What Is The Proper Way To Contour And Highlight My Face?

Ready to elevate your makeup game? Learn all about the proper techniques to contour and highlight your face like a pro! Whether you’re a makeup newbie or a seasoned beauty enthusiast, this article will guide you through the steps to achieve a flawless and sculpted look. Get ready to enhance your natural features and achieve a stunning, radiant glow that will turn heads. Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to a beautifully contoured and highlighted face!

What Is The Proper Way To Contour And Highlight My Face?

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Understanding Contouring and Highlighting

Contouring and highlighting are two makeup techniques that can help enhance your facial features and create a more sculpted and radiant look. Contouring involves using a shade darker than your natural skin tone to create shadows and define certain areas of your face, while highlighting uses a shade lighter than your skin tone to bring forward and emphasize specific features.

What is contouring?

Contouring is the process of using shadows and darker shades to enhance the natural contours of your face. By strategically applying contour products, you can create the illusion of sharper cheekbones, a more defined jawline, and a slimmer nose. Contouring is all about enhancing your bone structure and bringing dimension to your face.

What is highlighting?

Highlighting, on the other hand, is the technique of using lighter shades to bring attention and emphasis to certain areas of your face. By applying highlighter to high points such as the cheekbones, brow bone, and cupid’s bow, you can create a luminous and youthful glow. Highlighting helps to bring light to your face and give a fresh and radiant appearance.

Why do we contour and highlight?

Contouring and highlighting can work hand in hand to give your face more structure and definition. These techniques can be used to balance and harmonize your features, as well as create a more symmetrical look. Whether you want to enhance your cheekbones, slim down your nose, or simply add a natural glow to your complexion, contouring and highlighting can help you achieve your desired look.


Before diving into contouring and highlighting, it’s important to properly prepare your face to ensure the best results.

Cleanse and moisturize your face

Start by cleansing your face to remove any dirt, oil, or makeup residue. This will provide a clean canvas for your contour and highlight products to adhere to. Follow up with a moisturizer that works well with your skin type to hydrate and nourish your skin. Well-hydrated skin will make the application and blending process much easier.

Apply foundation

Foundation serves as a base for your contour and highlight products. Choose a foundation shade that matches your skin tone to create a seamless and natural-looking finish. Apply the foundation evenly all over your face, making sure to blend it well into your neck to avoid any harsh lines.

Choose the right contour and highlight products

When it comes to choosing contour and highlight products, it’s important to consider your skin tone and undertone. Opt for contour shades that are slightly cooler than your natural skin tone to create realistic shadows. For highlighting, choose shades that have a golden or champagne undertone to create a luminous glow.

What Is The Proper Way To Contour And Highlight My Face?

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Contouring involves creating shadows and depth on your face to enhance your bone structure and create the illusion of a more sculpted look. Here’s how you can achieve the perfect contour:

Identify your face shape

Different face shapes require different contouring techniques. Determine your face shape by analyzing your forehead, jawline, and cheekbones. Whether you have a round, square, heart, oval, or diamond-shaped face, there are contouring techniques specifically tailored to each shape to help bring out your best features.

Choose the appropriate contour shade

Select a contour shade that is one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone. This will create the illusion of shadows and depth. Opt for cream or powder contour products, depending on your preference and skin type. Cream contour is great for a more seamless and blended look, while powder contour provides a more matte finish.

Application techniques: Cream contouring

When using cream contour products, start by applying the contour shade using a small, angled contour brush or a beauty sponge. Apply the product in the hollows of your cheeks, along the hairline, and under the jawline. Blend the product using circular motions, ensuring a natural and seamless finish. Remember to blend the contour shade well to avoid any harsh lines.

Application techniques: Powder contouring

If you prefer powder contour products, use a fluffy contour brush to apply the shade to the same areas mentioned earlier. Use a light hand and build up the product gradually to avoid applying too much at once. Blend the contour shade using back and forth motions, ensuring a smooth transition between the contour and your foundation.


Highlighting is the technique of using lighter shades to bring forward and illuminate specific features of your face. Here’s how you can achieve a stunning highlight:

Selecting the right highlight shade

When choosing a highlight shade, go for a shade that is one to two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. Consider your skin’s undertone and opt for highlighters with golden, champagne, or pink undertones, depending on what complements your skin best. It’s also important to choose a highlighter formula that works well with your skin type, whether it’s cream, liquid, or powder.

Placement of highlight

The placement of your highlight will depend on the areas you want to bring forward and emphasize. Common areas to apply highlighter include the high points of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, the brow bone, the cupid’s bow, and the inner corners of your eyes. Apply the highlighter using a small, fluffy brush or your fingertips, depending on the formula you’re using.

Application techniques: Cream highlighting

For cream highlighters, gently dab the product onto the desired areas using your fingers. Start with a small amount and build up the intensity as needed. Use a tapping motion to blend the product into your skin for a natural, dewy finish. Remember to blend well to avoid any harsh lines or streaks.

Application techniques: Powder highlighting

If you prefer powder highlighters, use a fan brush or a small, tapered brush to apply the product to the high points of your face. Gently sweep the brush over the areas, building up the intensity gradually. Blend the highlighter using light, feathery strokes to create a soft and ethereal glow.

What Is The Proper Way To Contour And Highlight My Face?

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Blending and Fading

To achieve a seamless and natural-looking contour and highlight, it’s essential to blend and fade any harsh lines. Follow these steps to ensure a flawless finish:

Blending the contour

After applying the contour shade, use a clean blending brush or a beauty sponge to blend the product into your foundation. Focus on the edges of the contour shade to create a smooth transition between the contour and your natural skin tone. Continue blending until there are no visible lines or unevenness.

Blending the highlight

Similarly, after applying the highlighter, gently blend the product using a clean brush or your fingertips. This will help to diffuse the highlight and create a soft, diffused glow. Blend the highlighter in circular motions, ensuring a seamless transition between the highlight and your foundation.

Fading the harsh lines

If you notice any harsh lines or edges, gently pat the area with a clean beauty sponge or brush to soften and blend the lines. This will help to create a more natural and blended look. Remember to be light-handed and patient during this step to avoid removing too much product.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Contouring and highlighting can be customized to suit your preferences and desired look. Here are some additional tips and tricks to enhance your contour and highlight:

Using a highlighter on specific areas

Aside from the traditional highlight areas, you can also use a highlighter on other parts of your face to bring forward certain features. Apply a touch of highlighter to the center of your eyelids, above the apple of your cheeks, or even along the collarbones for an extra radiant and ethereal glow.

Setting your contour and highlight

To ensure the longevity of your contour and highlight, set them with a matching powder. Use a small brush or a beauty sponge to lightly dust a translucent or setting powder onto the contoured and highlighted areas. This will help the products to stay in place and prevent any smudging or fading throughout the day.

Using bronzer and blush

To add warmth and dimension to your contour and highlight, consider incorporating bronzer and blush into your routine. Apply a bronzer to the areas where the sun naturally hits your face, such as the temples and the hollows of your cheeks. Follow up with a pop of blush on the apples of your cheeks for a healthy and youthful flush.

Using a setting spray

Once you’ve completed your contour and highlight, finish off your makeup look with a setting spray. A setting spray helps to lock in your makeup and provide a fresh, dewy finish. Mist the setting spray over your face, holding the nozzle a few inches away, and allow it to dry naturally.

Choosing the Right Tools

To achieve a flawless contour and highlight, it’s important to have the right tools on hand. Here are some essential tools for a successful application:

Contouring brush

A small, angled contour brush is ideal for precise and controlled application of cream or powder contour products. The angled shape helps to fit into the natural contours of your face, allowing for seamless blending.

Highlighting brush

A small, fluffy brush with soft bristles is perfect for applying and blending highlighter. This type of brush allows for a diffused and ethereal glow, ensuring a natural-looking highlight.

Beauty sponge

A damp beauty sponge can be used to blend both contour and highlight products, providing a flawless and airbrushed finish. The soft, spongey texture ensures even distribution and prevents any streaks or lines.

Contouring and highlighting palette

Investing in a good contouring and highlighting palette that includes a range of shades and textures will give you the option to experiment and find what works best for your skin tone and desired look. Look for palettes that offer matte and shimmer shades to cater to different occasions and preferences.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Contouring and highlighting can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the technique. Here are some common mistakes to avoid for a flawless outcome:

Over-contouring or highlighting

One of the biggest mistakes is applying too much contour or highlight product. Remember, less is more. Start with a small amount and gradually build up the intensity if needed. It’s easier to add more product than to remove excess.

Using the wrong shade

Choosing the wrong contour or highlight shade can lead to an unnatural or muddy look. Make sure to choose shades that complement your skin tone and undertone. Test products in natural lighting or consult with a makeup professional to find your perfect match.

Not blending properly

Blending is key to achieving a natural and seamless contour and highlight. Take the time to blend and fade any harsh lines or edges. Use brushes or sponges specifically designed for blending to ensure a flawless finish.

Applying too much product

Applying too much contour or highlight product can result in a heavy and cakey appearance. Always start with a light hand and gradually build up the intensity if desired. This will prevent the products from looking too harsh or overpowering.

Contouring and Highlighting for Different Skin Tones

Contouring and highlighting techniques can vary depending on your skin tone. Here are some tips for different skin tones:

Contouring and highlighting for fair skin

For fair skin tones, opt for contour shades that are cool-toned with a taupe or ashy undertone. Lighter shades of highlighters such as champagne or soft pink work well to brighten and illuminate fair skin.

Contouring and highlighting for medium skin

Medium skin tones can benefit from warm contour shades with a slight bronzy undertone. Golden or peachy highlight shades complement medium skin tones beautifully, providing a sun-kissed glow.

Contouring and highlighting for dark skin

Dark skin tones can embrace deeper and richer contour shades with warm undertones. Mocha or deep cocoa shades work well to define and sculpt dark skin. For highlighting, opt for shades with a deeper gold or bronze undertone to create a radiant effect.


Contouring and highlighting are powerful techniques that can transform your look and enhance your natural beauty. By understanding your face shape, choosing the right products, and mastering the application techniques, you can achieve a flawless and radiant result. Remember to always blend and fade any harsh lines, and don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you. With practice and patience, you’ll be able to contour and highlight your face like a pro, achieving a natural and enhanced look that makes you feel confident and beautiful.