How to Contour Your Nose

Contouring your nose can make a wide nose appear narrower, a long nose appear shorter, or a short nose appear taller — it all depends on the placement. Contouring is also called shading or shadowing, and it’s the process of using a darker color than your skin tone to create “shadows” to transform your features and make them more defined. When I contour my nose, I like making my nose appear a little taller and narrower:

You can use many different products to contour, but I mainly use powder. A brown blush or sculpting powder with a gray undertone (since shadows are gray) that’s two to three shades darker than your skin tone works best.


Before you contour your nose:

  • Apply foundation, if desired.

I usually contour my nose as after I have all my makeup on already. If you contour with a cream-based product though, contour your nose before powdering your face.

Here’s how to do it!

STEP 1

Figure out what type of look you want for your nose to determine the placement of the powder (or cream).

To make a wide nose look narrower, the placement will be similar to the lines shown in this picture. A trick is to take 2 Q-tips and hold one in each hand (using your thumb and pointer finger). Align the Q-tips on either side of the cartilage of your nose, parallel to the middle of your nose. The Q-tips will look like the 2 lines in the picture. Keep in mind where these lines are, because this is where you will be contouring.

To make make a short nose look taller (or to make a flat bridge more defined), follow the curve from your brow bone to the top part of your nose and continue with the placement in the picture on the right.

To make a tall nose look shorter, the placement will be on the curve on the tip of your nose (between your nostrils).

You can also do any combination of these placements, depending on what look you’re going for.

STEP 2

Pick up some powder (that’s about 2 shades darker than your skin tone) on the tip of an angled shading eyeshadow brush. I like using a chiseled double angle brush, because it has a point at the very middle for more precision when it comes to placement. If your placement includes the curve from your brow bone to the top of your nose, begin placing the powder on the inner part of your brow bone, follow the curve, and then go straight down the line determined in Step 1 (like I did in the picture on the right). Where you place the brush initially will have the most amount of product, so you want the darkest part to be near your brow bone. However, if you don’t want to do this, begin your line about where your tear duct is and then brush down the line.

If you’re contouring the tip of your nose to make it look shorter, then apply powder on the curve between your nostrils.

STEP 3

Using the same brush, blend the powder by moving the brush down the sides of your nose, working from the top to the bottom.

If you are contouring the tip of your nose, blend powder down right between your nostrils.

STEP 4

Apply some invisible powder or a translucent powder 1 to 2 shades lighter than your skin tone down your nose. The placement of the powder is shown in the picture on the right. Either buff it in with a kabuki brush (if you have oily skin) or blend it with a fluffy powder brush using a vertical motion down your nose. Continue blending the powder until it’s not visible anymore.

If you contoured the tip of your nose, also apply and blend in some invisible or translucent powder on that area.

You can also get the illusion of a straighter nose by using a lighter powder in Step 5 without having to contour a dark powder on the sides of your nose at all. If you do both though, it will create more contrast and hence a more dramatic change to your nose.

Here are some pictures of me without and with my nose contoured so you can see the difference:

This technique can take some practice to master, but once you get the hang of it, it can make a subtle yet big difference to your look!

31 Comments

LollyAugust 4th, 2010 at 10:18 am

Wycee, I think you look great ‘uncontoured’!

I know lots of people will be really grateful for this post, and I do not wish to criticise Wycee (I think your posts are great) however I urge all readers to be proud of their noses- whether big, small, long, short, aquiline etc.

There are many beautiful women who do not have the magazine-convention idea of a ‘perfect’ nose- we should not all feel the need to fit into the glossy magazine (and, in my opinion, rather boring) idea of what our noses (or indeed any other facial feature) should look like. I am not ‘gifted’ with what would be called a ‘perfect’ nose myself, and spent many years really disliking it, however as I have grown older (though I’m far from ancient, being 28 years old) I have come to accept my nose- it does its’ job (most important factor!) and my face would look out-of-proportion and rather silly if I had a small nose. My husband likes it as it is too! And for my father, it reminds him of his father (my grandfather, whom sadly I have never met as he died young). So noses serve many important functions, let’s not be too down on them if we think they don’t fit our society’s idea of ‘perfect’!

Love and best wishes to Wycee and my fellow Wycee followers out there!

LilyAugust 4th, 2010 at 11:02 am

Well said Lolly! I think Wycee looks great with or without contouring. I know if I tried contouring my nose, I would look like I had a bad nose job, so I would need TONS of practice – lol.

WyceeAugust 4th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Hi Lolly,

You make a great point about loving our features the way they are. I don’t contour my nose everyday – just once in a while whenever I think it will complement the look I’m going for.

One of the biggest things I love about makeup is its ability to transform people – to enhance their features. I have met some people that are self-conscious about certain areas of their face, and I have found that a little powder or concealer can go a long way for some to boost their confidence. I have also met others, such as myself, who like to do it for the effect that it creates – even if they’re perfectly fine with their natural features. Either way, makeup is a safe and fun way to express creativity and art on your face. Anything else is just an added bonus – boosting your confidence, realizing you can get the look you want without any surgical procedures, and so on.

<3 Wycee

DeanneAugust 22nd, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I was wondering if you might have any other tips or tricks for changing your nose shape with makeup. Its hard to describe my nose but I have been blessed with a nose that looks normal but the tip turns downward slightly. Is there anyway to make it look more even using cosmetics?

WyceeAugust 22nd, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Hi Deanne! Try highlighting the tip of your nose that turns downward with a color 1 to 2 shades lighter than your skin tone. Highlighting is great for areas that you want to bring out (vs. contouring for areas that you want to narrow or shorten, since it creates the illusion of depth). :)

LizySeptember 3rd, 2010 at 7:36 pm

I agree, if you feel that a little enhancement of your features makes you feel better, why not. I remember being self concious about my nose. I needed just a small lift to make it just right and I found a simple product that save me money and time. Now I use NoseSecret to make my nose slimmer, in just 30 seconds, for the price of a foundation.

liannaOctober 15th, 2010 at 3:18 am

Awesome. I can’t wait to try this.btw,You look beautiful either way.

WyceeOctober 16th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Aww thank you, Lianna! :)

ArchanaNovember 21st, 2010 at 11:26 am

OMIGOSH!
Aweeesome tutorial on contouring!!!

WyceeNovember 23rd, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Thanks Archana! :)

Kelly ZhuAugust 14th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

You are a life changer. I tried the nose contouring & cheek contouring today. Absolutely what I was looking for! Thank you so much!!!!!!!

WyceeAugust 15th, 2011 at 11:57 am

Hi Kelly! So happy to hear that! :)

PoisonDreamAugust 23rd, 2011 at 2:08 pm

U are fantastic! No words to describe your work! Keep it that way!

WyceeAugust 23rd, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Thanks PoisonDream! :)

KristenAugust 24th, 2011 at 2:46 am

WOW!!! I didn’t even know that you could do that with makeup!!!! Your website is fantastic and after going thru it all I feel I have more confidence on doing my makeup. Not only for going out but on a day to day basis. Now I have to “know how” to have natural looking makeup I am now off to go practise these new skills you have shared. Thank you so much for having something that is easy to read and follow. Top job!!!!!!

Thanks again. Kristen

PS Off to go get my makeup practise on!!!! :D

zoeNovember 27th, 2011 at 12:49 am

Hi you are so pretty. May i ask what brand of contour powder did you use?

WyceeNovember 27th, 2011 at 2:43 am

Hi Zoe! Aww thank you :) I used Benefit Bronzing Powder in “Hoola” to contour.

MykeDecember 9th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Thank you! You made this simple but very clear. I can’t wait to figure out how to do this… I have to be careful cuz I’m a guy. -_-

WyceeDecember 10th, 2011 at 1:04 am

Hi Myke! Practice makes perfect! For your first couple of tries, try drawing the lines (like I did in the picture for Step 2) with your contouring powder very, very lightly. It’s always easier to go over it and make it a bit darker later than it is to remove some/make it lighter. Good luck! :)

MariaDecember 24th, 2011 at 8:16 am

Love this tutorial!!….what translucent powder did you use?

WyceeDecember 27th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Thanks Maria! I used MAC Select Sheer Powder in “NC5″. :)

RachelJanuary 2nd, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Thanks! All the things my mom never taught me about makeup (because she didn’t know how!) all wrapped up into one website. Good stuff :)

WyceeJanuary 3rd, 2012 at 2:21 pm

haha Thanks Rachel! I’m so happy to hear that! :)

YouLoveCheeseMay 14th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Hi, great website. How do I make my nose seem thinner and shorter?? I hate my nose, it is fat and very long. I am very shy, and I feel if my nose looked better it would boost my confidence! :)

xxx :)

aimarJuly 1st, 2012 at 3:30 am

i love love love love your website!!! ive learnt soo many things here…

WyceeJuly 19th, 2012 at 9:54 am

Thanks aimar!!! :)

RachelAugust 4th, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Cool! Ty, my nose is pretty crooked, so I want to try this out! LOL!

WyceeAugust 9th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

LOL Rachel! I remember seeing Tyra Banks say on TV that she has a crooked nose that she likes to contour too. Have fun! :)

Alishba KhanAugust 13th, 2012 at 3:16 am

Hey. I really like your tutorial but the thing is that it doesn’t seem to work on my nose. The shape of my nose is normal and its not really that wide but I have an uneven tone on the side so it makes it look weird and distorted and wide. This happened as I grew up, not when I was little. Now I tried using a stick concealer which was closest to my own skin tone but it some how appeared to be lighter when I applied it in a large quantity. I then bought another concealer which was darker but it still doesn’t work. You can still figure out the darker bits and it doesn’t help. Can you please help me out?

kimberlyDecember 28th, 2012 at 5:04 pm

i finally found the perfect site thank you very much, everything in one place this is toooooo good to be true I’m tickled with joy!!

WyceeJanuary 2nd, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Thanks Kimberly! :)

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