How-To Guide: Highlighting & Contouring

Hi guys! Its been a while but I’m back! This post is one that I know that many of you have been waiting on, my step by step guide on how I highlight & contour. So, if you need help with highlighting & contouring then keep reading!


What is highlighting + contouring?

Before diving into everything I want to explain some key concepts that go along with this topic.

In the simplest of terms, highlighting & contouring are what we do to add light and dark areas to the skin to sculpt the face in a way we find most pleasing or ideal. For example, I have a crooked nose bridge so I contour my nose to give the illusion that it is straighter than it actually is & at the same time appear a little bit smaller.

Highlighting is what we do when we want to bring attention to or bring forward certain areas on the face while contouring we use to create shadows to create the illusion that we have more defined features such as; the appearance of higher cheekbones, a smaller forehead, a slimmer nose & hides the appearance of that dreaded double-chin many of us have.


 Highlighting

To begin you should have your base makeup (foundation & brows) already done, if you’d like some help with those, check out my Foundation Application Guide & Eyebrow Filling Guide first then come back here to continue!

First, you need choose the shade of concealer thats right for you. To brighten up the under-eye area you typically need a concealer lighter than your skin tone. For everyday more simple makeup looks I suggest 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone and for more dramatic/night time makeup looks I tend to go 3 shades lighter.

For this demo I’m going to use the LA Girl HD Pro Concealer, I have been using this one for YEARS! Definitely a holy grail product that I will continue to repurchase. It’s heavy duty & cheap! I use the shade Fawn to highlight & conceal under my eyes.

Some other products that I use worthy of honorable mention are;

In short you’ll need;

  1. Concealer 1-3 shades lighter than your skin tone (based on preference).
  2. Small Concealer brush. (I don’t need one here because the LA Girl Concealer has a brush tip)
  3. Blending sponge. – Real Techniques Sponge (I used a beauty blender in the pictures but it was destroyed by my puppy shortly after 🙃.. soo this sponge is just as good.)
  4. Setting Powder – Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder
  5. Brush To Apply Setting Powder (I’m using my Morphe M438, you may also use your sponge for application)

Okay so now we have all our tools lets begin,

Step 1 – Apply Concealer

  • Apply the concealer to under your eyes, not too close to the lower lash line to avoid the concealer getting into & settling in any possible fine lines you may have.
  • Bring the concealer under your eyes onto the sides of your nose (this helps give the illusion of a thinner nose)
  • Place concealer down the bridge of your nose as well as on the centre of your forehead (lower half).

highlighting and contouring

 

STEP 2 – Blend

  • Using your sponge blend the concealer into your foundation, carrying the concealer under your eyes lightly to achieve the colour & coverage while still avoiding product building up in the lines under your eyes.

 

step 3 – Apply Settling Powder

  • Using my Morphe M438  brush I apply my Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder on the areas I highlighted with concealer to keep it in place & prevent creasing.


 Contouring

Now for contouring you will need a cream or powder product (or both) 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone depending in how dramatic a contour you wish to achieve. This product also needs to be free of shimmer and have the same undertone as your skin. I have a  very warm/golden undertone so all my products tend to be on the warm side. If I use something cool toned, especially for contouring, it will look ashy or chalky on my skin.

That being said make sure not to get anything that doesn’t align with your particular undertone to avoid a “muddy” looking contour.

For this guide I’m going to use both a cream & powder product since thats typically how I contour. For the cream I’m going to use another LA Girl HD Pro Concealer, this time in the shade -Dark Cocoa & for my powder I’ll use my Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer 07.

Some other products that I use worthy of honorable mention are;

In short you’ll need;

  1. Cream/Powder contouring product 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone.
  2. Contour brushes – Using MAC 138  & ELF Contour Brush)
  3. Blending sponge.
  4. Blush
  5. Blush Brush – Using Coastal Scents Angled Blush Brush)

 

Step 1 – Apply Cream Contour

  • Apply the cream contour product below your cheekbones, around the perimeter of your forehead, just below your jawline & down the sides of your nose between the highlighted areas of the bridge & sides of your nose.

highlighting and contouringhighlighting and contouring

 

STEP 2 -Blend

  • Brush away translucent powder with a clean powder brush.
  • Using your beauty sponge again, blend the contour cream into your foundation until the harsh contour lines become less obvious.

highlighting and contouringhighlighting and contouring

highlighting and contouring

highlighting and contouring

 

STEP 5 – Powder Contour – CHeek Bones

  • To make my contour less harsh & to set it I also use a powder contour, in this case my Guerlain  Terracotta Bronzer, with my MAC138 brush to blend out the cream contour further.

highlighting and contouring

 

STEP 6 – Powder Contour – Nose

  • Again, to reduce the harshness of my contour I use the powder on my nose with my small contour brush.

highlighting and contouring

 

STEP 7 Blush

  • Apply blush of your choice to your cheeks. I’m using nt MAC Breezy.

highlighting and contouringhighlighting and contouring


 Get Rid Of That Cake-Face!

Now that we’re done highlighting and contouring I know everything is looking a bit cakey with all these products layered on so at this point in my routine is where I pretty much bathe in my MAC Fix+ to get all the products to melt into each other.

MAC Fix Plus


 Set Everything With powder

After my  Fix+ spray dries I use my Black Opal Deluxe Setting Powder & a large powder brush to blend everything together before applying powder highlight.

highlight & contour


 Powder highlight

It’s time to glow! Now you apply your highlighter of choice to your nose, inner eyes & cheek bones.

Using;

  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminating Powder in Riviera
  2. Morphe M310
  3. Pencil Eyeshadow Brush

Step 1

  •  For your nose you can use a small powder brush or your fingers to apply highlight down the bridge of your nose.

Step 2

  •  Next, use a pencil brush to highlight your inner eye area.

Step 3

I typically don’t highlight my cheekbones because I tend to have texture on my skin in that area but for the sake of this tutorial, here we go.

  • Using a fan brush gently sweep the highlight at the highest points of your cheekbones.


Setting Spray

Need I say more? Setting your makeup helps to avoid cake-face, oiliness & melting. If you’re an oily girl like myself, this Boscia White Charcoal Setting Spray is AMAZING! You need it, I promise. I use my setting spray after finishing up my look with some lashes & lipstick.

And thats it! I know it seems like a lot but once you find your groove & your own routine it becomes second nature to do all this. It takes patience & practice so don’t expect to be a professional over night. Looking back at pictures from even as recent as 2 years ago my contouring makes me cringe because it has come such a long way since I first started 😂.

Heres the before and after pictures to show you what a huge difference these steps make to my face. Hopefully the post was simple enough & helpful to anyone who wants to learn. 🙂

If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments below.


Before & After

highlighting and contouring

 

Until next time my loves,

xo Justine-Renee

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@justinerenee.jarrett

 

2 thoughts on “How-To Guide: Highlighting & Contouring

  1. Wendy says:

    You look gorgeous in both looks and the contouring definitely gives the extra ‘glamour’ for a night out – looks amazing! I love your ‘how to’ guides – they are so clear and easy to follow – thank you! x

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