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.

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.


  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

Don’t forget to like the post, comment, share & subscribe below! 

Follow me on Instagram for more pictures & updates!



My Natural Hair Journey

Hi guys! Feels like I haven’t been here in soo long! I’ve had finals recently & if you’re in school you know how finals can be sometimes but I’m back! Today as you’re reading this I’m probably in the process of having my hair done but I felt like this post should be about my natural hair. After taking down my last protective style just over a week ago I’ve been rocking my natural curls. Of course, with rocking my natural hair comes a lot of questions & understandable curiosity from everyone especially those who had no idea my hair was completely natural.

Since this blog covers my protective styles I figured I might as well talk about my natural hair as well. So, that being said, I’m going to answer some of the most popular questions I get asked as well as talk to you guys about how I went from relaxed hair to natural hair pretty discretely.

Initially I was definitely not here for the natural hair movement because I felt like everyone was just chopping off their hair to be part of it only to end up constantly flat ironing their natural hair constantly, thus damaging it again, or going back to chemicals & calling it “texturizing” instead. 🙄

That being said, keep reading to find out why I made the decision some years later to go back to my natural hair!

(In the pictures below of me in the floral top my hair contains no product at all.)


Why did i go back natural?

Well, I’ve had my hair relaxed since I was about 13 or 14 but gradually over the years my hair slowly kept getting thinner & thinner. I have never really had a thick head of hair, it has always been on the thinner side so when it started breaking like crazy around age 18 I decided to cut it to about shoulder length.

(Quick note, I’ve realized now with my natural hair that my hair isn’t thin but I do have fine hair strands, yup, there’s a difference!)

Fast forward a few years to when I was around 21 & living in Trinidad my hair was flourishing! It was growing long & relatively thick, I’m not really sure why since I really wasn’t doing anything special. My Grandma’s guess is that it had to do with the fact that I may have been eating a lot more over there. She was right, all I did was eat when I was there! So maybe there’s some logic to her theory but I wasn’t eating particularly healthy at all, I was just eating. Shout out to roti & doubles! 

I eat a much healthier diet when I’m home in Jamaica but when I moved back my hair went right back to having the same old problems & sure enough became super thin again. I have no idea what the difference was, maybe it was the water? I’ll never know really.

Anyway, fast forwarding again to my 23rd birthday. I decided that day I had had enough of my relaxed hair & wearing clip ins to give my hair body so I made the decision to stop relaxing once and for all. So, that was September 4, 2014.

(I’ve attached some pics below of my hair relaxed.. I cringed at how thin & lifeless it was. My glow-up was also very real y’all!)



After deciding to go back to my natural hair I didn’t I continued to flat iron every now & then when I wanted to wear my hair down over about a 6 month period. In that 6 months I flat ironed about 4 or 5 times & otherwise wore my hair in buns. In April 2015 I did my first protective style, Crochet Curls.

I did variations of crochet curls until December 2015 around this very same time of year. I was studying or finals one night I legit lost my marbles & decided to just cut off all the relaxed ends out of pure frustration. I was due for a new style in a few days & I was just like why am I holding on to these thin ends? I’m not wearing my hair straight so why am I holding on to them? I had no good answer so I grabbed some scissors & just cut it off. I butchered it really, lol. So basically my transition to natural hair lasted a good 15 months.

This means that this month is my 1 year natural anniversary! Yippee! 🎉


Why not just wear your natural hair?

Honestly? You want the truth? I am LAZY when it comes to my hair. I get too frustrated with it especially because it’s in a really awkward stage, lengthwise. Protective styles have gotten me this far so I have faith they will get me to a length I find more manageable, lol. Not that I don’t wear my natural hair at all, because I do, but I cant handle going too long between protective styles. It takes soo much time to style it & find the right combination of  products to achieve various looks. I honestly cant be bothered, plus, I genuinely enjoy switching up my hairstyles every couple months.

That being said, I’m not doing these styles to hide my hair, I just enjoy expressing myself through my hair. Now that I really think about it, these styles help me avoid heat. I haven’t straightened my hair in almost 2 years but if I had my hair down more I would be very, very tempted to have it straightened. Also, if you haven’t noticed, my favorite protective hairstyles are the super easy low maintenance ones that last a long time, i.e. faux locs & braids, so yea.. I just don’t like too much work as far as hair is concerned.

You can check out my posts on those below,

This is however just how I feel about MY natural hair journey. Everyone has their preferences & this happens to be mine. I know some people rock their hair all the time at the length i’m at right now & even shorter but I just prefer not to deal with it. I do try to keep some time between styles these days. That way I can play with my hair & learn it a little at a time, this is progress for me. Eventually I’ll be all good and rocking the curls all the time but its just not that time yet 😉. I’m actually also thinking about getting it professionally cut into a proper shape the next time I go to the US so maybe I’ll be more into it then.


Hair typing?

I honestly don’t read into all the hair typing things I’ve seen around. I do read all the information about what each type needs but for those with hair like mine its rather difficult to choose one type or to even know where each type is in your head. For example, I know for sure at the very back of my head I have my loosest curls however beyond that it’s a total mix. There aren’t any other specific areas where I can single out to be one particular type. At the back I would say I have 3b hair and everywhere else is a mix of 3b-4a (based on the chart below). Again, it’s not something I focus on but I do get asked about it a bit so for the sake of this post I went searching through my head.


Hair care

Line Of Demarcation. Image Found In Google Search.

While transitioning I used products that provided my hair with extra moisture to prevent breakage. The line of demarcation, when transitioning is the point where your relaxed hair & natural hair meet & it is very delicate. If you’re transitioning you need to pay special attention to that area by keeping it moisturised to avoid breakage. I found the Shea Moisture “Raw Shea Butter” Line to be very moisturizing as I transitioned. The products I used from the line are listed below.

While my hair is in protective styles the key is to keep the scalp nourished while also keeping your hair hydrated to prevent breakage & promote growth while in braids. For this I simply massage coconut oil into my scalp/braids weekly or as often as I feel is necessary depending on how dry my scalp feels at any given time. The cleaners I tend to use are linked below.

I’m not going to go into what I use while my hair is down because its a learning process for me right now & I’m still trying new things to see what works & what doesn’t work for me but I’ll definitely update you guys once I figure it out! Hair care/styling posts coming soon! 😉

(Side note, since there was no product in my hair, you can see below how it grew as I was taking these pictures.. hello fro!)


If you have any product recommendations especially to combat all this shrinkage I have going on, please let me know! Also if you have further questions please drop me a line in the comments below 🙂.

I’m still very new to this hair natural hair thing so i’m open to feedback & help!

Until next time my loves,

xo Justine-Renee

Don’t forget to like the post, comment, share & subscribe below! 

Follow me on Instagram for more pictures & updates!


Jumbo Senegalese Twists

Hey everyone! As you can see, today we’re  chatting about the jumbo senegalese twists I recently had done. These were not crochet, they were hand done by Tess & came out beautifully!

We used (if i am not mistaken) 10 packs of hair.. yes, that many. A combination of 6 Nappy Annie & 4 Kanekalon all in colour #1.

If you’re really into protective styles or hair in general the way I am you, probably follow a lot of various hair pages like I do. This particular hairstyle I saw on Sira Kante (@inkmyafrica) & I was like “yaaaas girl!”. I definitely stole her look for my recent trip out of town for a party weekend, particularly because of how she wore it. I have inserted her picture below so you guys can see what inspired my entire look. She wore an African print inspired swimsuit & I honestly couldn’t stop stalking the pictures.


So naturally, I went & found myself an African print inspired swimsuit for one of the beach events I was attending. Mine was from Andrea Iyamah, (IG @andreaiyamahswimwear) which happens to also be black owned company, jackpot!


back to the twists

If I’m being completely honest I knew these wouldn’t last very long & I didn’t really want them to. I  only wanted them for this particular weekend just to achieve the look I was going for. The twists were started as box braids as you can see below to ensure that they wouldn’t unravel because of how loose & thick they were going to be. Many of you are probably thinking “those look heavy” & no they really weren’t. They only got heavy when they were wet (of course) but otherwise I was good.



The twists started to get super fuzzy after about a week & I took them out shortly thereafter. I’m pretty sure I could have kept them in longer but for me it wasn’t a very practical hairstyle considering the fact that I workout quite often & it was pretty difficult to put these twists into any kind of ponytail due to their thickness. Lets not even get into how the length gets in the way of my whole entire life, lol 🙃.

When I want to repeat this look chances are I will go with a crochet version of it and a little bit shorter. The crochet braids listed below are probably going to be the ones I make my choice from when I do this again since I looked at these for some more inspiration when deciding on the twists.

  1. Janet Collection – Havana 8X Mambo Twist Braid 
  2. Authentic Synthetic Hair Crochet Braids 2X Jumbo Senegalese Twist
  3. Outre Synthetic Hair Crochet Braids X-Pression Braids Senegalese Twists X-Large 


More Pictures Of The Jumbo Senegalese Twists



I loved this look & I think I nailed it, if i do say so myself! 😉😂

Have you ever done these Jumbo Senegalese Twists whether hand twisted or using the crochet method? Let me know in the comments below what you think of them!

Until next time my loves,

xo Justine-Renee

Don’t forget to like the post, comment, share & subscribe below! 

Follow me on Instagram for more pictures & updates!