This post will be a long one, because I find a lot of people think that there’s one single way to contour your face, so grab yourself a cup of tea and get comfy. Here’s a quick video to start everything off!
Contouring is something that a lot of people have taken notice to in the past few years (especially after a photo surfaced of Kim K showing her face before her makeup was blended out). The concept of contouring excites people because it’s an easy way to slim down the face and accentuate the cheek bones, HOWEVER, with every unique face out there, there is a different way to contour! My advice for anyone who is still learning how to contour is to familiarize yourself with your facial structure. Feel around your face! Whats your general face shape? Where are your cheekbones to? What’s your jawline like? Is your nose thick or thin? Long or short? Take a second and answer some questions about your own face before actually trying to contour.
Figured it out? Okay! Let’s move on.
Powder, Liquid or Cream?
You need to choose if you want to use powder, liquid or cream to contour your face. If you plan on wearing foundation as well, consider what kind of foundation you use, because foundation goes on BEFORE you contour your face. If you use a powder foundation, you should use powder bronzer, highlight, and blush to prevent clumping on your face. If you use liquid or cream foundation you could use powder, liquid or cream for your contouring. I recommend that if you decide to use liquid or cream for your blush, bronzer, and/or highlight that you have a translucent powder around to keep your makeup in place all day. ELF has a fantastic one on their website for only $6.00!
Purchasing What’s Right for You
When you decide if you’re going to go with something powder, liquid or cream, there’s a few more decisions you have to make. First off, do you want to go matte or shimmer? Matte simply means without and sparkle, shimmer, or shine to it. It gives a flat look, and sometimes when people use matte foundations without contouring it makes their face look strange. If you want to go shimmer it’s easy. Most bronzers, highlights and blushes do have shimmer in it. You could also use a mixture of both, like I do! I use a matte bronzer, highlight with shimmer, and blush with shimmer. I find that having shimmer in the highlight and blush gives a tiny bit of extra lift to the areas that I’m trying to accentuate. With bronzer, I’m trying to make shadows, so normally I choose to go without any shimmer because I do not want to draw attention to the bronzer. In the summertime I do sometimes switch to one with shimmer so that I have a little more glow to my face.
There are a lot of cheaper alternatives at Walmart and drug stores. Hard Candy, ELF, Essence, NYX, and Revlon are the brands I recommend trying out first. If you can’t find a matte bronzer or highlight, find a foundation that is a few shades darker/lighter than your skin. It’ll work the same. I used an essence face powder for bronzer up last summer when I got a too faced chocolate bronzer for my birthday.
If you find that you have dark circles under your eyes, you may want to invest in a yellow correction concealer to wear underneath the highlight under your eyes.
Actually Applying It!
I cannot stress this enough guys, don’t use the method you’ve seen 1000 times over on pinterest where you glob all of your products on at once and just use a brush to blend everything out. It may work sometimes, but for beginners and a lot of makeup products it’s not going to work. If you try piling on powder all at once, it won’t blend right. If you are using a really thick liquid or cream, it’ll never blend out as much as you need it to. Also, to do the all-at-once method you need to know the right strokes to make of the brush so that your bronzer doesn’t end up smeared across your nose or your highlight down one side of your face. Apply it in steps, take your time. It doesn’t actually take a long time even if you do it step by step.
I’ve created a 7 step process for contouring. When you look at this image, remember my face is not shaped like yours. You need to play up your own bone structure. If you have higher or lower cheek bones than I do and you attempt to place your bronzer in the exact place I did, you aren’t going to be defining your face properly.
I did this digitally, I wouldn’t apply my bronzer that dark I just wanted to make sure you guys could see exactly what I was doing. I’ve also left faint arrows around so you can tell what direction I move my brush in to maximize the contouring effect.
Step One: Apply your bronzer, starting at the outer end of your cheekbone, and drag it inwards following your cheekbone. You may need to make “fish lips” to see where exactly you want to apply your bronzer, but be careful you don’t make a straight line down to the corners of your mouth. Your cheekbone swoops back up towards your nose as it gets closer to it! Don’t over apply it, you may not be able to see it very well, but it’s supposed to be subtle. If you think you’ve applied too much and there’s a strange line on your face, blend it downwards towards your jaw.
Step Two: At your hairline, blend the bronzer you’ve applied up and down. If you have a wider jaw, bring your bronzer in towards the center of your face as you get closer to your chin. If you have a wider forehead, bring your bronzer in a little further towards the center of your face and sweep it around the entire length of your forehead.
Step Three: Starting at your eyebrow, apply your bronzer in a downward sweeping motion down the entire length of your nose. Make sure to get around the tip of your nose and your nostrils. I apply more on the bottom than the average person would because the tip of my nose is rounded, not pointy. If your nose curls up a lot avoid a large amount of bronzer on the bottom. If you have a small nose, skip this step all together
Step Four: Take your highlight and sweep it down the entire length of your nose. Blend it upwards into between your brows and into your forehead.
Step Five: Sweep your highlight under your eyes, above your bronzer. If you have circles under your eyes, apply from just under your lash line down to the lowest part of your circles. Blend it outward towards the edge of your face.
Step Six: Apply a small amount of highlighter below your nose and lip in the center of your face.
Step Seven: Apply blush in a circular motion to the apples of your cheeks and then sweep backwards. The blush should overlapping both your bronzer and your highlight. If you have low cheekbones, apply the blush closer to the highlight to give your cheeks lift. You may need to smile while applying blush to stay on the apples of your cheeks.
I think that’s it! These methods of applying highlights and shadows can be applied to doing photoshop work or drawing as well. Everyone has natural shadow and highlight points, what we do here is just to accentuate them. Hope this helps out some of you who are having trouble with contouring.
The brushes I used are from Sonia Kashuk.
A tutorial for my eye makeup in the video above is available here!
Any tips I left out? Are you still confused? Do you have a different method for contouring? Leave a comment below!