How To: Contour and Highlight Your Face With Makeup

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Highlight and ContourIf you've ever wished you could change your face shape or camouflage problem areas such as a large nose, the answer is as simple as learning how to highlight and contour with makeup. By using bronzer, blush, concealer and highlighter, you can subtly alter how your face looks. It may take a few tries to get the exact look you want, but the process itself is fairly simple and fun!


Before you start to contour and highlight, you'll need the right makeup. Gather the following products:

  • Contour makeup – Use a product labeled for contouring or use a cream, liquid or powder foundation or concealer that's one shade darker than your usual shade. Powders are easier to blend, but creams and liquids give more dramatic results.
  • Bronzer – Bronzer can add more dimension to your face and even work as a combination contour and highlighting product. Some experts suggest using a darker bronzer versus a concealer or foundation for contouring.
  • Highlighter – Use a cream or powder based highlighter. If you do not have a highlighter handy, you can use a concealer or foundation that's a shade lighter than your usual shade.
  • Concealer and foundation brushes – You can always use your fingers, but we recommend these brushes for better application and blending.

The Basics

One simple rule to remember is highlighting tends to follow a C shape over your entire face, while contouring follows an E shape. Always start by contouring and follow up with highlighter. Use the following steps for a base look:

  1. Apply your usual foundation.
  2. Outline the hairline with contouring makeup using a makeup brush.
  3. Follow the line to just under the cheekbones. Suck in your cheeks and trace the underside of the cheekbones. Remember the E shape.
  4. Complete the E shape by going back to the edge of the jaw line near your ear and tracing the jaw line to the outer edge of your chin.
  5. Apply highlighter in a C shape just inside the contouring line from hairline to just above the cheekbone.
  6. Blend both carefully using a foundation brush.
  7. Trace both and the cheek area (for better blending) with powder bronzer.

Trouble Areas

Most people want to contour and highlight to hide or accent certain features. Use the following techniques to tackle your trouble areas:

  • Nose – Slim your nose by contouring along each side and highlighting the center. Blend very well.
  • Wide Forehead – Contour a little extra at the temples and blend well. This slims the forehead.
  • Cheekbones – Create sleek cheekbones by contouring the hollows of the cheek and highlight along the top of your cheekbones.
  • Chin – Get the perfect chin highlight the center of the chin and the area between the lips and nose. Contour along the outer edges of the chin.

As the saying goes, "Practice makes perfect." Spend some time experimenting with different products, shades and brushes until you get the look you want. Soon you’ll be contouring and highlighting like a makeup pro!

By Jen Mathews
DERMAdoctor Staff Writer

This content is sponsored by DERMAdoctor. The author receives compensation for its creation. All content is the legal copyright of DERMAdoctor, Inc, and it may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.

The information provided is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal or other professional advice.

This post was posted in Beauty, Makeup, Blog Posts and was tagged with bronzer, concealer, makeup

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