Everyone has something they don’t like about their face. (OK, maybe not Alessandra Ambrosio.) Contouring is an excellent solution. By “contour”, I mean to change the visual impression of the shapes of your features. Many of us unwittingly contour every day: wing-tipped eyeliner creates the illusion of more angled, exotic eyes, bronzer suggests higher cheekbones, etc. Contouring is a daunting process that most makeup neophytes will probably shy away from, but it’s one of the most powerful tools available in makeup. Highlighting pairs neatly with contouring by drawing light and attention to more flattering areas. In this How-to, I’ll discuss how to cast the right light and shadow on your face.
Step 1: Highlight
Apply any liner, mascara and liquid foundation you’ll be wearing. The important thing in this step is to only use your creme or liquid products, since powder can create a messy paste of splotches if liquid is applied after it. This look is all about shine, so pick your shiniest neutral products since we don’t want to go overboard trying to add color.
Since we’re starting with liquids, most of what we’re using will be highlighter. Start with something shimmery like Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Face Illuminator – it’s better than straight-up shine, as the glittery particles in it will catch more light. Using a clean lip brush, apply to the following areas (or please see the amazingly convenient diagram provided for you):
- the underside of your eyebrow (blend down and avoid brow hairs)
- the inner corners of your eyes
- the inner top edge of your eyebrows near your T-zone
- the tip of your nose (blend up the bridge)
- the top of your cheekbones to the outside of your eyes in a “C” shape
- your Cupid’s bow (that little dip above your top lip)
The Cupid’s bow highlight is very flattering and more women should do it on a daily basis. You’ll notice I recommended no highlighter on the apples of the cheeks. Why? I’ve got something better. BeneFit BeneTint ($28) is a liquid blush that adds a hint of color and shine, and since this look would be hurt by a dark powdery cheek color, it fits perfectly. You don’t need a lot (trust me, you’ll look like a geisha); just swish the color on with a few short brush strokes on each cheek and blend with fingertips.
Step 2: Contour
Now that you’re looking shiny, let’s do some contouring. Use a liquid/creme eyeshadow for your top lid in a color between your skin color and deep brown, i. e. light brown, gold, mauve, or a blush color. For the crease, use a dark brown liquid eyeshadow – in general, powder in the crease is bad as that’s an area that tends to spread anyway. Use my drawing as a reference on shaping the color.
Now we’re done with the liquid and can move on to powders. Be careful choosing and applying a finishing powder as it will reduce the young-looking shine of this look. VS’s powder duo will do just fine – take one of those brushes you never use (you know, too big for eyeshadow, too small for blush?) and apply it where you need any concealer or foundation to stay, like over undereye circles or blemishes. Try to leave it alone other than that.
Finally, let’s bronze. Sweep BeneFit bronzer in Hoola over your cheekbones as shown in the picture with a flexible blush brush (don’t use a Kabuki, they cake terribly). Then get out a small eyeshadow brush (we need hair/bristles, not the little pads please) and get ready to do some real contouring. This is really dependent on the woman. I myself hate the shape of my nose, so I bronze the outside mushroom-y edges of it to play down the roundness. If you think your face is too round, dab the bronzer at your hairline and temples with the aforementioned useless brush. Likewise, if your jawline isn’t defined enough, brush gently on the underside of your chin and along the jaw back to your ears. Use your finishing powder to blend – the shine will help to blur out any uneven color that might come from your contouring.
Finish with a very light natural pink lip color – we want nothing intense with this look. Your skin is the star. Enjoy it!
top image source: stormmodels.com
11 thoughts on “How To Highlight & Contour Your Face with Makeup”
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This is a TOTALLY AWESOME guide on highlighting and contouring – one of the best text ones I have ever seen. Great job and thank you!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by.
Great tips! thanks for sharing us.