Friday, 29 March 2013

Make Up Basics - Contouring and Highlighting

So you've put on your foundation, you've concealed any blemishes and you're left with a completely 2D face that's all one colour and looks... flat.

Contouring and highlighting can be pretty daunting to start off with, but it's a really easy way to add dimension back into your face.

The most important parts of contouring are 1. Blend, 2. Blend, and 3. Blend.

You can use powder or cream bronzer, or you can use a foundation a couple of shades darker than you'd usually use.  If you do choose the latter, I'd use it very sparingly, and add another 'blend' onto the above list.

If you're using powder bronzer, make sure it's matte - you don't want a glittery face, people will think you're from Twilight.

Apply your chosen contour product in the areas shown on the picture, and only apply a bit at a time - knock off any excess powder from your brush, wipe any excess cream from your sponge/brush onto the back of your hand.

Apply the least amount humanly possible into the outside of your face, temple/outer corner of your eye, the hollows of your cheeks, under your jaw and down the hollows either side of your neck.  You can also add bronzer to the sides of your nose for a slimming effect, and underneath your bottom lip, for a slightly poutier look.

Apply it in layers, take your time and blend out as you go.  You don't want lines of brown across your face, just subtle colour difference where your face is naturally hidden from the light.  Think about how the light would hit your face, and apply narrower layers as you build up the colour. 

You just want to add the depth you've hidden back into your face. 

Next comes highlighting.  You can use anything lighter than your base colour to highlight - an illuminator, a light coloured concealer, a lighter shade of foundation, loose pigment, light blush or highlighting powder.

You can use shimmer or matte, it's completely down to your own personal preference

You only want to add highlights to the parts of your face that the light would hit - 

Your brow bone
The tops of your cheekbones
The bridge of your nose
Your cupid's bow

When applying to your brow bone, you want to go just under the arch of your eyebrow and work down under the tail.  You can join the eyebrow and cheekbone highlights, just remember to blend everything out so it doesn't look like you've just drawn white lines all over your face.

When it comes to the bridge of the nose, you want to apply a very thin line of highlight - otherwise you'll be widening your nose (of course, if you want to widen the nose, use a slightly thicker line).

Highlighting the cupid's bow is a really good way to get a naturally pouty look without loading up on lipgloss and getting into the hassle of contouring your lips.  You just want to apply a thin line just above your natural lip line (the bottom of your frenulum) and blend it out.

Once you've practiced and got your preferred technique, you'll be able to contour and highlight as part of your daily routine, and figure out which products work best for you.  It's a case of trial and error, and as ever, practice makes perfect.

I hope this has helped, and if you want to leave a comment below to let me know what you thought of this, or what tutorials you'd like to see, please do!

Left - Base colour only
Right - contour and highlight

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