How to Contour and Highlight Your Face

The art of contouring and highlighting has taken the makeup world by storm. While it used to be reserved for the runway, now it’s all about enhancing your natural face shape and adding depth & dimension to your look.

Whether you’re just starting out with contouring, or you want to get more creative, it’s important to learn the basics. Here are some easy tutorials to help you create a flawless look!

Choose Your Shades

Once upon a time, contouring was just the domain of models and actresses — now it’s a Seint makeup staple that has made it into every beauty lover’s routine. But before you can even begin creating the sculpted look, you’ll need to know how to choose the right shades for your skin tone.

Contouring is a type of highlighting and shading that makes your face appear slimmer, defined, and chiseled. It’s a technique that uses products such as bronzers and darker concealers to create strategic shadows on specific areas of your face.

To get started, you’ll need a foundation that’s two or more shades lighter than your natural skin tone. This will give you a base for highlighting your features and creating more subtle shadows on the areas of your face that you want to draw attention away from.

When choosing your contour colors, make sure that they aren’t too dark or too light — that’s going to create harsh lines on your face that don’t look natural. If you’re unsure of what shade to pick, try testing it out on the inside of your arm or using a picture of yourself in natural lighting without makeup on.

Another way to figure out which colors will work best for your skin is to go to a local makeup counter and test them out in person. Many companies are more than happy to help you out in this way if they know you’re new to contouring.

You also have the option of buying a palette that comes with all of the different contouring shades you need. Our favorite is ABH’s hit contour kit, which comes with six shades for highlighting and contouring, perfect for light to medium skin tones.

Then, you’ll just need to use your makeup brush, or other makeup tools, to apply the product on the parts of your face that you want to accentuate. To keep things simple, you’ll want to follow the lines on your face — from your hairline to your temple — and use a small amount under your cheekbones to add definition and create a more chiseled look.

Prep Your Skin

Contouring and highlighting your face is an important part of any beauty routine. It’s also one of the most dramatic, defining steps you can take when it comes to makeup, so it’s essential that you know how to do it right.

Before you get started on your contouring and highlighting routine, you’ll need to prep your skin. This includes washing and exfoliating, which will give your face a clean canvas to work with when you’re applying the products.

Once your face is prepped, you’ll want to map out the areas where you’re going to apply your highlighting product. Use dots of concealer, one shade lighter than your normal skin tone, to draw the lines you’re trying to highlight, which include the forehead, nose and chin.

You can then choose to apply a liquid, cream or powder highlighting formula depending on your skin type. Generally, oily skin types will be best served with a powder formula that will stay put for longer, while dry skin types tend to fare better with creams and liquids, which will help diffuse any rough or uneven texture.

Whether you choose to go with a cream or liquid, apply the highlighting product in small, light layers and then blend. This will give you a flawless, illuminated look that looks natural and effortless.

The goal of highlighting is to create a glow on the skin without looking too artificial or overdone, so you’ll need to pick a shade that matches your skin tone well. For example, if you have fair skin, pick a highlighter that has a warm undertone, so it will be more likely to match your skin’s natural glow.

Next, you’ll need to decide whether or not to layer on your foundation first before you start blending out your contouring makeup. Some experts recommend doing so, but it’s up to your personal preference.

Make sure to moisturize your skin before you start applying any base products, as this will help the foundation and other makeup stay in place throughout the day. This is especially important for those with oily skin, as it will prevent your makeup from slipping and sliding across your face.

Apply Your Contour

Creating a contour and highlight routine is one of the easiest ways to add depth and dimension to your face. This makeup technique is great for a variety of complexions and looks, but you need to know how to apply it correctly in order to get the best results.

Before you can start contouring, you must choose a foundation that matches your skin tone. You should also find a few shades of foundation that are lighter and darker than your natural shade, which you can use to highlight the areas of your face that you want to stand out and shade in the ones you want to recede.

You can apply your contour and highlight with cream, liquid or powder products. Creams are easier to blend and can help your look stay fresh throughout the day. But they can be more difficult to control than powders, so if you have sensitive skin, go with a powder.

For contouring, apply the darker shade of your foundation under your cheekbones, along your forehead and jawline, using an angled brush. Then, use a damp beauty sponge, buffing brush or stippling brush to blend it into your skin.

To highlight, use the lighter shade of your foundation on tops of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose and on your chin. Some artists map out the highlight before contouring, while others prefer to apply it after they’ve contoured their face.

If you want to create a sharper face shape, consider applying a cream contour shade and finishing it off with a light-reflecting highlighter. This will really make your high points pop!

When choosing your contour and highlight products, steer clear of yellow undertones, which can drain the skin of color. The same goes for shimmer, which can appear ashy on darker complexions.

For contour, pick a product that’s three to five shades darker than your natural shade. It should be in the same undertone family as your skin, and it should be matte. This will make it easy to blend and avoid harsh lines.


Contouring and highlighting your face can be an extremely effective way to add dimension and depth to your complexion. But if you’re not sure where to start or what products are best for your skin type, it can be a daunting task.

To get the perfect contour, choose a shade that’s one to two shades lighter than your natural tone. This will make it easier to blend and apply the product.

You can also use bronzer to add a bit of glow but be careful not to overdo it. This can make your skin look oily.

Once you have your shadows and highlighters applied, it’s time to blend them out. The key to blending is to use a fluffy brush and to apply the product in small, light strokes.

Then, use an upward motion to blend out the highlighter and downward to blend the contour product. This helps to create a soft, rounded effect and makes your skin look more radiant.

Depending on your preferences, you can apply your contour using cream or powder. Powder should be blended into a wet foundation base, while cream should be used after your foundation has set.

If you’re new to contouring, it’s best to start with a lighter shade and work your way up. If you want to make a more dramatic impact, you can try darker shades that are at least one shade darker than your natural tone.

Next, contour your forehead and jawline. This will help to define your features, and it will give you a slimmer-looking neckline.

To achieve this, start by drawing an outline of your hairline and temples with a contouring brush. Then, blend this line all the way down to just under your cheekbones.

Once the contour is well-blended, go down to the hollows of your cheeks and draw an indentation. Using a contouring brush, trace the indentation toward the center of your face and back out again.

Finally, contour along your jawline from the bottom of your ear to just before the point of your chin. You can also sculpt the sides of your nose with this shade for a more chiseled look.

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