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.


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.


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.

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 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.


  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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How-To Guide: Foundation Application

Hey everyone! This is my 2nd “How-To Guide” & it’s my step by step foundation application routine that never fails me. I figure foundation is the most logical next step because with eyebrows & some foundation your’e well on your way to a perfect makeup look. Once you have this base down, everything else is a simple, optional, add on from here.

You’ll see I already had my eye makeup done as well as my eyebrows (I have an eyebrow guide already up for you guys). I always do these first to avoid eyeshadow fallout getting onto my foundation. Foundation for me also causes my eyebrow products to not apply the way I like them to so I just do it first to avoid any issues.


If you’re new to the makeup game then you need to choose a good foundation. For those of you like me, that have oily skin you can check out my post on Affordable Foundations for some good options. However, if you have dry skin aim to choose foundation that has hydrating qualities. Those that have these qualities  tend to use the terms radiant, dewy & luminous in their names & descriptions.

Foundations that mattify tend to leave my face feeling a little dry/stiff initially as though they literally suck all the oil out of my pores so with dry skin, I cant imagine using one that would make my skin even more dry & extra stiff because of its mattifying qualities. If you have dry skin and still prefer the more matte look, setting your makeup with a powder & setting spray can often help achieve this after you apply your makeup.


Before applying any makeup you want to ensure you apply a moisturizer to your skin, preferably one with with some SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to protect your skin from the ultra violet rays of the sun. SPF helps prevent premature aging of the skin & skin cancer. Along with this, if you’re like me & suffer from hyper pigmentation that you’re hoping to fade then you should definitely be using sunscreen. The same way that excessive sun exposure darkens your skin it also makes any hyper pigmentation you may have get even darker. The darker the spots are the harder they are to fade so trust me, SPF is your friend. So to prep my skin I follow the steps below,

  1. Cleanse skin. Always start your makeup with a freshly washed face.
  2. Apply Moisturizer. I have been Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer for years. Even with oily skin its imperative you moisturize. You’ll combat the oily skin with your choice of products after this step.
  3. Prime. After your moisturizer has been absorbed into the skin, apply your favorite primer. For this demo I’m using the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Primer. I mentioned this in my post on my Ride or Die Makeup products.
Foundation Application Guide

To apply my foundation I use makeup sponges or brushes.

Some of my favorite brushes to use are my Sephora Pro Flawless Airbrush #56Sephora Pro Press Full Coverage Complexion Brush #66 & Coastal Scents Flat Top Brush.

For beauty sponges I use the Beauty Blender Pro or Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.

The following steps are exactly what I do whether I use a brush or a sponge. Some foundations however you may find give better coverage with one or the other.

  1. Using my CoverGirl Queen 3 in 1 All Day Flawless Foundation I put 2 pumps onto my damp (not soaking wet) Beauty Blender. foundation-application-4
  2. Dab the Beauty Blender with product in areas you desire the most coverage. I dab the blender onto my cheeks and
  3. Use the sponge in one area at a time to evenly blend out the foundation on your
  4. Continue to blend until the foundation is distributed
  5. Next I apply concealer. Using my Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof 24-hour Concealer I spot correct areas on my skin where I can still see my hyper pigmentation spots through the foundation. I go a little overboard here, sue me 🙃 lol. foundation-application-11
  6. After all blemishes are spot covered with concealer I go back in with my Beauty Blender & press the product into the skin until the spot coverage is no longer
  7. At this point your foundation is on & you’re good to go for a natural look once you use a setting powder. I use either Black Opal Translucent Deluxe Setting Powder or MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural.

To go a step beyond this for the more glamorous look you can continue to highlight & contour as I did to finish up. The next guide I’ll do for you guys will be on highlighting & contouring 😃.

foundaton-application-coverFoundation Application

Let me know how you apply foundation & what tools you use to apply in the comments below I’m always open to new tools to step up my foundation game. Also, if you have any questions at all don’t be afraid to ask, I’m here to be helpful. 🙂

Until next time my loves,

xo Justine-Renee

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