Make Your Nose Look Smaller

Noses come in all shapes and sizes and each are unique in their own way. If you are trying out a new look or feel self-conscious about the size of your nose, there are several ways you can make it seem smaller. You can try using make up to contour and highlight the shape of your nose, doing facial exercises that reduce size of your nose overtime, or you could take drastic actions to permanently alter the size of your nose.


Using Contouring and Highlighting Makeup

  1. Understand how contouring and highlighting work. You can use makeup that is slightly darker/lighter than your natural skin tone to make your nose appear slimmer. Keep in mind, however, that it won't physically make your nose smaller. Also, if you have a very long nose, contouring will not make your nose look shorter in side view.
  2. Choose the right shading and highlighting makeup. You can use powder or cream-based makeup, but many people find powder easier to blend and work with. You can use special contouring and highlight makeup, or you can use matte eye shadow. Avoid anything with shimmer in it, or your skin will look shiny instead.[1]
    • For the shadow, choose a color that two to three shades darker than your natural skin tone.[2]
    • For the highlighter, choose a color that is two to three shades lighter than your natural skin tone.[2]
    • Consider your skin undertone. Some people will have a warmer/yellow-tinted undertone while others will have a cooler/pink-tinted undertone. When choosing your highlighting and contouring shadows, try to find something that also matches the undertone of your skin. Wearing the wrong one can look unnatural.
  3. Get the right tools and brushes. You will need some brushes to apply the makeup. If you are using a powder-based makeup, choose a soft-bristled brush. If you are using a cream-based makeup, choose a brush with stiffer bristles. Here are the specifics of what you will need:
    • An angled brush to apply the shadow and highlighter. This will also give you the most control.
    • A soft, blending brush to blend the two colors together. You can also use a blending sponge, if you find that easier to use.
  4. Apply some primer and foundation. The primer will help minimize any pores, and the foundation will give the contouring makeup something to grip onto. It will also make it easier to blend and even out skin tone.
    • Use your fingers to apply the primer and a makeup sponge or a foundation brush to apply the foundation.
    • Make sure that the foundation matches your face exactly. It is not a good idea to match foundation on your hand or wrist; these are usually a different shade than your face.
  5. Start by applying the highlighter. Use an angled brush to draw a thin line down the center of your nose. Try not to make the line too thick, or your nose will look wider than it actually is. Start at the top of your nose, and continue down to the tip. Do not curve under the tip, however.
  6. Blend and soften the highlight. Set aside the angled brush, and pick up the blending brush (or sponge. Gently run the brush down the center of your nose, to either side of the highlight. You are just softening any harsh edges; you are not widening the highlight or blending it out.[1]
    • Highlighting helps to lift the face up, drawing focus to these points. It also adds dimension to your face.
  7. Use shadow to slim down a wide nose. Use a clean, angled brush to draw the shadow from the inner corners of your eyes down towards the tip. Use a blending brush to blend the shadow upward towards the highlight.
    • If you want to slim down wide nostrils, then apply the shadow to the sides of your nose as well.
  8. Apply shadow under the tip of a long nose to make it look shorter. Start by drawing the shadow down either side of your nose. Then, extend the shadow under the tip of your nose, just above the nostrils. Be sure to blend the "bottom" shadow up towards the tip of your nose. This will "lift" your nose up and make it look shorter[3]
  9. Know how to work with a nose that is wider at the bottom, or bulbous. Begin by drawing the shadow from the inner corners of your eyes down towards the tip of your nose. Curve both lines under the tip to form a small "U" or downward arrow shape. Try not to make it too pointy, or your nose will look unnatural. Instead, try to match the width of the "U" to the width of your nose' bridge.[3]
  10. Use shadow to make a crooked nose appear straighter. Crooked noses can sometimes appear large, even if they are small to begin with. Draw the shadows down either side of your nose. Start at the inner corners of your eyes, and end just at the tip. Instead of following the contour of your nose, try to make the lines at straight as possible in the mirror.[3]
  11. Use a soft blending brush to blend your work. Run it down the sides of your nose, right between the highlight and shadow. This will soften any harsh lines. Next, feather the shadow towards your face. Do this by brushing across the side of your nose, starting just next to the highlight, and going towards the side of your face.
    • If you added shadow to the tip of your nose, be sure to soften it by swirling your brush around it.
    • If you added shadow to the sides of your nostrils, be sure to sweep your blending brush across them too.
  12. Dust on some setting powder over your nose and face using a large, fluffy powder brush or a kabuki brush. This will set the contouring makeup and prevent it from shifting. It will also help soak up any excess oil. Try to use a translucent powder, or one that matches your skin tone. Avoid using anything shimmer, or your nose will look oily. If you notice any excess powder on your nose, use a clean brush to lightly dust it off.

Drawing Attention Away From Your Nose

  1. Wear some bright or bold lipstick to draw attention away from your nose.[4] Outline your lip using a matching lip liner first, then fill your lips in with the lip liner. Apply the lipstick either directly from the tube or with a lipstick brush. Blot the lipstick with a piece of folded tissue, then apply a second coat, if necessary.
  2. Avoid wearing heavy eye makeup. This can draw attention towards the center of your face, which in turn can draw attention towards the center of your face. Instead, consider doing a more natural looking eye makeup using neutral colors.[4]
    • Shadows under the eyes can also draw attention towards the center of the face. Consider using some concealer to hide under-eye shadows.[4] Choose a color that matches your skin tone, and apply it using your ring finger. When blending the concealer, try to blend downwards, towards your cheeks.
  3. Use your hair to draw attention away from your nose. Big, curly hair will draw more attention than a big nose. Another thing to consider is which way you part your hair. If you part your hair straight down the center, you are directing the eye straight down towards your nose.[4] If you part your hair off to the side, you are drawing the eye away from the nose. Here are some other types of hairstyles that might draw attention away from your nose:[5]
    • Side parts
    • Layers that frame the face
    • Soft curls or waves
    • Loose, messy, or scruffy up-dos
    • Try adding more volume to the back of your head to make your nose look shorter.[4]
  4. Know what hair styles to avoid. Certain hairstyles draw the focus inward, towards the center of your face. For example, large bangs that cover up your eyes will prevent people from making eye contact with you. Since they can't look at your eyes, they will look at the next closest feature: your nose. Here are some other hairstyles that tend to draw attention to the nose:[5]
    • Center parts that draw the eye downward towards the center of the nose
    • Straight-across cuts
    • Sleek and straight styles
    • Tight ponytails
  5. Choose the right accessories. Try wearing some earrings or a necklace. The sparkle will draw attention away from your nose. You can also try wearing a hat. If you wear glasses, skip the small, thin frames, and go for the larger ones. They will naturally dwarf your nose and make it appear smaller.[5]

Getting Plastic Surgery

  1. Get-the-Best-Nose-Job. If you want a permanent way to make your nose smaller, you can invest in rhinoplasty. Plastic surgery, or rhinoplasty, can be used to remedy nose size and the following:[6]
    • Width of the nose and nostrils
    • Nose humps or dips
    • Bulbous, hooked, or upturned nose tips
    • Crookedness or asymmetry
  2. Know what to expect. The operation usually takes one to two hours, and is completed by a plastic surgeon under general or local anesthesia. As with most cosmetic surgeries, your medical history will be reviewed to determine whether or not you are a good candidate, or of any precautions need to be taken.
  3. Be aware that plastic surgery is not without risks. Like with all other surgeries, rhinoplasty comes with certain risks. You can experience any of the following problems during or after the surgery:[7]
    • Allergic reactions to medications, including the anesthesia
    • Troubles breathing
    • Bleeding
    • Bruising
    • Infection
  4. Understand that there is a recovery process. Patients usually can go home the same day, although sometimes they are required to stay at the hospital overnight. Full recovery can take several weeks.[7] During this recovery process, you may also experience bruising, puffiness, and swelling around your nose and eyes. It can take up to 14 days for this to go away.[8]
  5. Be aware that you may need to wear a nose splint for up to a week. It will look like a large pad or bandage. A doctor may prescribe you some medication to help with the swelling and pain. Some people find that a cold compress also helps.
  6. Be aware that some scarring may occur. Plastic surgery is usually without scarring, but if you are narrowing large nostrils, you may end up with small scars at the base of your nose. Sometimes, blood vessels may burst in your nose. This will result in tiny, red specks on your nose. These are permanent.[7]



  • Don't flare your nostrils. When you're angry, it's common for people to start flaring their nostrils, which can make your nose look bigger.
  • If you are really distressed about your nose, try to identify what you like about your nose. Perhaps it is too large for your liking, but it has a nice, angular shape that you like.
  • Learn about your family or genetic history. Sometimes knowing why you have a certain feature can help you accept it.
  • Try to be confident about your nose. Sometimes, being in-confident about something can draw more attention to it.
  • There are contouring kits that come with pre-selected shades of color so you don't have to buy them separately.
  • Get a lip or ear piercing. These can take away attention from your nose, and they're much cheaper than plastic surgery.
  • If you are having troubles making the shadow lines straight while contouring, place a Q-tip to either side of your nose. Position them so that they are touching the tip of your nose, and the top of your nose.[9]
  • Learn-to-Accept-Your-Nose. In fact, some people wish that they had a larger, more prominent nose. Whether you are a woman or a man, know that you do not need a small nose to appear beautiful or handsome.


  • Doing plastic surgery can be dangerous and come with many complications. It's important you discuss with your doctor what it is exactly that you expect to see about your nose.

Sources and Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 Byrdie, How to Contour Your Nose
  2. 2.0 2.1 Behind the Scenes Makeup, How to Make Your Nose Look Thinner
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Divine Caroline, Makeup Trick: How to Fake a Nose Job
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 So Feminine, How to Make Your Nose Look Smaller
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 She Knows, How to Make Your Nose Look Smaller
  6. Plastic Surgery, What is Rhinoplasty?
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 U.S. National Library of Medicine, Rhinoplasty
  8. WebMD, Rhinoplasty
  9. Nerdy Girl Makeup, How to Contour Your Nose

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