Contour Tips for a Square Face


Square jaws and faces are beautiful, and with the right makeup, they really shine.“Square jaws and faces are beautiful, and with the right makeup, they really shine.Ebby May/Photodisc/Getty Images

There’s a lot to be said for the square face. Wide-set eyes and broad forehead are considered signs of intelligence. And can you imagine the strong-willed Katharine Hepburn without her square jaw?

At the same time, eyes can get lost in the expanse between the temples. A prominent jowl might recall a bad-tempered pit bull terrier.

Both the admirable and the off-putting effects come from uniformity. On a square face, the distance is roughly the same vertically, from the center of the forehead to the point of the chin, and horizontally, across the forehead, the cheekbones and the chin. A square face needs stand-out features that fill space and balance the straight lines and right angles.

Fortunately, an application of makeup will bring out a square face’s best features and minimize its angularity. It doesn’t take special tools or techniques — just the basic understanding of design that any self-made(up) woman already possesses.

Contouring the square face borrows a few rules from fashion. First: Light and bright colors maximize; dark colors minimize. For example, you can use a highlighter to draw attention to targeted areas at the center of the face. Dab the highlighter on the middle of the forehead and the chin, and on the cheeks just below the eyes. Blend into your usual foundation to create a light-reflecting glow. This effect also draws the beholder’s eye up and down the face, accentuating length over width.

Also draw attention to specific features. For the lips, outline their natural shape in a slightly deeper-than-natural color. Apply gloss on the center of the lips to bring out their fullness. When doing the eyes, keep shadow on and above the lid, rather than extending it along the brow.

The flip side of the strategy is to de-emphasize the outer contour of the face. Apply a bronzer along the jawline below the ears and up the temples. Its natural tan look will blend with a lighter foundation to blur the line between the face and hairline.

A second rule: Variety adds interest. A square face can suffer from sameness of shape. It needs curves — arcs, circles and ovals. Arch the brows like the wing of a soaring bird — or an egg lying on its side.

Round the cheeks, too. Using a large, soft brush, apply a light shade of blush to the upper side of cheekbones and the apple. Deepen the hollows of the cheeks with a darker shade. Blend the two shades to avoid leaving a seam line.

To magnify the effect, apply the same principles to your clothes and hairstyle. Break up straight lines with curved or scalloped necklines. Hide the face’s outline with hair — long, flowing, streaming, gleaming, and especially curly hair. If you wear glasses, choose round or oval frames.

Lots More Information

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  • AzureBella Jewelry. "Face Shapes and Jewelry Choices — Square." Oct. 13, 2011. (Sept. 3, 2012)
  • BellaSugar. "How to Apply Blush on Square Faces." June 11, 2012. (Sept. 3, 2012)
  • Ellis, Kori. "Makeup Tips for Square Faces." SheKnows. Feb. 16, 2011. (Sept. 3, 2012)
  • Estee Lauder. "Top 10 Blush Tips Guaranteed to Get You Glowing." (Sept. 5, 2012)
  • Tarkhanian, Alisa. "5 Tips for Plumping Up Your Lips." SheKnows. Nov. 10, 2010. (Sept. 4, 2012)


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