Hair Trends Explained: What Is Hair Contouring?

March 9, 2022

Did you know that by simply changing the hair color, you can actually highlight and enhance your client’s facial features? In this guide, we’re going to show you how this is entirely possible using one of the latest hair color trends: hair contouring. Keep reading to learn all about hair contouring and why it’s the perfect, face-framing technique to recommend to your clients seeking a gorgeous, subtle new look.

What Is Hair Contouring?

You’ve probably been noticing the very popular “money-piece” highlights framing the faces of celebrities, influencers, and clients in salon chairs everywhere lately. However, there’s a new face-framing color technique in town that’s taking over in 2022. Hair contouring is inspired by the famous technique known as “makeup contouring,” which adds dimension and highlights certain facial features by producing light and shade effects.

With hair contouring, a similar philosophy as makeup contouring is applied to the hair in order to create a soft and ultra-trendy coloring technique that perfectly frames the face. Instead of creating highlights in clusters, this technique paints around the client’s face using a lighter shade with a softer overall contrast. Hair color contouring plays with light shades and lengthens by reflecting light and dark shades. This creates shading and helps accentuate the shape of the person’s face in a subtle and flattering way.

In order to really master this trendy technique, color professionals need to understand this method inside-out, as well as how to best use these tones to add more or less light and/or dark shades. Similar to “money-piece” highlights, hair contouring can be customized to suit anyone, depending on the person’s face shape, features, and skin tone.



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Una publicación compartida de Manuel Mon (@manuelmonoficial)

How Does Hair Contouring Work?

Current beauty standards dictate that oval faces are the most balanced and symmetrically proportioned. Therefore, with hair contouring, the hair will be contoured (depending on the facial shape) in a way that uses light and dark shades to achieve a symmetrical, well-balanced oval appearance. These shades should be around two to three shades above and below the client’s natural color, and should also be complemented by their skin tone. Once you assess the shape of your client’s face and their desired outcome, you can then begin to contour their hair.



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Una publicación compartida de Manuel Mon (@manuelmonoficial)

Hair Contouring and Face Shape

Hair contouring offers the perfect coloring technique to complement any unique facial structure and bring out your client’s natural beauty. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when assessing your client’s face shape.

Square face: This is the type of face shape where you will likely want to soften the angles and lengthen the shape a little using your contouring technique. To do this, you can apply dark shades to the hair closest to the face and highlight the outer area.

Round face: Just like the square face shape, you will also use the contouring technique to lengthen and define round faces. If the individual has a very strong facial structure, you can make the light tones a lot lighter and the dark tones deeper. This way, you can achieve a more dramatic final effect. 

Rectangular face: For these faces, your dark tones should be used both on the roots and on the lower part of the head (nape). You can add light to thin strands at the height of the ears, with the color blending more towards the ends, in order to achieve a balanced, oval effect for the face.

Heart face: For heart-shaped faces, contouring is pretty straightforward. You will need to choose between utilizing either the sombré technique (with very subdued lighting in favor of natural shading) or the ombré technique (which features a much stronger gradient from a dark shade to a more intense and lighter shade). This way, you can soften the shape of the jaw and maintain the front. As an added bonus, you can even incorporate the money piece technique as well on the front to create the ultimate look.


How To Do Hair Color Contouring

As we have seen, hair contouring is a technique that is simple to master as long as you are aware of the different factors involved. A professional first recognizes the shape of the face and then applies the correct technique for a gorgeous contoured result. Contouring can be customized and can combine several techniques in one, as we have mentioned in the heart face example. The essential factor is knowing where the dark tones go and where the light goes for the best face-framing effect.

Mixing shades according to each person’s skin tone is also essential when applying the hair contouring technique. For fair skin, cool blonde shades are always a flattering option. On olive and darker skin tones, you can opt for warmer, rich tones. For example, a perfect combination would be 5.1 from Revlonissimo Color SublimeTM and highlighting by hand with Magnet™ Blondes Ultimate Powder 9. Next, you can finish with .01 + .02 from Color Excel Gloss by Revlonissimo™ to give the hair plenty of shine and gorgeous hues.



Hair contouring is one coloring trend that is here to stay. By mastering this technique in 2022, you’re sure to be at the top of your hairdressing game and gain the trust of your clientele. Above all, you will enjoy your beloved profession day in and day out when you see your clients’ glowing, smiling faces! For more professional tips, don’t forget to check out this guide on how to choose the right hair color.


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