Whoever hasn’t heard of contouring has been living at the bottom of a deep, dark well where the delightfully TMI internet and juicy celebrity gossip never reach them.

Wait… Actually maybe that’s not so bad after all.

Anyway, on your radar or not, contouring is a great way to add definition to your already gorgeous face. Sure, you could also reshape it into an exact replica of Michael Jackson, but unless you’re dressing up for Halloween I’d rather see your real face, thank you.

How to flawlessly sculpt your face

Contouring advice is everywhere you look. Some of it good, most of it bad, and some of it hide-your-children-a-monster-is-here bad. Instead of slogging through the bad advice, go check out my article in the latest Simply Gluten Free Magazine (Sept-Oct ’15). Not only is it an actually good article (obviously), but the lovely Erin painted glorious watercolor illustrations to show you exactly how to follow the steps.

Check out where to find the magazine here. And don’t drool too much over Erin’s paintings.

If you want some tips right now, here’s an awesome video to show you some contouring basics.

Now of course… None of the products in the video above are safe to use. And my article is also only about the technique. So before you can get started, you need to assemble your kit.

The magic products you can’t live without

Basically, you need something to darken and something to brighten. There are tons of products specifically for contouring in the non-gluten-free world, but few of them are exactly replicated in the gluten free world. Fortunately, that doesn’t matter too much. Since all we need is dark and light, we can use any product that gives us that effect.


Darker Foundation

This is by far the easiest way to find a good contour powder. Choose a foundation a few shades darker and a shade cooler than your usual foundation. You want to give the illusion of a shadow, so cooler is better than warmer.


This is my current favorite contouring alternative. Sounds kinda crazy, but it works so well. Choose a shade that’s matte, cool and brown. I’ve been using this shade from Red Apple. Because eyeshadow is so pigmented, it requires a lot of blending and a very light hand to not be too heavy or sharp an application. However, you may already have a shadow you can use on hand. So all that may be left is to get the hang of applying it.


This is not an ideal product to use. The warm tones make for a strange-looking shadow and in most cases do as much harm as good to the overall look. However, if you are very warm skinned and have found a strangely cool bronzer (maybe like this?), you may be able to get away with using this.

Contouring Powder/Cream

The product actually designed for contouring. It’s surprisingly hard to find in the gluten free makeup world! There’s only one I’m aware of at this point in time. And that would be this. It only comes in one color, so if this color doesn’t work for you, then you’re out of luck. But with all the other products above you can also use to contour, have no fear. There’s something out there for you.


Pale Concealer

Since it’s a good idea to use concealer a few shades lighter than your skin, it’s possible you already have a concealer that will work for this. The downside of this method is that many concealers tend to look cakey when used over large swaths of skin. Try it if you can, but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t look quite right. Just try another method.

Lighter Foundation

Again, this is one of the easiest ways to get a good highlight. Get a foundation a few shades lighter, but don’t mess with the tone this time.


The cool thing about eyeshadow is that most lines already have highlighting shades. Often a nude or whiteish color with either sparkle or gentle light-reflection, eyeshadow for highlighting is often easier than eyeshadow for contouring. I keep going back to is this one.

Highlighting Powder/Cream

For all the difficulty of finding contour products in the gluten free makeup world, highlighting is oddly easy. Creams and powders abound, from just about every popular gluten free makeup company. However, I highly recommend you try this one.

The often forgotten trick to getting the most out of your products

Almost as important as the products themselves is the proper application. Even if you had all the right products, the wrong brush and a heavy touch can literally ruin your look.

If you want to cover all your bases, check out this entire vegan, soft as butter and reasonably priced kit.

Or if you just want the right brushes for this, grab this contour brush and this highlight brush.

The ultimate secret to perfecting your technique

Stand in front of the mirror. Stare at your own eyes. Look DEEP into your eyes. Then chant three times “I will be an awesome contourer.”

Nah, just kidding.

There’s only one secret to perfecting your contour technique.


Practice on days you don’t need to go out. Practice when you’re just meeting your BFF for coffee (bonus points if she’s a bluntly honest BFF who can tell you what she thinks). Practice whenever the pressure is low and/or your makeup is unnecessary.

In less time than you think, you’ll be contouring like a pro.

Do you have any awesome tips for sculpting your face? let us know in the comments!