Contouring Basics (using Concealers)

Contouring basicsHi, all. AnnaRose here again. I’m sure you all have seen the dramatic Instagram befores and afters of highlighting and contouring with concealers à la Kim Kardashian, and it seems pretty intense and intimidating. I wanted to show you guys a way to contour your face in a similar, but simpler, way.

Contouring with concealers - the essentialsContouring basics using concealers! For this technique you will need three concealers. I love the ones by NYX; they are affordable and come in a great variety of colors. You will need one that is your color, one slightly darker, and one slightly lighter (I usually try to go one or two shades in either direction, but not much more then that). 

Contouring basics using concealers! 1. Apply your base as you usually do (this could be tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or a light foundation).

Contouring basics using concealers! 2. Conceal any problem areas, like dark circles or blemishes. 

Contouring basics using concealers! Contouring basics using concealers! 3. Find your cheekbone with your fingers, and apply three dots of the darker shade directly underneath. Do NOT make the fish face to find them; this will result in improper placement of the product (too low and too close to your mouth; this is a good rule of thumb no matter what contouring product you’re using). You can also dot it along your jawline and the top of your forehead for more sculpting. These places aren’t needed on everyone but if you feel like you want to define your jawline or make your forehead appear a little smaller, this is a great trick for that! 

Contouring basics using concealers! 4. Blend!! You can use your fingers or a brush; just blend, blend, blend!  

Contouring basics using concealers! Contouring basics using concealers! 5. Dot the highlight color onto cheekbones, inner corners of eyes, bridge of nose, and cupid’s bow. 

Contouring basics using concealers! Contouring basics using concealers! 6. Blend!! Same as last time; just make sure you clean your fingers or brush off first so that you don’t muddy the colors. 

Contouring basics using concealers! 7. Check in some good light to make sure that everything is smoothly blended, and then set with a translucent powder. 

Contouring basics using concealers! 8. Finish with some blush to warm up the face; this step is the icing on the cake! 

Contouring basics using concealers!
Contouring basics using concealers!Contouring basics using concealers! I hope that broke it down enough for you guys. I love to do this to my face when I know I’m going to be photographed, because it really adds dimension. It does take a little bit of practice to get it down, but it’s really simple once you get the hang of it. Always start light and build from there! Good luck! xo. AnnaRose

Credits// Author: AnnaRose Kern. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. If you use AnnaRosa’s styling tips, feel free to tag her on Instagram or Twitter @theannarose. 
  • great tutorial! i’m pretty fair in skin tone similar to here – do you know which nyx colors were used ?

  • Really great! I’ll never do the fishface again for contouring. I’m absolutely IN LOVE with the result and need to try this.

  • I’ve never before bothered with contouring but this makes it seem lazy-proof. Will definitely be giving it a go!

  • I love how natural and beautiful this contouring looks! I tend to contour with bronzing powder but I think I’ll have to try contouring with concealer now xxx

  • Love this! I’ve been trying this technique, but it always seems so complicated! I’ll have to try with the 3 dots for sure!

  • Great tips I thought you had to buy all sorts of expensive make up for contouring!

  • such a subtle difference, looks amazing. Im going to try this, I generally use powder for my contouring but im going to try doing it with liquid!



  • What colors did you use of NYX? I have similar coloring to you and feel like I never buy the right shades to contour.

  • Oh I’ll have to try this. I just can’t get contouring down.

    I also love that she’s using affordable products that I can find at my local drug store! 🙂

    x Sara from

  • You look wonderful, before and after!

  • I love simple makeup tricks! I need quick, simple ideas to up my look that I can accomplish before heading in to work and some tutorials on the web look like they would take me hours! Cannot wait to try this!

  • the darker shade doesn’t look “slightly darker”…it looks drastically darker than her natural skin. i’m still scared to try it!

  • Do you recommend doing this on a regular day? Or just for photoshoots? I love it and I’m just wondering if it’s just too heavy on the face. Like some products, such as MAC, their products are too heavy for an everyday use. Anyways, would love an input =)

  • Ah I really don’t like seeing the kim kardashian attempts at contouring… it’s like a mask. This is much more appealing for a natural look. thanks for sharing!

  • Hey! this was an amazing blog post and was really helpful! If you are looking for beauty/fitness/fashion/ advice or are a college student my Youtube Channel Redefining Reality might interest you.

    It covers various topics to college for makeup, chats about life, all the way to general favorites of the month.

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  • this is so silly, but whenever i’ve seen contouring tutorials on pinterest i’ve always wondered what to use — foundation? but concealer is so much less expensive to buy in a few colors. thanks!

  • So pretty and helpful! I may or may not have thought you were supposed to use the fish face when contouring…

  • Great tutorial! I haven’t gotten too into makeup, but this makes me want to start experimenting.

    Warm regards,

  • I love this tutorial! It would have been super helpful this past weekend for my sister’s wedding, but we managed. This is great for another time though!


  • Going to have to give this a try! Thanks doll!

    xxx Laura

  • You girls are all so gorgeous, you don’t need to put all that paint on your faces at your age. That stuff is so bad for your young skin!

  • So stoked to try this! NYX is my absolute fave….better make a trip to Ulta!

  • I feel like someone just told me I walk out of the house with toilet paper on my shoe… every. day.

    I’m totally going to do this.

  • This steps look easy, and affordable too…can’t wait to try!


  • Great tutorial! I have similar coloring to model in this post. Can you please tell me what NYX shades you used to contour? Thanks!

  • This is great and looks pretty easy! every other tutorial i’ve seen looks too caked with makeup!

  • What a great tutorial! I wonder if you could talk about the advantages of contouring with concealer vs. powder bronzer and highlighter?

  • This is SO great. Such a great step-by-step. And you look lovely!! Before AND After! 🙂

  • Laura is truly beautiful with or without makeup! 🙂 Thanks for those tips AnnaRose!!!! This type of contouring looks sok natural and great!

  • Thanks for the tip! I may have to go check out the NYX concealers, I love that brand!


  • Oh the power of makeup! I love contouring! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • Wow you make it look so easy. I’ve been trying to do this for so long but all the other how tos never actually tell you what to do. They just assume you can. I will be trying this as soon as I can.

  • thank you so much for this tutorial! I am basically clueless and this helped a lot! 🙂

  • This is extremely helpful! Thanks for a great tutorial, I always wondered how to correctly contour!

  • You posted this at the most perfect time! I’ve been very curious as to how to do this correctly! Thanks soooo much for sharing!

  • Thanks for the easy to follow instructions! I’ve tried contouring with concealers before…and now I want to try those nyx concealers 😉

  • makeup is such art, it’s kind of crazy. i really need to learn how to do all this stuff, makes a gal look so polished (although i’m also a huge huge HUGE fan of the bare face).

  • Thank you for sharing such a helpful makeup tutorial. Would you mind sharing specifically what shades/colors you used for the concealer, highlighter and blush?

    Thank you kindly.

  • I have tried this before but now I realise I was using far too much (especially of the darker color). I will have to try with dots!

  • Such an easy guide to follow! Can’t wait to try this simple technique. Thank you!


  • I was just thinking about this process this morning when I was putting my makeup on before work. This is AWESOME! It made it look so easy! I can’t wait to try.

  • This looks like real life photoshop! Amazing


    Check out my new post:

  • Ah, this is super pretty! Here’s hoping I can find something lighter though as I’m super pale, otherwise I’ll just use my regular highlighter if not. Thanks for this!

  • I love this!
    It looks so natural yet pretty!

  • I love contouring also! I usually do it with foundation, but I’ll have to give concealer a shot.

  • you look gorgeous! and I actually really needed this..I am always a little unsure about my placement so it was so good to have you clarify! thanks for sharing!

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  • This really does look very natural. I would love to know about the rest of Laura’s makeup, the blush and lip color are so pretty!

  • loooove this! And thank you for recommending products that are wallet friendly 🙂 especially if we need three shades of concealer haha.

  • Beautiful! So subtle, yet striking. Most of the tutorials out there are a little intense and intimidating, but your technique is great!

    Question! What real techniques brush did you use for the concealer?

  • I’ve been wanting to try contouring, but never knew where to start. This is great; thanks!

  • Thanks for the tutorial! Laura-you have amazing natural beauty! Gorgeous without and with makeup!

  • Love this! Thank you for making the photos so easy to follow. I’ve watched video tutorials before, but they always lose me when it comes to how much of each color to put on. This is great!

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