It’s pretty common in today’s beauty world to see the overdone contour and highlight look like the picture above. Some beauty influencers try to achieve that flawless, Instagram filtered look by painting their faces for the back row. This is one of my least favorite Beauty Trends and it’s time for it to stop! No more contouring like a Drag Queen to go run errands!
Unless you’re an actor on stage or a Drag Queen, contouring and highlighting should be about enhancing your natural beauty and features, not covering them up. In this post I’m going to share some simple steps to achieve an everyday contour look that enhances your features. If you are new to contouring and highlighting this will be a perfect post to help get you started.
What is Contouring and Highlighting?
Contouring is using darker makeup to create shadows on the face that soften features and create depth. These can be features that you want to pull away from view or soften and hide them a little. For instance, you can use contouring to slim a nose and to soften a strong jaw line.
Highlighting is using light to bring those features forward that you would like to be more noticeable. For most people this is a way to make the cheekbones more prominent.
1. Contouring and Highlighting Products
There are typically two types of contouring and highlighting products you can use: cream and powder products. You may often see people on YouTube using both. You absolutely do not need to use both to achieve an everyday look. Most of these YouTubers are painting their faces under harsh and bright lighting so they want the colors to stand out. In my opinion this is too much for everyday and I recommend using one or the other.
Cream products are better for drier skin types, as the creams can often shift on oily skin causing a muddy look to your contour. Although there are some great cream to powder or cream to matte products. Setting your creams with a setting powder can help then stay put a bit longer as well.
I prefer using contouring and highlighting powders. These have a more matte finish, work better on oilier skins and tend to stay put and wear longer than most creams.
2. Consider Your Skin Tone
The Beauty community really needs to stop going too dark or too light with the contouring. It’s pretty common to see people using contouring products that are way too dark or using too light or even white concealers to highlight.
For contouring I recommend using a shade that is one to two shades darker than your own skin tone. I really like using bronzers for contouring as it also adds some warmth to the skin.
When highlighting you can use a concealer that is one to two shades lighter than your natural skin color, but don’t go any lighter. Concealer is meant to conceal! I recommend using highlighting powders to add that glow and enhance features, instead of too light concealer.
3. Application Steps
How and where you apply the products will be determined based on your face shape and features. Take a look at your face without makeup and think about what features you want to soften and which ones you want to highlight.
- Apply your foundation and concealer as normal.
- To enhance your cheekbones first create a hollow underneath the cheekbone.
- Suck in your cheekbones and swipe your contour color under the cheekbone.
- I like to work down from the temple to just about an inch or two to the corner of the mouth or to the center of the cheek.
- To slim the bridge of your nose, dust your contour color down the sides of the nose blending down to the tip of your nose and up towards your brows or even blending into the transition color of your eyeshadows.
- To soften a jawline, swipe your contour color just along the jawline and blend downwards onto the neck.
- Highlight where you want light to hit the face and pull features forward, such as top of cheeks, brow bone, center of the chin, bridge and tip of nose and the center of the forehead.
- Add your cheek color and any other makeup you may be applying to finish your look.
- Set and diffuse with your setting powder, see the video below for more on diffusing your contour and highlight.
- Make sure all products are seamlessly blended in and blended together so there are no harsh lines to the look.
I hope this post helped you learn a bit more about contouring and highlighting and how to use it for an everyday look. Help me banish the beauty trend of too much makeup! If you need more information or tips for application, check out the tutorial video below.