The Basics of Contouring and Highlighting
By Quinn E.
Ever wanted to contour or highlight but had no idea where to start? With the help of a little makeup and this guide, contouring your face will seem like a piece of cake.
Before we can begin with the how and where of contouring and highlighting, we must begin by determining what type of product you want to use. Essentially, you will want to use a mostly matte color a few shades darker than your skintone to contour, and a product a few shades lighter for highlighting. The type of product can be either cream or powder based on personal preference, and for highlighting the finish should also be whatever your personal preference is.
When you contour, you are attempting to create an artificial shadow on your face. This process will make the area you contour appear slimmer or sunken in. While everyone does have at least some natural contour on certain points of their face, contouring with makeup will deepen these shadows, making other features stand out. Generally, you will want to contour under your cheekbones, on the sides of your nose, your forehead, and temples. To find the natural hollows of your cheekbones, many people find it easier to suck in around their mouth and purse their lips, however in some cases it can be more flattering to contour slightly higher. You will also don’t want to extend the contour too far out, as it can make your complexion look muddy. A good rule to follow from my experience is to mentally draw a line from the edge of your eyes and not to extend the contour out farther than that.
When you highlight, you are attempting to make a feature more prominent by making it look as though the light is hitting it more than the rest of your face. Generally you will want to highlight under your eyes and downwards to the tops of your cheekbones, as well as the bridge of your nose, your brow bone, cupids bow, and chin. While a product with shimmer will increase the effects, it is not to everyone’s taste. In the case you do not like shimmery highlights, go for something with either a very fine shimmer that will be less apparent, or an additional shade lighter. This will still achieve more or less the same effect, but you may find it more natural looking.
Hopefully contouring seems less like some impossible daunting task now. While it will take practice, I have faith that you’ll be shaping your features like a pro soon enough.