Let’s talk a little contour and highlight, shall we? I know a lot of people, (including myself) who are afraid to tackle this step in their makeup routine but the truth is, everyone NEEDS to contour–whether a little bronzer or all out Kim Kardashian contour, it is a must! Defining certain angles of your face and brightening up other regions will make your face appear more defined, illuminated and give the illusion that you have “shed a couple of pounds”. Solely applying foundation to our faces without adding bronzer makes it look flat rather than dimensional.
First, what exactly is contouring and highlighting? Up until 2 years ago, I NEVER contoured my face because I simply didn’t know much about it. Highlighting and contouring is simply creating light shadows (to accentuate certain areas of the face where the light naturally hits) and dark shadows (to mimic slimmer bone structure) on the face and body. I promise it’s a lot easier than sounds!
Highlight: Highlighting is the opposite of contour, instead of creating shadows, we want to create brightness and light. If done correctly, you can make certain features more prominent while creating the most gorgeous glow in all the right places. The most typical places to highlight are the center of the forehead, bridge of the nose, cupids bow, chin, under-eye and towards the cheekbones, below the jaw line, above the arch of your brows, inner tear duct and the brow bone.
Contour: Contouring is practically plastic surgery at your finger tips, ladies! You are basically adding shadows on your face to diminish or recess certain areas. The most common areas to contour are: your forehead to make it appear smaller, cheekbones to lift, sides of nose to make it skinnier and/or shorter, around the jaw line to avoid the dreaded double chin and below the bottom lip to make it look plump and full.
Now that we have pinpointed what and where to contour and highlight, let’s get into actually doing so!
What you will need:
-foundation that matches your skin
-concealer (or foundation) 3-4 times lighter than your skin for highlighting
-concealer (or foundation) 3-4 darker than your skin of contouring
-makeup setting powder
-angled contour brush
-stippling brush/Beauty Blender
When playing around with contouring and highlighting in the beginning, I used ALL drugstore store make-up/brushes. You do NOT need any high-end makeup or the exact same things I used in order achieve this look.
If you have problematic/blemished skin like I do, I like to start off with a clean base. Before applying my concealer, I primed my skin with Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer then applied a VERY light layer of foundation. Since we will be applying more layers later in the routine, you want to keep this first layer of makeup to the extreme minimum to avoid being cakey. After the first layer is applied, I take a concealer brush and apply my concealer in an upside down triangle under my eye area & bring it up to my temples. I also highlight the bridge of my nose, above my brow arch, brow bone, cupids bow, underneath the jaw line, and sides of lips. Once blended, these areas will have a beautiful glow when the natural light hits your face.
Don’t worry about being messy, everything will be blended in the end :)
Before this step, some people like to go ahead and blend their highlight in. I like to keep my highlight on and blend everything together towards the end. It’s just easier in my opinion but whatever tickles your fancy!
I then take my same concealer brush and apply my darker foundation to my forehead, temples, sides of nose, hallows of cheeks, jaw line and underneath the bottom lip. You can tell that I have a narrow, long forehead. I want to make my hairline appear lower therefore I will contour at the top only. I also contoured my nose to make it slimmer and my bottom lip to make it look more plump-watch out Kylie Jenner, here I come!
This is probably one of the most important steps in highlighting and contouring- blend, blend, BLEND! I take my stippling brush or Beauty Blender and go over the highlighted areas first then the contoured. You want to spend the most time on this step–it is essential to blend everything together so there are no harsh lines on your face.
You can make this the last step if you are satisfied with the coverage. But if you have oily skin and know your makeup will slip and slide by the end of the day, or simply want more coverage you can set all the areas that were highlighted and contoured with a powder.
Setting your makeup will not only intensify the look but will make your makeup last longer. If I know I’m having a girls night out or plan on taking pictures, I always set makeup with a powder. For a daytime look, I encourage you not to set your makeup unless you have oily skin, sometimes it can come off a bit too harsh. I like to take my Bare Minerals READY SPF 20 matte foundation in Golden Deep which is 4 shades darker than my natural skin color and LIGHTLY go over my contoured areas. Use a light hand when doing this, sometimes your contour can appear rather muddy if too much is applied (yikes)! If you have a translucent powder, I advice you to set your highlighted areas with that rather than a powder highlight-it will look more natural and less glittery. I am OBSESSED with Banana Powder which I have been using to set my highlight with (review on Ben Nye Banana Powder coming soon)!
And here is the finished look! Please be mindful of how many layers of makeup we are applying. When starting out, use a light hand and less makeup, you can build your coverage a lot easier than taking off a cake face. Remember, less is always more :)