How Contouring Can Give Mature Skin A Lift
How Contouring Can Give Mature Skin A Lift

How Contouring Can Give Mature Skin A Lift

5 minutes read

As we age, the structure of our faces tends to soften a bit: the jawline may slacken, cheeks may droop, and lips could appear thinner. Skincare and facial massage and ‘doing’ aesthetics can help prevent and (to some extent) treat these symptoms in the long term. But if you want instant results? Reach for your make-up bag. 

Contrary to what Instagram may have you believe, contouring does not have to involve piling on thick layers of product on the face. Instead, it’s about sculpting and subtly playing with light and shadow. 

It can enhance or mildly alter the way your natural bone structure appears, so it’s a quick and easy way to get an instant facelift. 

“Anything you want to push back on your face, your contour. Anything you want to accentuate, you highlight – that’s a rule of thumb,” says Julie Unwin, Clarins Retail Training Manager. 

Here’s everything you need to know about how to make contouring look great on mature skin.

woman contouring her cheek

Choose the right colour and texture


There isn’t a single shade of contour that will suit every skin tone. To find the right one for you, follow these simple steps. Observe the colour of natural shadows on your face – hollows under your cheekbones or the dip below your lip. You will notice that they are a slightly darker version of your skin tone. And as they’re shadows, they have a greyish undertone.  

That’s why contouring products tend to be cool-toned browns rather than warm-toned ones that work better as bronzers.


“When you’ve got mature skin, I think it’s all about dewiness,” says Unwin. This is why contouring creams are a great idea. Likewise, powders can be good if you have oily skin. 

We like the Danessa Myricks Beauty Balm Contour that comes in various shades to suit different skin tones. The creamy texture blends beautifully without looking patchy or unnatural on the skin.

cream contour

Sculpt the cheekbones and jawline

To subtly chisel your cheeks, start by applying your contour cream or powder just below the cheekbone, in the area closest to the ear. Use a tapered or angled brush like the Blush Brush to sweep the product, blending using short strokes. If you’re using a cream, you could also use your fingers to blend. 

Concentrate most of the colour near the area closest to your ear and feather out as you approach the front of the face.  

Tip: Make sure the edge is blended to perfection before reaching the front of the cheekbone. Ideally, you don’t want to see any obvious product lines near the centre of the face.  

You can also contour your jaw area by sweeping your contour product along the jawline or just under it to make it appear sharper. Then, blend into the neck for a seamless finish.  

Subtly contour around the lips

Most people tend to lose some volume in the lips with age. You may also notice wrinkles in the area. There are many ways to naturally reduce fine lines above the lip. But make-up can also help, 

If that’s something you want to balance, a good lip liner will help. But also, play with light and shade. Unwin recommends using “some highlighter on the cupid’s bow and a bit of contour powder just below the middle of the lower lip.” 

Avoid shimmers and powdery textures 

Glittery products can bring attention to fine lines. Plus, the goal of a contouring product is to create a realistic-looking shadow. And shadows tend to be matte, so it’s best to skip shimmers when you’re shading. 

Know when not to contour

If you already have hollow cheeks or a narrow face, you probably don’t need to use a cheek contour. You can, however, reach for your highlighter to emphasise the high points of the cheeks. 

Similarly, if you don’t like to emphasise the shadows on your face, you can subtly sculpt using just a highlighter, blush and bronzer. Again, where you place the products on the face can make a big difference in enhancing your bone structure. 

“I would reach for a highlighter to accentuate the cheekbones, the eyes and the lips,” says Unwin. “Sometimes, if you put too much make-up on a mature skin type, it can look too heavy. Particularly if you’re going through the menopause, you can get quite hot, and you don’t want to have layers and layers of make-up on. So, anything that’s light and fresh-looking is great.” 

Read: How To Do Foundation To Contour And Bronze 

Make your bronzer work double duty

Adding a bronzer step after you contour will help add more dimension to the face. After contouring, use your bronzer to emphasise the high points of the face where the sun naturally hits.

Try: The Ever Bronze Compact Powders have a plant-based micropatch that make the formula feel smooth and hydrating on the skin, despite their powder-based texture.

If you prefer to use just bronzer, that works too. “A really good way to naturally contour your face is to use your bronzer,” says Unwin. An application tip to remember: “Think about the number three and the letter E when you’re applying bronzer to both sides of the face.”  

She explains: “Go across the forehead where the sun kisses your skin, then sweep along the cheekbone and underneath the jawline. And that will give you a natural contour rather than a super chiselled look.” 

Read: How to apply bronzer the right way

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