Contouring — or face sculpting — puts the “art” in makeup artistry. It traditionally refers to the strategic application of darker and lighter, skin-toned makeup on the temple, nose, eyes and chin to make these features appear slimmer, straighter or more prominent. Use the same technique to create a perfect pout. Most women want fuller, even lips, so play up the peaks and valleys of your pucker with a lip contouring and highlighting combination.

Things You'll Need


Contouring Tips

Start with a clean palate and apply a thin layer of foundation over the entire mouth area. If you are applying with your fingertips, warm up the foundation. Add a few drops to your fingertips and rub your fingers together. By doing this, the foundation will go on more smoothly and fill in any cracks and lines evenly. Applying foundation with a makeup brush will achieve the same results.

Roll a dab of lip balm over your lips with a cotton swab. The cotton swab application serves a dual purpose. The rubbing motion helps to exfoliate any flakes or dead skin, plus it also further embeds the lip balm into the lip tissue. This moisturizing and exfoliation technique is an excellent start to help you get the contouring and highlighting results you seek.

Apply a nude lip liner that matches your skin tone closely. For contouring purposes, it is best to go with a true neutral, not too pink or orange, and a shade darker than your natural complexion. Use small strokes just outside your natural lip line to create the illusion of a fuller lip. For your bottom lip, smile with your lips closed and apply the liner in the same fashion on the outer edge. This darker edge on your bottom lip creates a shadow, giving the illusion of a larger pout.

Apply a tiny amount of bronzer with a small-bristle makeup brush at the outer edge of lip line you created. The depth this shadowing creates under the bottom lip will amplify the illusion of fullness.

Highlighting Magic

Highlight just above the Cupid’s bow of your upper lip with a light, shimmery highlighter pencil, or use the small makeup brush to apply a champagne-colored, cream-based eyeshadow to that area to attract light. This will give the illusion of a plump top lip.

Dab a small amount of highlighter just below the center of the lower lip. Highlighting an area makes it look bigger or fuller, so this little pop of light will give you the appearance of a plump pout.

Swipe a light layer of shimmery lip gloss gently over both the upper and lower lips. If any of the highlighter comes off during application, reapply a small amount, but be careful not to add too much. Both contouring and highlighting make a big difference in your appearance but are nearly impossible to detect — like a great magic trick.