Top Tips For Contouring And Highlighting

Friday, 9 May 2014

When it comes to highlighting and contouring, there's a fine line between enhancing your best features and painting on an entirely new face. Here's how to bring out your cheekbones, slim your nose, and sculpt your face subtly.

Get The Right Products

A matte shading cream or powder and a highlighter are the two most important. I like to contour with a cream because you can pat it on with your fingers and it has a natural finish that doesn't look like makeup. If you're more comfortable with powder, choose a sheer formula, like Benefit Hoola, which gives a soft contour. While the formula you use is up to you, make sure you're consistent. That means using all cream or all powder products—from your foundation to your blush. Layering different textures can cause a caked-on effect, and it won't blend as seamlessly.

Consider Your Skin Tone

Anything that stands out too much against skin is going to look obvious. If you're fair, use a contouring cream or powder that's one shade darker than your skin tone and stay away from anything too red or orange, like most bronzers.

Lose The Glitter

Highlighter should be almost the color of your skin, with just a hint of shine. Avoid anything with noticeable sparkles, which can look chalky or just plain unnatural. Nars Copacabana Illuminator a glistening light pink for fair skin or the Illuminator shade Laguna, a shimmery golden brown for dark skin. These formulas mimic your skin's texture so it just looks more believable. If you have fair skin, a pearly shade works well, but those with medium and dark complexions need a warmer golden highlighter for a glow that looks natural, not pasty.

Pick The Right Tools

Cream highlighter? Use your fingers. They warm the makeup so it melts and blends more seamlessly into your skin. If you're working with powder, use a fan brush I recommend the Smashbox #22 Brush, because there are so few bristles and they're soft, you're less likely to overdo it. The shape of the brush also lets you really control the placement.

Know Where To Shade

Want instant cheekbones? Suck in your cheeks (It's the best way to find the hollows). Then, working from the tops of the hollows inward, shade along and just beneath the sunken area, stopping about an inch from the corner of your mouth, then blend well with a brush or a sponge. To slim your nose blend two lines of the shading cream or powder from the start of your brows down the sides of the bridge of your nose with a small shadow brush and blend really well with fingers or a brush. 
Remember, you only want to use a slight amount of product when contouring

Highlight Strategically

Highlighting is especially important when you're contouring because it brings the light back into your face. But once again, you don't want to overdo it. Most people slap on too much highlighter and its not a pretty look. 
Tap your fingers up and down your cheekbones, then dab whatever's left over on your brow bones and just one tap on your cupids bow. Same applies with a brush, only go in the product once, don't keep applying more and more that's when things get a little much!

Know Your Face Shape

Top Row Left to Right; Diamond Face Shape, Round Face Shape, Heart Face Shape.
Bottom Row; Triangle Face Shape, Oblong Face Shape
Circles = Highlight
Other = Contour

Not all of the rules of highlighting and contouring are universal; it's also important to keep your face shape in mind. For example, If you have a round face, contouring under your cheekbones can make it appear smaller which is great. But if you have a narrow face, it could make it look even longer than what it is.

Blend, Blend, Blend

Blending is the most important thing. Even if you've gone overboard, blending with a sponge, like the RT Miracle Complexion Sponge can save you so always keep one on hand.

Don't Forget Blush!

Leaving cheeks completely colorless can have a flattening, zombie effect. Go with a creamy soft peach or pink if you have fair skin or soft plum for darker complexions. 

Until next time, Bye!

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