Contouring! I’m hearing you sigh already! Yes, you see it everywhere and this is probably just another blog/post about it. However, when I googled contouring I was surprised that the basics were not explained anywhere.

What you need for nose contouring

Hopefully this post will help you understand contouring a little better. So to begin with, you need two different coloured concealers: one dark and the other light. The dark and light need to be at least three shades lighter or darker than your actual skin colouring. Yet if you want a more defined look then go for a very dark and a very light concealer.

The darker concealer is used to conceal/diminish, whilst the lighter concealer is used to highlight. The word highlight is sometimes confusing as well.  When you highlight a part of your face what you are essentially doing is drawing attention away from the area you are contouring. This is how I understand contouring but others may disagree.

The light concealer should be plain and not have any sparkle in it; these types of concealer with sparkle are light reflecting pigments. Using concealers with light reflecting pigments do not assist with contouring and highlighting for the actual base and structure. However, light reflecting pigments can be used in the ends stages of applying makeup (on the crows feet for example)

When your blending the concealers, blend out the light concealer first, then the dark. It is best to use two brushes, one for the highlighter and one for the dark. When blending with the brushes use small, feathery, rounded strokes.


The best way I could help you understand contouring is by doing a series of over exaggerated contouring looks on my nose using a very dark and very light concealer. It maybe hard to see the light concealer and you may have to zoom in on the pictures; the broad nose picture the highlight is between the eyebrows and down the nose to the bridge, I also highlighted the tip.

I have done 8 photographs, showing various different noses. The noses I have done are only a selection and there are many other different shapes. Some noses do not fall into specific shapes and can be a mixture of shapes. My nose for example is a mix between a triangle and a bulbous, my nostrils are large and the septum hangs down a little. I hide with the darker concealer (the septum and nostrils) and highlighter the smaller areas (top of my nose/area between my eyes).

Examples of contouring

  1. My nose without contouring
  2. Flat Nose; a nose without definition
  3. Round Nose/Bulbous; rounded tip of nose, wide bridge
  4. Broad Nose/Strong Bridge (bridge of nose sinks down, looks shadowed)
  5. Wonky/Crooked Nose: Whatever side is crooked you want to apply a straight line down the side of the nose. On the other side of the nose, where the crooked part points or tilts towards, you want to apply the highlighter
  6. Triangle: The bridge is narrow and the tip is wide
  7. My nose contoured straight on
  8. My nose contoured; side profile

All Nose types

The triangle nose clearly shows how highlighting and contouring help slim and straighten the nose. With the triangle nose, the end (tip) of the nose is wider than the top of the nose (bridge between the eyes) So you darken the tip and highlight the top to balance out the symmetry and proportions of the face.

Unfortunately I did not photograph examples of a narrow and a button (small) nose, but hopefully from my explanation you can apply the above techniques to your nose.

The narrow nose is the reverse of a flat nose. With the flat nose you contour the sides with a dark concealer, whereas with the narrow nose you highlight the sides.

A button (small) nose has a short bridge and a bulbous/heart shape tip. Though a button nose is very cute, but on a long face shape a button nose will look even smaller. So highlight the tip of the nose and the inside corners of the eyes (like the triangle nose). Then place a dark line down the centre of the nose, around the nostrils and underneath the tip of the nose.

To help  with the blending I use a foundation brush by Real Techniques, remember to blend the light concealer first then the dark. The cheapest place I have found the brush is with Amazon here.

Real techniques Foundation Brush