1. Style
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How to Make a Big Nose Look Smaller With Makeup

Contouring tips, eyeliner tricks & other ways to downplay a big nose



Jennifer Grey pre-nose job and years later, post-nose job

Left: Peter Carrette Archive for Getty; right, Ethan Miller for Getty
How to Make a Big Nose Look Smaller With Makeup

How to make a big nose appear smaller.

Brand X Pictures for Getty Images

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat

Yves Saint Laurent

I'll never forget what my dear British friend Abigail said about 20 years ago. We were talking about beauty and she mentioned that her favorite feature on a person was what others might consider a flaw, such as a prominent nose. She loved prominent noses because it made the face more interesting. In a country where teens get nose jobs for their 16th birthdays, I found her philosophy refreshing.

If you are young and hate your nose, give it a few years. For noses in particular, you may find you'll fall in love with your nose as an adult. I hated my nose as a pre-teen and teen. I thought it was bulbous and I'd try to form it into a smaller shape by squeezing the tip. Now, as an adult, I feel my nose is one of my best facial features.

If you feel you want to downplay your nose with makeup, you can do so in the following ways.

Play Up Your Most Popular Features

The nose tends to be a focal point of the face, unless you play up another feature. Consider what features you get the most compliments on and bring attention to them instead of your nose.

Bring attention up from the middle of the face to the eyes by wearing eye makeup. Smoky eyes, bright jeweled tones, etc can make your eyes the focal point of your face -- not your nose. Just make sure to keep the rest of your makeup light or risk looking like a clown.

If you have full, lush lips, try a bright lipstick, like a red or a pink. Try to wear red lipstick for a week and see what compliments you get. Just make sure not to wear too much eye makeup if you focus on the lips.

For more information, check out:

Makeup Contouring Can Work Magic

One great tip is to downplay the nose with contouring, a makeup trick that fools the eyes. 

The best way to contour is with an eyeliner brush and bronzer. Here's how to do that:

  1. Dip the brush into bronzer or a brown eyeshadow and draw a perfect straight line on either side of the bridge of your nose. You can also do this with a darker shade of foundation.
  2. Make sure to blend so it doesn't look like 2 lines of dirt. You want to create the appearance of a "shadow."
  3. take a highlighting pen (you can find highlighting pens at Sephora or department stores but my favorite is Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Concealer, pictured here) and swipe it down the bridge of the nose. The contrast of light vs. dark does wonders on the nose.

See How to Contour Using Makeup.

Flawless Skin is Key

Nothing shows off a big nose than bad skin around it. Make sure your skin is even around your nose. Cover up any redness, blemishes or uneven spots with concealer and foundation.

Show off great cheekbones with blush or a brush of bronzer. And always, set your makeup with powder.

Find out how to get perfect, even skin in 20 Makeup Tips for Gorgeous Skin.

Keep Shininess to a Minimum

Shininess on the face will bring attention to the nose. Use powder or blotting papers to keep shine to a minimum. When I had oily skin, I always carried blotting papers in my purse. In a pinch, a paper napkin will suffice.

Sharp Features? Keep Makeup Soft

Harsh makeup only highlights your harsh features.

If your nose is sharp and you have an angular chin or high cheekbones, keep the rest of your makeup soft. This means soft pencil eyeliner (or smudged eyeliner) instead of liquid liner. Don't line your lips before applying lipstick or gloss and blend in any blush you apply.

Add Volume to Your Hair

Balance out a large nose with voluminous hair. Don't pull hair back in a tight ponytail or bun. Instead, wear your hair down and allow any natural wave or curls to stand out.

And Finally, Be Nice to Yourself

This just might be my favorite tip of them all: try not to make fun of your nose to friends or strangers. Complaining about your insecurities only highlights them. Instead, work on accepting yourself for who you are.

What you may consider a beauty flaw might actually be your most interesting feature. This tends to be the case with strong noses, in particular. Strong noses are powerful, regal and sexy. Some of the most famous women in the world have strong noses and it doesn't always bode well for their careers when they have had them fixed. Jennifer Grey (pictured above) famously had a nose job after Dirty Dancing and didn't work again for years because post-surgery, she no longer stood out. Instead, she blended in.

Liked this? There's more how-tos:


  1. About.com
  2. Style
  3. Beauty
  4. Teen Beauty
  5. Makeup Tips
  6. How to Make a Big Nose Look Smaller With Makeup

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.