The Soft and Subtle Art of Highlighting & Contouring


Ever wonder how to maximize your best features while minimizing others? Are you looking through magazines and wondering why some of the celebrities faces look so sculpted?

Well if so ,the answer is highlighting and contouring ! Using  makeup to highlight and contour creates a sense of balance , adding definition to the face.

What is Highlighting and contouring?

Highlighting is a technique used on the higher planes of the face such as the cheekbones, brow bones, nose, chin, cupid’s bow of the lips, under the eyes, and inside the tear ducts.  Highlighting is done with a shade or two  lighter than your skin and is used to draw out or bring your features forward. The idea is to mimic the effect of light on the face.  I find I get a better result using creme makeup for the highlight rather than powder.

Contouring is the opposite of highlighting. A shade darker than your skin is used to hollow or recede, also to slim the face or make more angular.  The key to looking natural is to apply it softly and in the areas that shadows naturally hit your face. You can use either creme makeup or powder for contouring. Matte makeups are best , no shimmers for contouring.

Here is what I’ve done :  light marks = highlight  and  dark marks = contour


The Steps;

1. Prime your face, eyes and  and apply your foundation as  you normally would.

{Here I used Smashox Photo Finish  Face Primer retail $36  , Laura Mercier eye canvas retail $26 and Makeup Forever HD foundation retail $42, all sold at}



2. Highlight :

Use a angular brush to apply your  cheek bone highlighter this  will create a nice lift . I do all my highlighting before contouring because I use cream and cream always goes before any powder.  After her cheek bone I went on to highlight her brow bone, tear duct area, center of her eyelid and forehead. Once done applying highlighter be sure  to blend it out. You can use a wedge sponge .

{Shown below I used an angled brush by Royal that I bought from the paint store, Japonesque makes a stiff angled foundation brush that would be perfect for this as well retail $24.50 and for the highlight I used Kryolan Dermacolor Light Cream Mini-Palett retail $35  all sold at }



3. Contour:

Lightly Brush on the  contour in crease of the eyes , edge of nose ,around hairline , hollows of cheeks and under the neck.  Measure a straight line from the top of your ear down toward your lip,thats the path you should be following to contour your cheeks . Remember to Blend , Blend, Blend!

{For the eyes I used a Laura Mercier Crease brush retail $29.00 sold at and around hollows of cheeks I used Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled brush retail $17.00 sold at . I contoured with MAC sculpting powders retail $15.50}




4. Add your blush and rest of your makeup and there you go!


Author: Danielle Minnella


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