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Hair Contouring 101: How to Contour Different Face Shapes

Adding color to your hair is no longer a simple process that only lightens or alters your natural color. Instead, hair contouring makes it possible to change the form of your face without having to modify it physically.

It’s an exciting use of highlights, tones, and shadows that target specific parts of your face. The placement of shadows and highlights can draw attention, create illusions of a softer look, add or take away length, and create a broader or more narrow shape to your face.

The best part about contouring is its low maintenance, which can be done on any base color.

So no matter what features you want to bring out, play up, or tone down, there is a contoured hairstyle that works perfectly for you.

What Is Hair Contouring? 

Hair contouring is a highlighting technique that adds shadows and highlights to help compliment the shape of your face. This customizable technique works for all face shapes, sizes, and types.

How Hair Contouring Is Done

what is hair contouring

Contouring essentially adds dimension and depth to some regions of the hair, thus resulting in the appearance of a smaller or bigger face. Depending on the tone of your highlights, it will also create a brighter appearance on the skin. 

Like the balayage technique, this is applied using the free hand method. But, again, you can discuss with your stylist the correct placement and whether you prefer lighter or darker contouring.

It’s important to note that lighter tones give your face a lengthened or elongated look. Conversely, darker hues give your face a short, narrowed appearance.

Learn How to Do Foilayage Hair Contouring

How to Contour Different Face Shapes

Where highlights are placed is essential when it comes to your face. That’s what makes hair contouring such a unique concept.

The use of color and shadows can bring attention to any part of the face. This technique works to focus on any features that you want to accentuate.

Although there are several face shapes, there is a way to contour hair to play up any features you want to pop the most. This brilliant hair coloring technique is the perfect addition to any hairstyle as it helps to change your look in the best way.


hair contouring for oval face

An oval face shape is the best face shape to have because it’s so versatile. Many styles work well with this face shape, and hair contouring is no different. For an oval face, add some depth, along with some shine and texture. These will all help accentuate and add a little flair to your features.


hair contouring for square face shape

Square faces typically have sharper jaw lines, broadened cheekbones, and a broad forehead. For this face shape, emphasize the corners of the face to balance it out properly.

To do this, add multi-tonal layers of dark and light shades along each corner of the face. This method can help to soften those corners giving a less sharpened appearance.


hair contouring for round face shape

Round face shapes are symmetrical but sometimes don’t have a sharpness to the chin area. These kinds of faces may also lack some definition in the cheekbones.

The best way to combat this with contoured hair is by adding light shades along the hairline and extending these shades from one end to the other. Next, add darker shades on the hair’s ends, giving an illusion of a more pointed face and definition in the cheekbones.  


hair contouring for heart face shape

Heart-shaped faces are wider at the top of the head and narrow as you reach the cheekbones and the chin. You can help widen the jaw line by adding lighter shades to the bottom of your hair.

This placement of contour highlights with lighter shades will also help to give the face a more oval appearance. 


hair contouring for rectangularl face shape

A rectangular face shape is much like a square face shape, except longer. The entire face extends in length but not width. The forehead is broad, while the jawline and cheeks are the same widths. They also have sharper angles that can mellow down through lighter tones above the ears.

Darker roots can add a deeper tone, and darker shades at the facial corners can also play on softening sharp angles.

Hair Contouring Vs. Money Piece Highlights

Hair Contouring Vs. Money Piece Highlights

These two hair trends look similar, but they are very different in where they are put in the hair and the styling purpose they serve.

Money Piece Highlights

Money piece highlights were introduced in the ‘90s. This technique comprises chunky highlights placed at the front of the hair to frame the face.

These highlights are perfect if you’re looking for a fresh new look that requires little to no maintenance. Money piece highlights also grow out seamlessly, leaving the hairstyle to look nice and soft. 

Hair Contouring 

Hair contouring essentially blends highlights and shadows that help target and enhance certain facial features. It can also add length or shorten the overall appearance of the face.


To further help you on your hair adventure, here is a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding hair contouring.

Are hair contouring and face-framing highlights similar?

They are somewhat similar because both techniques use highlights to enhance the face. However, face-framing highlights are only at the very front of the face. Hair contour is blended throughout the hair and helps to amplify certain areas and features on the face.

Is hair contouring low maintenance?

Yes, hair contouring is low maintenance.

What hair coloring technique is used for contouring?

Hair contouring is a mixture of free-hand application and highlighting.

What color base is best for hair contouring?

You can get your hair contoured no matter what your base color is. There is, however, a specific way to contour depending on the base color.

Hair contouring is the route if you desire a completely different look for your hair without the hassle of a high-maintenance hairstyle. It’s ideal for anyone as it’s a customizable color placement guaranteed to add an entirely new and fresh style to your overall look.