Contouring and Highlighting THE FULL RUNDOWN
I made a video showing how I normally contour my own face. This is helpful to show how you apply and blend, BUT if your face is a very different shape to mine and/or you want something different out of contouring this blog post if for you.
Contouring and highlighting can be used to define the existing shadows and high points of your face, as well as for adding the illusion of shadows and high points that are not naturally there!
This means you can alter the shape of your face to an extent. Common places to contour (create shadow) are the jawline, under the cheekbones, the temples and forehead, the sides and tip of the nose, and the corners or bottom of the chin. You might look at your face and want to accentuate your cheekbones and jaw, and leave the rest alone. Or you might just feel like making your chin a little smaller. Any combination will work depending on what YOU want. You can contour differently depending on how you feel like looking. I’ll explain below how someone folks like to contour to look more femme or more masc- of course a combination is always good too!
Unless someone asks me to, I don’t contour noses as the norm because I don’t want to normalize it! I always highlight the nose with a concealer, and sometimes also with a shimmer.
I think the best way to learn is by practice, with any kind of makeup you need to get used to it on your face before you can figure out what you like. One way to prevent a big mess up is to keep your cheekbone contour short- d not bring it down to your mouth, but end it where your eye begins. I’ll first show you on my face the ways I do my cheekbones. My go to one is the diagonal contour which follows my natural cheekbone (only slightly higher to give a slight lift) or the bronze/contour which is a diffused look that gives a bronze and contour in one go. For this I like to use a neutral colour that isn’t too orange or too grey but a true brown (like LA Girl Toast), for any other contour I’ll use a cool tone like either of the Topshop cream contours or my Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kit’s cooler browns. In all these illustrations I’m showing you where you apply product before blending it. With cheekbone contour always blend backwards, towards the hairline to avoid your contour bleeding into your highlight or looking too low on your face.
With this diagonal contour you can see it follows my natural bone structure, just adding definition.
This more diffused, wider Bronzing Contour will give an overall bronze to the face AND add extra cheekbone definition.
This Straight Contour gives an extra lift to the cheekbone
A Curved Contour makes the face look fuller, accentuating the roundness of the cheeks while also adding cheekbone definition.
MASCULINE VS FEMININE CONTOURING
Firstly, none of these are hard and fast binary rules. Many masculine have a round small chin and many feminine people have beautiful square jaws, for example, and this doesn’t make them any less masculine or feminine! You are who you are. What I’m demonstrating is the go-to ways that people tend to ‘masculinize’ or ‘feminize’ the face. I’ll be using two models: Tyson Beckford and Priyanka Chopra (because it’s much more useful to see techniques on a range of faces than just on mine, also they are beautiful people wow).
Generally feminine contouring will round out the angles of the face, accentuate the fullness of the lips and lift the cheekbones and brow bone. Here’s how I would feminize both Tyson and Priyanka
Masculine contouring usually sharpens the angles of the face, makes the jaw look larger, the forehead squarer.
For advice on brushes for contouring check out my video on face brushes by clicking here!