Thursday, 21 June 2012

How to: Contour and highlight

When it comes to makeup i generally stick to the same old routine day in and day out, sometimes i go without mascara or eyeliner but one thing i always make sure to do is contour and highlight.

By contouring and highlighting you can add shape and dimension to your face to enhance or 'correct' your features, many people (like myself) mainly use this technique to slim down their facial features.

As you can see from the rather fetching photograph above i have shown the areas which are typically contoured (in brown) and highlighted (in yellow). Not everybody will need to work on all of these areas, you should know your own face shape and have a general idea of where will need shaping/enhancing and which areas don't. Personally i miss out the contouring of the nose and the highlighting of the chin, cupids bow and forehead and focus mainly on creating more prominent cheekbones as i was cursed blessed with such a chubby, baby face!


To contour you need a matte bronzer or a pressed powder which is around 3 shades darker than your skin tone. I personally use the Sleek Contour kit in 'Medium'.
To apply this i use a blush/contour brush or the E.L.F Complexion brush, however many other brushes work just as well depending on what you prefer to use and how big or small the areas you are using it for are.
The contour is applied to the temples, the side of the nose and the hollows of your cheeks, it can also be applied just under your jawline.
To find the hollows of your cheeks, suck them in and make a face like a fish so your cheekbones are more visible, the hollows are the area just under the cheekbones. Alternatively imagine an invisible line running from the top of your ear to the edge of your mouth.
Start with a light hand and build it up, it is easier to add more colour than to take it away.


Highlighters come in various formulas from powders to creams and liquids. Some have shimmer and some have more of a sheen. I personally again use the Sleek Contour kit in 'Medium' or  Benefit High Beam however the high beam is a bit to pink for my skin tone really.
Lighter skin tones usually look better with pinker toned highlighters whereas darker skin tones should go for the more golden tones.
Depending on which highlighter you choose will determine what you use to apply it. I tend to use my (clean) fingers to apply powder highlighter and the high beam as i just find it easier and more precise for my personal taste.
The highlight is applied to all the high points of your face as they are the areas you want to accentuate the most, these include the centre of your nose, the cupids bow, chin, under eyes and below the arch of your brows. You can also highlight under the contouring of your cheeks (not pictured) to emphasise these further.

If you are wondering where your blush fits into this whole situation, see that blank area between your cheek contouring and highlighting? thats the apples of your cheeks and thats where your blush should be. Make sure everything is blended well ( the cheek areas should be blended upwards!) and you are good to go.

I hope this has been helpful to some of you, i would love to know some of your favourite products for contouring and highlighting.



  1. Want to try this but am sure I'll mess it up, does it take practice to get it right?

    Summer Lovin'

    1. Practise makes perfect but its not that hard to achieve.
      As long as you bend it all out well and dont add too much colour you should be fine:)

  2. the picture is really good, it makes it easier to understand :)You have a new follower!