How To Do The Viral Skull Contour Makeup Trend

Contouring is a makeup technique that uses shadow and light to manipulate face shape and dimensions (per MasterClass). While the art of contour dates all the way back to the 1500s and was especially common with early Hollywood actresses, Bustle associates its mainstream popularity with Kim Kardashian, who is known for sporting the sharp cheek-bone look.

It can be used on the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. Some even use makeup to contour their breasts. Nowadays, there's an abundance of contouring techniques and products to choose from. As explained by Vogue, how you choose to contour will depend on the shape of your face and what look you're going for.

One method of facial contouring is called the skull method, a makeup trend that has made the rounds on TikTok and Instagram. While this hack may sound a bit costume-like, it's actually a technique that can be worn in everyday settings or for more glam looks.

Pop XO traces the technique back to makeup artist and activist Kali Ledger, who posted an Instagram video about contouring a "baby face." If you're wanting to learn more about this makeup approach, read on to learn how to master the skull contour trend.

Breaking down the skeleton contour hack

If you're wondering what the skull contour method is, YouTuber Alexandra Anele explains that it uses the natural shape of a person's skull to emphasize their cheekbones and jaw. This is a method that works especially well for those with rounder faces who want to create the look of sharper cheekbones.

To achieve the look, use your contouring product and follow the natural curve of your cheekbone's underside, starting near your ear and drawing the line forward. Then, bring the line down along the sides of your mouth, continuing to trace the shape of a skull.

How far you bring in the contouring line before your bracket your mouth will depend on your face shape, so you might want to experiment to figure out what works best for you. This is the basic gist of the technique, but there are some elements that other creators also include.

In their TikTok video, creator begins her skeleton contour at her forehead, following her hairline before tracing out their cheekbones. She also uses concealer under her eyes and along the bottom side of her cheek contour to really sculpt out the look.

Some people also add blush to the skeleton contour routine, such as TikToker user @annalovesu, as this technique can help you identify the apple of your cheeks. Once you've drawn on all the necessary elements, you can then blend out the contour and other products, leaving you with a sculpted, skull-based look.

Another way to do the skull contour trend

While the mentioned method of skull contouring seems to be the most popular, there is actually a slightly different way to approach the makeup hack. This can be seen in an Instagram video from creator Kali Ledger, who Pop XO credits with popularizing the trend.

Similarly to the first approach, Ledger traces the underside of her cheekbones with a contouring product. Instead of drawing downward and bracketing the mouth, she creates two rounded lines, one going up and the other going down. She also accentuates her chin by adding lines on either side, but this isn't connected to the cheek contour as typically seen with the previous method.

YouTuber and makeup artist Nikkie Tutorials also tries out the method in an Instagram video in which she uses the skeleton contour approach to make her face appear thinner. Whether or not this hack works for you will depend on your face shape and desired look, but it's definitely something worth experimenting with if you're looking for a simplified way to do your own contouring.