Contouring and highlighting is a great way to visually minimise and enhance facial features. This is one of the most difficult makeup techniques to master as it is very obvious when it goes wrong. So why would you contour and highlight in the first place? Well it an can make your face look thinner, cheek bones more prominent, and nose slimmer.
There are many different products you can use to contour. For a more natural look (and my personal favourite) you can use two different shades of foundation: one a shade lighter than your skin colour and one a shade darker. You can use powders, a matte cool toned brown and a light powder with fine shimmer particles. If using a powder highlighter make sure it is not glittery or has large particles of shimmer or has a metallic finish if you want to keep it fairly natural. The final way is to use liquids or creams, this often has the most natural finish as the skin is naturally dewy and creams give the same finish. Although I love this option is is usually not the best for people who have oily skin that are looking for longevity with their makeup.
Our favourite products are: NYX blush in Taupe, Sleek contouring and highlighting palette in Light, Benefit liquid highlighter in High Beam, MAC mineral skin finish in Soft and Gentle, Benefit Hoola and Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel
Once you get the general concepts of contouring then it can be applied to any face and you can decide how much or little you want to visually alter your face shape. So what are these basic concepts?
– if you apply a dark matte colour to any part of your face you are going to make that part less prominent and it appears to be further back or minimises the area. Make sure the colour is matte as a shimmery colour does the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve
– if you apply a light shimmery colour to any part of your face you are going to make that part more prominent and it appears to be further forward or enhances the area . A shimmery colour reflects the light which enhances the effect of the highlighter.
It really depends on whether you are using a powder or a liquid. For powders I would recommend a small kabuki brush for contour and a small fluffy brush for highlighting (something like a MAC 224). For liquids and creams I would recommend a pointed dense synthetic brush (like the Real Techniques contour brush) for the contour colour and for the highlighter I would recommend a small synthetic fluffy brush (like the Sigma P82). The reason I would suggest synthetic brushes for liquid or cream products is that the bristles are not damaged by the product and real hair brushes sometimes are and they are more likely to leave the product patchy on your face.
Now keeping all of that in mind where should you apply it? Well the most feminine features on the face are our high cheekbones, slender nose and small foreheads, so that is where we want to place our contour and highlighter.
Cheekbones: place a contour colour under where your cheekbones are, the easiest way to find this if you’re a beginner is to pull a fishy face and place the colour in the hollow that starts at the top of your eye and goes to the corner of your mouth. It is important to not apply the contour all the way to your mouth but instead stop where your eye starts. For highlighter you apply it on the top of the cheekbones and blend it towards the hairline. Again don’t apply the highlighter to close to the nose but instead start the highlighter at the otter edge of your iris and bring it up to the hairline. (Brown is contour, pink is highlighter)
Nose: place the contour colour on the edges of the nose and keep the bridge of the nose free of product, make sure you use a very light hand. With the highlight colour place down the bridge of the nose but stop it before the nostrils as it will just make the nose look oily if product is placed in that area. (Brown is contour, pink is highlighter)
Forehead: this technique is often used when wanting to bronze up the appearance of your face but can also be used to further shape the face. Using the contour colour place it on the temples and sides of the forehead and leave the central part free of product. You can also place highlighter in this central region but I would not recommend this as I believe it looks quite unnatural when placed in this area.
Let us know how this works for you and any of your contouring and highlighting techniques