The Art of Highlight and Conto

Hi Bellas,

Highlight and Contour is a technique that many Makeup Artists have incorporated into their skillsets to transform clients. Nowadays, even everyday women are adding these steps into their routine. In this post we'll cover what you'll need to know about the Art of Highlight and Contour.

Let's start with the Basics:

What is Highlight?
Highlighting is the art of emphasizing certain features of the face by using a lighter color to bring the area forward.

What is Contour?
Contouring is the art of minimizing certain features by using a darker color to mimic shadows that deemphasize.

Step 1: Determine your face shape.
Not everyone will highlight and contour the same way. Your face shape will be your guide. Here are the most common face shapes: Oval, Round, Square, Heart, Long, Diamond. The ideal face shape is oval. Essentially, you'll use highlight and contour to give the appearance of an Oval face shape.

Step 2: Choose your makeup.
There are many makeup options for highlight and contour. The key is to find two products - one that is about 2 shades lighter and another2 shades darker than your skin tone. This can be anything from a foundation or concealer to a powder bronzer or even eyeshadow. Generally cream or liquid makeup is a little easier to blend. If you make a mistake, you can always blend it away with foundation on your brush or sponge. Powder bronzers or contours tend to be quick and easy to apply, but you'll need to be extra careful because once it's applied to the face it's set.

Step 3: Choose your tools.
You can use brushes or sponges to apply your product. Just remember to pick the size of the tool according to the shape you're applying it to. For example, if you highlight under the eye you'll want a smaller tapered brush. For larger areas like the cheekbones, use a rounded, medium sized brush to help blend.

Step 4: Highlight
We use makeup to highlight areas that we want to emphasize or brighten. You'll want to start by mapping areas of the face that you'll want to highlight. Common areas include the center of the face - under eyes, middle of forehead, bridge of nose, and chin. After you apply your foundation, apply the lighter colored makeup to the chosen areas and blend the edges so it seamlessly transitions into your base color.

Step 5: Contour
We contour areas that we want to minimize or to add more definition. For example, we apply contour to the hollows of the cheeks to create more sculpted cheekbones and a thinner face appearance. Apply your darker makeup product to these areas. The key is to not over blend out of the area as it can make the face look muddy. The makeup artist rule of thumb is to start with minimal product and then add more to build as necessary. When you're done, you can use a translucent powder to set the makeup and help blend out any harsh edges.

If you feel like you need more assistance on perfecting your highlight and contour routine, visit us at where we offer personal and pro makeup lessons virtually and in person. We'll get your face sculpted and shaped into perfection in no time.