HOW TO CONTOUR & HIGHLIGHT

post + photography by amy nadine, graphic design by eunice chun

When you apply foundation to your entire face, you’ve created a blank canvas, so you have to go back and add the dimensions back in. Remember in art class how you used darker shading to push an area away and lighter shading to pull an area towards you? That’s all we’re doing here! It creates the illusion of a stronger jawline, more chiseled cheeks and a slimmer face. And the easiest way to do this is by drawing the letter E on each side of your face to contour and the letter C on each side of your eyes. Anyone can do that, right? I’m showing you how to do it with both cream and powder formulas together for staying power, but you can certainly do one or the other.

TOOLS:

  • Cream Foundation or Cream Bronzer — you can simply find a cream foundation that is four or so shades darker than your foundation (I love Jouer Age-Repairing Perfector Foundation in Tawny for fair to medium skin tones or Almond for darker skin tones) or you can try Hourglass Illume, a cream bronzer + highlight duo that I’ve been using on my clients with fair to medium skin tones for at least three years now.
  • A Flat-headed Foundation Brush — this really presses the cream into the skin and does all the work for you. I love Dior Full Coverage Fluid Brush for an investment but Sonia Kashuk Flat Top Multi-Purpose Brush will get the job done too.
  • Blush/Contour Brush — the best brush to blend cream foundation or bronzer is a natural-bristled round-headed one that is densely packed like the Cozzette Contour Stylist Brush, the iconic must-have for makeup artists at Fashion Week around the world.
  • Bronzing + Highlighting Powder — you can certainly buy them separately but I love Trish McEvoy Dual Resort Bronzer + Highlight because it’s the perfect amount of warmth with a hint of shimmer.
  • Angled Contour Brush — I love Sigma’s Large Angled Contour Brush for its fluffy angled bristles.

STEPS:

  1. After you’ve applied your foundation all over your face and neck but before any powder, dip your brush into the cream bronzer/darker foundation to load it up.
  2. Swirl the brush on the back of your hand to take away some of the intensity.
  3. Start at the middle of the top of your hairline and begin the letter E by tracing along the perimeter down to your temple.
  4. Suck in your cheeks to see exactly where your cheekbones are then continue the middle prong of the letter E by sweeping the brush from your temple to just underneath the cheekbone (to hollow it out).
  5. Go back along the underside of your cheekbone to the ear then down to your jawline. Finish the E by sweeping the brush just on and underneath the jawline. I like to also fill in the whole neck to really shade it, but I have profile issues and do anything I can to make mine more pronounced!
  6. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Now swirl off any remainder on a tissue or the back of your hand and use the same brush to fill up with the cream highlighter.
  8. Draw the letter C by holding the brush in the middle of your forehead just above your brow and outlining the eye all the way to your temple then down under your eye just above your cheekbone. This will pull that area forward and really highlight your eyes.
  9. Repeat on the other side.
  10. Take the dry blush brush and go back over the E’s and C’s in swirling motions to really blend it into the skin. You could also use a Beauty Blender sponge to do this.
  11. Finish by grabbing the angled contour brush and going over the E with the bronzing powder and the C with the highlighting powder.

Since a few of you are going to ask, I used Milani Liquif-Eye Metallic Eyeliner Pencil in Aqua 04 and Jouer Lipstick in Whitney, the prettiest petal pink lip for Spring!

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