Talking About: Highlighting & Contouring


When it comes to make-up, skin is the most important thing. If you have a beautiful canvas to work with, the make-up instantly looks 100 times better. With saying this, I wanted to do a ‘how to’ post on the biggest trend right now: highlighting and contouring. There are countless YouTuber’s and bloggers out there who have covered this topic so many times, but I wanted to put my own step-by-step guide together, as I feel a lot of the time people are looking for more of a natural, everyday look, which is what I enjoy doing the most.

If you don’t know yet, highlighting is when you emphasise parts of the face to make them stand out, while contouring is the opposite. What I’m going to show you in the post is the most general places where people highlight and contour everyday, but you have to also take into consideration that everybody has a different face shape and features. So not everyone’s contouring routine will be the same as the next – because one person may want to create the illusion of a less pointy chin, while someone else may have a more defined jaw bone that they want to make appear smaller. It just depends on YOU.

I’ve started off with a fresh face of primer, foundation and my filled in eyebrows.

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I then go on to highlighting. The product I use is a Mehron foundation. But what the great thing about highlighting and contouring is that you don’t need an expensive, proper kit. All you need is a powder or liquid that is about two shades lighter than your skin tone and a powder or liquid that is a couple of shades darker – depending on the definition that you’re looking for.

Generally, the main features that you want to highlight are underneath your eyes, extending to the sides of the face, above the cheekbone. This brightens up the eyes and highlights the cheekbone. Then down the centre of the nose, going up into a branch-like figure in the centre of the forehead. You would also highlight around the brows, to make them really stand out and appear polished. You can then highlight your cupid’s bow (above your lip) and a bit on your chin. And lastly, a bit above your jaw under the cheeks. Once you’ve applied your product everywhere and you’re satisfied, it’s time to blend!

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Next you start with your contouring. My favourite thing about contouring is the fact that it gives you the best appearance of high cheekbones! This is always where I start: taking your darker shade, you apply from right next to the top of the ear, taking it down underneath the cheekbone until about a quarter way into your cheek. Apply this one in a triangle-like shape, with a thicker tail at the top of the ear, thinning down into nothing.

Then, what I like to do is apply the product at the top of my forehead all the way around. This helps to warm up the face, and makes your foundation blend better, so it doesn’t look like you’re wearing a mask.

The sides of the nose contour are not always something I do, but it is nice if you wish to make your nose appear a little bit thinner. And lastly, I have applied a bit of the product underneath my jaw, also just to warm up the face, and blend out the foundation to match the neck.

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And again, once you’re satisfied, you start blending.

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The way I’ve done it in this post is very subtle and natural, mainly because I personally feel that contouring and highlighting shouldn’t take over your features, but just naturally enhance them. However, if you feel that you want a more defined cheekbone, or whatnot, just apply more product. I always think it’s better to start off with less, and then apply more as you go – rather than being stuck with unwanted patches of dark or light!

Once I’ve finished highlighting and contouring with the cream foundations, I always like to go over with powders. This just sets it nicely and gives it the finish I prefer. For the contour, I just use a darkish brown eyeshadow – remember: a powder is a powder is a powder! Eyeshadow doesn’t necessarily have to be restricted to the eyes. And then for my highlight, I always apply a shimmer to the top of the cheekbones to make them really stand out, and then I also usually apply on the sides of my face, just above the eyebrows next to the temples. For this you can also use a shimmer eyeshadow. You really don’t have to go out and purchase a highlighting powder – unless of course you want to (they are my favourite!)

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See – that shimmer just gives you such a healthy glow. I love it!

I hope this post gives you a better idea of contouring and highlighting – if my explanations are off, just follow the pictures 😉

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*Foundation: Stila – Light
Eyebrows: ABH Dipbrow Pomade – Medium brown
Eyebrow gel – Rimmel clear
Highlighter – ABH Gleam Glow Kit
Mascara – Benefit They’re Real


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