Makeup fundamentals

01 Facial shapes and ideal proportions

Facial shapes and ideal proportions

Facial shapes

It is important to recognise each individual face shape. This will help you to place your bronzer, blush, highlights and contours in a way that showcases the best features of your client.

    The ideal face shape is considered to have ideal proportions. When applying makeup, you have to keep those proportions in mind to shade and highlight accordingly.

  • Highlight: a lighter shade of foundation will give an impression of volume
  • Shade: a darker shade of foundation will create some depth to features and give the illusion of a smaller chin, forehead, and cheekbones.
  • Highlight gives volume
  • Shade lifts, makes features appear smaller
  • Highlights will usually be placed at the center of the face, between the brows, under the eyes, center of the chin and also tops of the cheekbones.

Shade will be placed on the jaw line, under the cheekbones, around the hairline.

You will need to adapt your contour and highlight according to your client’s face shape; this is why it is important to be able to identify them.

The ideal proportions

    The face can be divided in three parts:

  • Hairline to brows
  • Brows line to the tip of the nose
  • Tips of the nose to the chin

To have ideal proportions, these three parts should be equal. The same rules apply in drawing. As a makeup artist you must identify the face type of the client in order to assess what adjustments need to be made to create the desired proportions.


The oval face is the most balanced, as proportions are even.

The oval face is considered to have ideal proportions.


  • Natural shades and highlights
  • Blush placed in the centre of the cheekbones
  • Keep the brow line natural


The round face has a rounded chin and hairline.

The object is to create the illusion of a classic oval by adding length.


  • Bronze/ contour under the cheekbones
  • Push the brow line towards the hairline and outside of the face, this will give some angularity to the face.


The square face is composed of comparatively straight lines with a straight forehead, hairline and jawline. The objective will be to minimise the sharp angles and corners with shading.


  • Shade under the cheekbones to the jawline to give an impression of more oval shape.
  • Forehead can be made rounder by adding a curve shade around the hairline.
  • Curved eyebrows are recommended to minimise angles.


This face has greater length in proportion to its width.

It is long and narrow. Most of the time the middle part of the face is the longest part.


  • Your shade should be placed upon the cheekbones, down until the jaw line. This will minimise the impression of length.
  • Minimise your highlights on the cheekbones.
  • Eyebrows should have a straight line and no angles.
  • Try to draw the attention to the bottom of the face: accentuate makeup under the eyes and push your lines to the outside. Avoid wing liner and sharp shapes on the eyes.