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Contouring The Nose

While contouring the nose can be used to give the appearance of a smaller-looking and more defined nose, it can also be used to correct different nose shapes.

Contouring The Nose Makeup Blog

It's important to understand that our noses come in all different shapes and sizes (i.e. big, small, long, short, wide-bridge, narrow-bridge, sharp-bridge, soft-bridge, etc.). Therefore, depending on your individual nose shape and size, the technique of contouring will be different.

When it comes to contouring the nose, it’s important to analyze the nose from both a front and profile view.

With the proper technique, you can make subtle, or even dramatic, changes in the appearance of the nose. While contouring the nose can be used to help change the appearance of the nose, it’s important to note that the profile view of the nose can’t be changed. Therefore, the most visible changes will be seen from the front view.



The Regular Nose Contouring Makeup Blog

Regular Nose

From the profile view, the nose is balanced to the face.

The Strong Bridge Nose Contouring Makeup Blog

Strong Bridge

No amount of shadow or concealer can disguise the fact that there is a bump on the nose.


Flat Nose

No amount of highlight will make the nose appear to have a stronger bridge from the profile.


There's no definition to the orbital area or the nose bridge.


Using a small brush, apply the contour beginning at the eyebrow and curving around the inside of the orbital rim (A). Follow in a straight line down the side of the nose (B). Repeat process on the opposite side of the nose.


The illusion of a stronger bridge and deeper orbital rim areas give balance and definition to the nose as well as to the face.


Triangular Nose

The triangular nose is narrow at the bridge area (between the eyes) and wider at the tip.


This results in an out-of-balance appearance.


Narrow the tip of the nose and widen the bridge of the nose (between the eyes). To achieve this, apply shadow to the tip of the nose on either side (A) and highlight the nose in the two shadow positions (B)


The triangular nose is now widened at the bridge area (between the eyes) and narrowed at the tip, bringing the nose into balance.


Crooked Nose

This type of nose has a bend or turn.


In this illustration, the nose bends from the viewer’s left to right. The shadow pushes in on the right side, while the highlight pulls out on the left.


Apply shadow along the bend where the highlight pulls out (A) and apply highlight where the shadow pushes in (B).


The crooked nose is now straightened, bringing the nose into balance.


Bulbous Nose

This type of nose has a rounded or ball-like tip.


This creates an unbalanced nose and brings attention to the spherical grandeur of the nose.


The tip of the nose should be shaded on either side and blended to a soft edge (A). Sometimes the bridge will need correction. To correct the bridge, (B) should be shaded to bring the bridge of the nose into balance. Between the tip and the upper-bridge, the nose pinches in slightly. Place highlight at (C). The highlight should be applied along the bridge line & blended towards the top of the nose (the bottom edge of the highlight should be softened slightly).


The nose is now narrowed at the bridge area (between the eyes) and narrowed at the tip, bringing the nose into balance.


Irregular Nose Shadow

This shadow pattern appears when there is a depression on the nose (see the irregular nose shadow illustration).


There may be one or more depressions in various positions on the nose.


These shadows may be reduced or eliminated by applying highlight to the darkest area of the shadow (A) and blending to the soft edges (B).


The depression of the irregular nose is now pulled forward, bringing the nose into balance.


Shadowed Nose Bridge

Observe the shadow on the nose bridge, between the eyes. This is a common problem, caused by a depression on the nose.


This depression catches shadows and causes the brow ridge to appear too strong, because of the contrast between the highlight & the brow ridge (B) and the deep shadow (A).


Blend off the highlight to soften edges above and below (B) as the shadow fades out. The highlight should remain strongest at the deepest area of shadow (A). Be very careful when blending the highlight at the brow ridge (B)—if the highlight is placed too high, the correction will be lost and the brow ridge will remain heavy in appearance.


The effects of this shadow are eliminated or reduced by applying highlight on the shadow.


Narrow Nose

The narrow nose is the most challenging to correct. The bridge of the narrow nose is thin.


From the frontal view, the sides of the nose are usually not fully visible. This limits the options for corrective placement, because the surface area needed to widen the nose is limited or not available.


The narrow nose may be corrected by applying a narrow soft-edge highlight along the sides of the nose (A), making sure not blend the highlight over or on top of the nose bridge (the position of the highlight must remain tight and blended to the natural highlights of the bridge area).


The narrow nose is now widened, bringing the nose into balance.

Remember that each person’s face is unique and, therefore, each face will require different corrective measures. It's important to analyze your face—from both the profile and frontal view—to find the areas in need of balance.


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