Highlighting and contouring is very much an optional step in putting on your make-up. The face shape that is considered the most balanced is oval, and make-up artists highlight and contour to create this ideal shape, i.e. highlight – to lighten/brighten and to bring forward, and contour – to darken and push back.
Highlighting and Contouring is also a follow-up to Part 4: Make-Up Application (Tools to Use for Perfect Foundation Coverage) – part of a nine-part make-up series.
Which Colours to Use
- It is important to use the right colours for highlighting – too light or too heavy handed will just look wrong!
- Best highlighting colours are:
- Off-whites (pure white can be too harsh), cream, pinks, gold or yellow. Ideally colours that are at least one shade (or a few shades lighter) than the skin tone (preferably with the same undertone as your foundation colour)
- Best contouring colours are:
- Brownish pinks, reds, grays and browns/oranges (i.e. bronzers), and any colours that are at least one (or a few shades) darker than the skin tone (preferably with the same undertone as your foundation colour)
What Products to Use
As with foundations, there are a many products you can use to highlight and contour, for example:
- Liquid, cream of powdered foundations
- Pigmented loose, pressed or cream powders
What you use essentially comes down to what you are comfortable using. I personally use a mixture of foundations, creams and pressed powders to highlight and contour my clients.
How to Highlight and Contour
I really could not do justice to this post by trying to explain in text how to highlight and contour. Above is a picture that outlines where highlighting and contouring is generally done. Please do bear in mind that each face is different, and the highlighting and contouring will differ from person to person.
The main things to note are that by highlighting and contouring you are trying to achieve:
- A well defined oval face shape
- A thinner or sculpted face (if that is your aim)
- Warmth and life to the face (sometimes applying a full face of foundation can make the face look too “flat”)
I have to admit that I don’t contour my face on a daily basis. I’m not a morning person and lucky to manage to put on my make-up correctly! I use a bit of blush to add warmth and slightly contour my face.
Do you have any tricks when it comes to highlighting and contouring? If so, please feel free to share in the comments section!