks to diminish the width of your upper face.
  • Highlight your forehead, under your eyes and your chin to draw attention to the center of your face.

blend bronzing cream or powder around the jawline at the chin, to make the area appear to recede. then apply it under cheek bones to reduce fullness at the cheeks.

quick story: one day, at beauty school, we had to take turns sitting in front of the class while everyone stared, sizing up features to guess our face shape. we hadn’t yet delved too far into makeup theory so there was a bit of guessing going on. when it was my turn in the ‘hot seat’, I was overly confident about knowing my face shape, so when my instructor asked me what it was, I said “square” without hesitation. she looked at me with a challenging smirk and said, “nope”. I balked, insisting I’d been well aware of my face shape since my teens. she decided to have a classmate (an obvious square) sit next to me so the girls could see the difference. everyone agreed that I wasn’t square, stating the difference was obvious. my instructor then said my face shape is definitely a heart. I told her maybe it seems that way because I’ve gained weight since my teens/20′s but she insisted weight gain doesn’t alter the natural shape of the face. hmmph. I insisted on bringing pics to support my point, but once I got home, determined to find such pics, I was surprised at what I found. her theory started to make sense to me as I looked over my old pictures and then at myself in the mirror. she was right, I’m a heart shape. suddenly, my jawline didn’t appear as strong and I could see the tapered chin. I was shocked and returned to class the next day, ready for my plate of piping hot crow. I must say, the dessert of learning something new lessened the bitter taste. :smile:

example of a heart-shaped face:

Keri Hilson

photo source

Square Face:

  • Contour the corners of your forehead & lower jaw blending up to the bottom of your ear.
  • Highlight the center of your forehead, under your eyes & chin to draw attention to the center of your face.
you want to soften your jaw. dust bronzing powder across the entire jawline, then dust with loose powder. the slight darkness this creates will make the area appear to recede. personally, I find the square-shaped face the most striking as long as the jaw doesn’t appear too strong.
example of a square face:

Demi Moore

photo source 
Diamond Face:
  • Contour at the cheeks to minimize width.
  • Highlight your forehead, under your eyes & your chin to draw attention to the center of your face.
apply a slightly lighter shade of foundation at your temples and jawline to make them appear broader. apply blush to the apple (ball) of your cheek, no lower than the bottom of your nose, and blend towards the center of your ear.
example of a diamond face:

Scarlett Johansson

photo source
Oblong Face:
  • Contour across the lower section of your chin to shorten your face length.
  • Highlight the apples of your cheek to widen your face.

for an oblong face, contour the sides of the jaw, temples and hairline with bronzer to minimize a prominent forehead. highlight the chin and cheekbones. extending the eyebrows outward toward your temples also will soften the angular features. brow powder tends to create a far softer brow line than pencil.

example of an oblong face:

Kelly Rowland

photo source

Here’s two online resources for finding your face shape:

How to find your face shape

Finding your face shape 

next time I’ll offer color suggestions for highlighting various skin tones.

so, what do you think about this post….do you know your face shape? If so, what tips or tricks do use to contour & highlight your bone structure?

5 comments on “makeup artist trick: work with your face shape to make the most of your looks

  1. pearlessence
    February 28, 2012

    I don’t know my own face shape – I think it’s round? Hate having a round face lol >__< it's so unflattering

    • suite7beautytalk
      February 28, 2012

      You have a great face shape, by looking at your pic I’m thinking round or maybe heart. I’ve updated this post with two resources for determining your face shape..check em’ out!

      • pearlessence
        February 28, 2012

        Thanks! From the quiz I think it’s either diamond or heart. I should ask a professional!

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