Though we use contour to chisel cheekbones and jawlines, contour can also be used to enhance lips for your plumpest pout.
Lip Contouring 101
Lip contouring is a makeup technique that uses soft shadows to add depth and volume, making lips look fuller. Unlike face contour, lip contour is used to introduce dimensionality and softly enhance your natural lip shape, not slim or ‘sculpt.’
While esteemed celebrity makeup artists Kevyn Aucoin and Scott Barnes are both known for their lip contouring techniques (as seen on Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce), we sought out makeup artist, Nikki La Rose, to learn exactly how and where to contour lips.
According to Nikki, understanding the best formulas and placements for creating fuller lips with contour is key. Read below for Nikki’s makeup-artist-approved tips and tricks for nailing this makeup technique on the first go!
Step-by-Step Guide to Lip Contouring for Defined Lips
The right contour shade should complement your natural lip color. Opt for a cooler toned nude one to three shades darker than your skin tone, which will mimic the natural shadows around your lips.
Formula matters. For this, we love the Eye Shaping Stylo, MAKE’s 4-in-1 multipurpose contour stick designed to define and contour any area of the face with control. While its creamy, blendable formula delivers a natural-looking finish, film-forming polymers ensure pigment won’t transfer or fade with wear.
While we all have unique lip shapes, there are a few fool-proof placements to achieve a rounder, plumper looking pout.
Step 1: Enhance Shadows
Applying contour to the top lip ‘socket,’ the area right above the Cupid’s bow, is a quick and easy way to accentuate the center of the lips for a more pronounced look. To start, apply a cool toned contour directly above the Cupid’s bow, as if you’ve overlined your lips. Blend out using a small brush or your finger.
Next, identify the natural shadow beneath the center of your bottom lip. Apply your contour under the lip and, using a small brush or your finger, blend outward from the center to corners. By enhancing the natural shadow beneath your bottom lip, you build balance, symmetry, and volume.
Step 2: Line Lips
Next, line lips with a warmer toned lip liner or contour shade that melds with your lip color, creating a natural-looking boundary. Once lined, delicately blend the product using your finger to soften edges and avoid stark lines.
Step 3: Top with Lip Serum or Lipstick
A high-shine gloss or serum will contrast your contour for even more volume and depth. To finish, top lips with a swipe of lip gloss or lip serum for hydration and a hint of color. For a natural look, we like MAKE’s Serum Balm in shade Nude Nova.
If you prefer a matte finish, a lipstick shade one to two shades lighter than your contour or lip liner will create the same effect.
Step 4: Refine with Concealer
All it takes is a bit of concealer to correct and lift your lip contour should you over-apply. Remember, as you talk and move, product naturally disperses. To correct your lip contour, apply concealer at the center and feather towards edges to avoid a cakey or layered appearance.