Makeup trends come and go, but some things stick around because they work. Contouring is a trick makeup artists have always used to subtly redefine your facial features—and for good reason, if you ask us! This homemade contour powder is a must for accentuating your features naturally.
This is one of the easiest beauty recipes in the world. It’s basically about mixing cocoa powder and arrowroot powder together to create a combination that suits your skin coloring.
- Arrowroot powder: Its main role in facial contouring powder is as a base or carrier for the other ingredients. It has a soft, fine texture that makes it easy to apply to the skin. And it helps to blend the other ingredients together so the color goes on smoothly.
- Cocoa powder: It provides a brown tint that mimics the skin’s natural shadows, which makes it suitable for contouring and adding depth to the face. When applied strategically, cocoa powder can create the illusion of more defined cheekbones, a slimmer nose, and a more sculpted jawline. Additionally, cocoa powder contains antioxidants that may benefit the skin when applied topically.
- Essential oil: The essential oil thickens the powder and helps with the glide factor. Moreover, certain essential oils have skincare properties, such as calming irritation or promoting a healthy complexion.
See the recipe card below for quantities.
While we do provide step-by-step instructions, the key here is to tweak and test until you find the ideal color and texture for your skin. Once you’ve landed on the right shade, feel free to scale the recipe up so it lasts a while.
Start by spooning the arrowroot powder onto a plate or small bowl.
Add cocoa powder a teaspoon at a time, mixing well in between each addition until you reach your ideal shade.
Test the contour powder on your skin (over the foundation or face powder you usually wear), and add more cocoa or arrowroot powder as needed.
Once you’re happy with the color, mix in a few drops of essential oil and stir again, making sure to break up any clumps as best you can.
Store the contour powder in a sterile jar or makeup compact. Use the back of a spoon to pack the powder in and create a smooth surface.
Hint: The essential oil helps the contour powder stay packed inside your container rather than crumbling into a powder. If you prefer more of a powder, you can leave it out.
Customizing Contour Powder
Unlike the nose, forehead, and cheeks (basically anywhere the sun hits), the shadows of the face tend to have a bluish hue to them. They’re shadows, after all!
So, it’s likely that using just cocoa powder and arrowroot powder may not work for everyone. Here are some ways to customize your contour powder and make it look as natural as possible.
- For fair skin tones: While some darker skin tones may not need any arrowroot powder, it’s likely that fair skin tones may need a little extra. Adding more arrowroot powder helps dilute the cocoa powder so it doesn’t look as harsh on fair skin.
- For cooler shadows: If you have cool undertones, adding a pinch of blue (such as from butterfly pea powder) can help make your contour powder look more realistic. If you have warm undertones or tan easily, you may not need to add much, if any, blue to your contour powder for it to look natural.
- For darker skin tones: Try blending regular cocoa powder and dark cocoa powder together to achieve your desired shade. Dark cocoa powder has a richer, deeper color than regular cocoa powder, so using a combination of the two can create unique shades.
When experimenting with different shade variations, it’s a good idea to start with small batches first. This way, you can test the powder on your skin to see how it looks before making larger quantities.
And remember, when customizing your homemade contour powder, keep track of the measurements and ingredients used so that you can recreate your favorite shades in the future.
There seems to be something ingrained in humans to be attracted to almond-shaped faces. Even babies spend more time looking at these ideal face shapes!
The fun part is that it’s easy to increase our almond-ness with a bit of highlighting and contouring. I stared goggle-eyed as my makeup artistry teacher changed one girl’s face shape with a flick here and there, transforming her cute button face into a tapered almond.
1. Apply a base foundation or powder all over your face. It’s essential to wear the contour powder over foundation or a face powder. Otherwise, the contour powder will be prone to hanging out in all the dips in the skin.
2. Then lightly dust a bronzer brush over the contour powder and apply it in a wedge shape under the cheekbones. The thick edge of the wedge should start at the ear and taper out under the apple or middle of the cheek.
3. If you have a high brow, a circle of contour powder along the hairline will create the illusion of a smaller brow.
4. Highlight the cheekbones by dusting arrowroot powder in a wedge shape along the top of them, again with the wide edge at the hairline and thinning out at the apple (it can be easier to do this with an eye makeup brush at first).
5. Depending on the look you’re going for, you can then apply a dusting of blush to the apples of the cheek.
Tip: Apply contour powder with a light hand when first getting started and build up the color gradually. When you’re done, blend everything again with your foundation brush or makeup sponge to give it a more natural finish.
Store the contour powder in a sterile jar and keep it dry. Use the back of a spoon to pack the powder into a small jar or recycled makeup compact.
As long as you’re careful not to get it wet, your contour powder should last 3 to 4 months. Like store-bought cosmetics, your contour powder will get contaminated with dirt and bacteria over time, so it’s best to replace it every few months.
In a pinch, yes. However, long-term use of talcum-based baby powder can lead to all sorts of health issues, so use it sparingly.
You can try using other spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, loose iron oxide powders, or even ground-up matte eyeshadow.
In place of essential oils, you can use a few drops of olive oil, melted coconut oil, or almond oil.
Homemade Contouring Powder
- Small bowl
- Sterile container with lid
- Mix the powders together, gradually tweaking the ratio of cocoa powder to corn starch until you reach the ideal shade. Test the mixture on your skin (over the foundation or face powder you usually wear), and add more cacao or cornstarch as needed.
- Once you’re happy with the color, mix in the essential oil. Store the contour powder in a sterile or very clean jar and keep dry.