How To Balance a Round Face WITHOUT Contouring

Five other easy, flattering ways to add angles.
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Five other easy, flattering ways to add angles.

Growing up, I was always a bit self-conscious of my round face. In my pre-teens, I was always reading some teen magazine and the kind of models they tended to use had incredibly photogenic, sharp jawlines and high cheekbones. With my rounded jawline and chubby cheeks, I felt very left out.

Due to the rising popularity of contouring, thanks to Kim Kardashian and clan, you may think I’d be first on board the sculpting train as an adult, but I'm not (unless I know I’m going to be photographed). Don’t get me wrong—it’s a great technique, but it’s a bit much for me to do every day. 

Instead, I stick to more subtle ways of balancing or offsetting my rounded features using makeup. 

Eyebrows

If you want to do the least amount of work necessary to offset a round face, focus on your brows. Arched ones will add some much-needed length to a round face (since the arch will lift up your eye area), but flat or straight brows may make round faces look wider. To add some extra angles, go for a sharper shape at the start of the brow and the top of the arch.

Holding my brush this way prevents me from making the start of my brows look too dark.

Holding my brush this way prevents me from making the start of my brows look too dark.

Here I used Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow in Ash to fill in my brows. To sharpen the edges ever-so-slightly, I wiped away excess product from my angled liner brush, and used what was remaining on my brush to draw an edge. As you can see below, I am using the tallest point of the brush to lightly shade in my brows.

On a very angular face, these brows might be too much, but my round face handles them just fine.

On a very angular face, these brows might be too much, but my round face handles them just fine.

Eyeshadow

You can sneak in some angles by sharpening the outer edge of your eye makeup. You can do this by making sure it doesn’t go beyond an imaginary line from the end of your brow to the end of your eye, or by creating a sharp edge with a foundation brush after you do your eye makeup.

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Eyeliner

One of my favorite ways to add angles is with some bold, graphic liner. I like to go with a thick cat eye with a sharp wing that looks like it slopes, not softly curves, when I close my eyes.

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Blush

The trick to using blush to narrow a round face is applying it diagonally and extending it higher than you normally would on your cheekbones. I apply blush on my cheekbones first, and then drag the blush from the top of my cheekbones upward toward the top of my ears to create the diagonal line.

Highlighter

To subtly add length, you can also highlight down the bridge of your nose and the center of your forehead using a light shadow or a concealer lighter than your skin tone. I particularly like doing this for pictures since it also makes my nose look slimmer.

Here I am drawing a tree on my face using concealer. Don’t forget to blend this out!

Here I am drawing a tree on my face using concealer. Don’t forget to blend this out!

Lips

If you have more of a rounded cupid’s bow, you can try making the peaks look sharper with a lip brush or the tip of your lipstick. As you can tell, I LOVE to exaggerate mine.

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And here's the final look using all the techniques.

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Wearing all these techniques together may be too much for faces with sharper features, but as you can see, my round face can handle it. So you can see the effect of these techniques better, I included a picture of me with more rounded out makeup as a contrast.

On the left: me with rounded out makeup. On the right: more angular makeup. (P.S. The picture on the left was taken on a VERY hot day.)

On the left: me with rounded out makeup. On the right: more angular makeup. (P.S. The picture on the left was taken on a VERY hot day.)

  • What’s your face shape?
  • Does your face shape affect how your do your makeup?