Hair contouring is a thing and here’s how you do it

We’ve watched — with mixed emotions — as the contouring trend has traveled across various parts of the anatomy. First, there was face contouring, which revolutionized makeup in a way that made us all think we could look like Kardashians. People liked it so much that it expanded to the entire body. And then it just started getting weird — foot and neck contouring becoming two of the strangest iterations of the beauty trend we’ve seen.

But the latest fad is one we can totally get behind. It’s contouring for your hair, and unlike contouring for your face, it doesn’t require a steady hand or an artist’s vision — at least on your part, because it does require that of your hair stylist. But we’re pretty confident that he/she has those skills already.


Hair contouring is basically highlighting or lowlighting your hair to accentuate your best facial features, defining the overall effect. Once a color palette has been carefully chosen based on your skin tone, then darker shades are used to create shadows that make the face look narrower or shorter, while lighter colors reflect light, broadening and lengthening.

The key to successful hair contouring is identifying your face shape: round, square, diamond, rectangular, or oblong. The people are L’Oréal even have a handy guide based on your face shape:

And remember to stick with shades that are no more than two shades darker or lighter than your base hair color (but your colorist knows all that). Unlike highlights, there’s no need to obsess over upkeep — it’s OK to let the contoured strands grow out — they’ll still work their face-shaping magic.

While the idea of playing around with a million shades of foundation hasn’t made its way into our daily routines, this I-literally-woke-up-like-this approach certainly will!

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