On this video tutorial Aaron Nace from Phlearn demonstrates how to add contour make-up to your model using Adobe Photoshop.
Contour is a combination of highlights and shadows on the face which creates a very distinctive look that is very common in the fashion and magazine world. If you want to recreate it in Photoshop (as opposed to creating it using a make-up professional you will only need to learn a few steps.
Nace starts with a reference photo (here are a few examples), and from analysing these images it is clear that contour will require a number of different layers. Nace starts by picking up shadows from the image itself and paint on a new layer on the face of the model (you don’t have to be super precise as we shall blur the whole thing later). Nace keeps working on the contour according to the pattern with both shadows and highlights (each on a different layer).
Now we are going to change the blend mode of the first layer to hard light and add Gaussian blur and do the same to the second layer. You can bring down the opacity if you need to and you can also play with the hue-saturation of the layer if the colors don’t seem perfect.
That is more or less it – as long as you tone the effect down it can be quite realistic.