Everyone understood that contour and highlight are the most two important techniques in makeup. A makeup technique recently made famous by celebrities like Kim Kardashian, to create light and dark areas to sculpt and shape the face in a pleasing way.  Using contouring and highlighting, you can manipulate the shape of your face to appear more sculptured. Contour and highlight comes in 3 different types; Cream, Liquid and Powder.

So anyway, I did my research about Contouring and Highlighting as many of you requested for it. And I’ve found the simple yet the easiest methods to contour!

Say hello to Alex Cassie. A professional MUA (Makeup Artist), educator, and Benefit Beauty Artist working in Sacramento & the Bay Area. She specialize in film, print, editorial, glamour, & special FX. So read up on what she has to say!

Picture of Determining Your Face Shape

Before beginning your highlighting and contouring, you must first determine your face shape.  Faces can be oval, rectangular, round, heart-shaped, oblong, diamond-shaped, or triangular (including inverted triangular).  To determine your face shape,  pull all of your hair back tightly and examine your face in the mirror, looking for the following attributes.

A measuring tape may be used to measure the length and width of the face for a more precise determination.

  • OVAL: Oval-shaped faces have a length equal to 1.5 times the width of the face, with forehead and jaw equal widths.
  • RECTANGULAR: Rectangular faces are 1/3 longer than the width of the face and have strong angles on the forehead and at the jawline.
  • ROUND: Round faces are as wide as they are long, but with soft, rounded edges.
  • HEART-SHAPED: Heart-shaped faces have the most width at the cheek, eye, and forehead areas, with a narrow to pointy chin.  Sometimes they will also have a high forehead.
  • OBLONG: Oblong faces are as long as it is wide.  Straight sides, a high forehead, and larger than average distance between the bottom of the lip and the tip of the chin are common attributes of the oblong face.
  • DIAMOND-SHAPED: Diamond-shaped faces are characterized by a narrow forehead and a narrow chin with the widest point at the cheeks.
  • TRIANGULAR (and INVERTED TRIANGULAR): Triangular faces are wide at the forehead and narrowest at the jawline; inverted triangular faces are widest at the jawline and narrowest at the forehead.Determining your face shape will help you decide where to place your highlights and contours and what features you’d like to define or downplay.

You can use many different products to highlight and contour. For a dramatic highlight/contour, use a cream, stick, or foundation. For a more natural look, use powder.  Highlight colors can range from matte white to reflective gold; contour colors from taupe to chocolate and should mimic the natural shadow of the individual’s skin tone. Several different shades of each can be used to add dimension.

I receive more requests for tips on highlighting and contouring than anything else, and there are several different ways to achieve that look. I’ve previously done a highlighting and contouring tutorial using liquid and cream formulations and thought it would be nice if I could show you a different method. You can apply this either on top of a cream/liquid contour for a really defined contour, or simply on top of your normal foundation for a more subtle look.

  • Step 1: Apply Powder Highlight

Picture of Powder Highlight

After prepping and priming your skin and applying foundation, start by applying your highlight. For lighter skin tones or a more prominent highlight, I use Ben Nye’s Super White powder; for medium to dark skin tones I use Banana powder; and for very dark skin tones I use Topaz. You can also mix these powders together for a custom highlight– for example, I usually use a mix of Super White and Banana on myself and a mix of Banana and Topaz on all but the darkest skin tones. You can find these colors in pressed versions quite often as well– the Anastasia Contour/Highlight palette is my absolute favorite but many brands make excellent versions as well. If you’re using a pressed powder you’re going to apply using a flat blush brush and a patting motion instead of a sponge and a stippling motion.

I use a damp (DAMP NOT WET! like 1-2 spritzes of water from a small spray bottle!) cosmetic sponge to pick up the loose powder and stipple it on. It will look super cakey at first– don’t worry, we’re going to dust off excess powder and blend later. Apply your highlight to: under eyes sweeping up to the temple, cheeks, bridge of the nose, the forehead above the eyebrows, and the chin. You can also apply around the mouth area if you’d like.

Side note: you’ll notice that I’m applying my foundation and powder after I’ve applied my eye makeup. I always do this to avoid any fallout; however, you can also achieve this by applying your eye makeup while your powder highlight sets and any eye shadow fallout will be brushed away with the excess powder. Or, if you’re super confident, feel free to apply eye makeup after your face is done.

  • Step 2: Apply Powder Contour

Picture of Apply Powder Contour

Using a fan brush, angled powder brush, or small blush brush (I like the Real Techniques Contour Brush or a large fluffy eye shadow brush), apply your powder contour. Use either a cool-toned matte bronzer, a cool-toned matte beige eye shadow 2 shades darker than your natural skin tone, or a powder designed specifically for contouring. Contour: the sides of your nose, both temples, the hollow of your cheekbone, and your jawline from next to your ear to halfway towards your chin.

  • Step 3: Blend and Buff

Picture of Blend and Buff

Dust excess powder off using a fan brush or very loose powder brush. Buff and blend your powder highlight into the skin using a buffing brush such as the Real Techniques buffing brush or a kabuki brush. This will allow you to remove any harsh lines and make your highlight and contour appear more natural.

  • Step 4: Powder and Set

Picture of Powder and Set

Powder your face to set your highlight and contour. I like to use a translucent powder such as RCMA’s No-Color Powder, Ben Nye Neutral Set, or a loose HD powder for a super-matte finish. To avoid disturbing your highlight and contour, shake a little loose powder into a powder puff and gently but quickly pat it into your face. Fun fact: this technique is the origin of the term “beat that face”!

  • Step 5: Voila!

You’ve highlighted and contoured! This is a much faster way to highlight and contour than with creams/liquids; however, it will fade faster. For more staying power, layer this over a cream/liquid contour. For added sparkle, add a touch of shimmery neutral eye shadow to your highlight powder before applying. If you’re interested in how to get my eye look from this tutorial, check out my St. Patrick’s Day tutorial!

So ladies, what do you think? Are you able to contour and highlight better now? Leave a comment below what’s your say!



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