June 12, 2017

How to Apply Highlighter & Contour to Your Face: Step-By-Step Guide

Wouldn’t we all love to have perfect, movie-set lighting following us everywhere we go? Or how about our own hair and makeup team to make us look like supermodels every day? Exactly where is this magical fountain of youth and great bone structure?

Although the top-model treatment is not reality for the majority (if not all) of us, it’s still possible to get a glammed-up face at home. The solution? Apply makeup contour and highlighter to your face. Highlighting and contouring have made their way to the mainstream after celebrities like the Kardashians introduced us to the beauty of an airbrushed Instagram selfie. The terms are now universal to anyone with an affinity for selfies and hyper-sculpted cheekbones.

Are you wondering how to apply highlighter and contour to your face? What is the difference between the two? We are breaking down the basics of contour and highlighters to help you transition from plain to reign. To recap: highlighting and contouring are makeup application techniques that, when blended together, bring out what you feel are your best features while diminishing your least favorite. Contouring is applied first to your face to create natural shadowing, followed by highlighter to accentuate (or “highlight”) your favorite features.

Before you start applying highlighter and contour, there are some things to keep in mind. First, make sure you’ve determined your skin’s natural undertones before selecting your contour and highlighter shades. Apply a contour to your face that is a shade darker than your skin to create a natural shadow. The contour will have an ashy texture when it’s applied. On the other hand, a highlighter should be a shade warmer with some yellow tints so your skin doesn’t appear too chalky. Next, shimmer. When it comes to shimmer, it’s important to glow, not “sparkle.” The shimmer level in your products should be soft and look as natural as possible.

Where to Apply Highlighter & Contour

Apply the contour to your face first to get a more defined outline and help guide your highlighter application.

Create Edges on Your Forehead With Contour

To create a visually stunning appearance, you will need to apply contour along the top of your face directly beneath the hairline. The arc should start outside of one eyebrow and end at the outside of the other, the end points about two inches down toward each eyebrow.

Apply Contour to the Hollows Of Your Cheeks

This step is what gives you the ultra-defined cheekbone look. To find your hollows (where your cheekbones start and end), make a fish face by sucking in your cheeks. You will need to apply contour on the outer edges of your face and in your hollows, moving closer towards the mouth. Stop about an inch before you reach your mouth.

Add Contour to the Sides of Your Nose

Contouring the sides of your nose gives the illusion of thinness and straight structure. Simply apply thin, vertical contour stripes along the sides of the bridge.

Embed Contour To Your Chin & Jawline

For a continuous, even tone, blend contour underneath your chin and along the jawline of your face.

Apply Highlighter to Face

Now it’s time to emphasize your best features by adding highlighter to your face.

Apply Highlighter to Your Forehead

If you’re wondering where to apply highlighter, it’s important to spread it to the left and right of your inner eyebrows. Do not apply the makeup directly between your eyebrows.

Add Highlighter to the Tip of Your Nose

Stencil a tiny line down the bridge of your nose just above the contour.

Embed Makeup Highlighter to Your Cheekbones

Beginners are usually unaware of how to apply highlighter to the cheekbones. Use thin strokes to apply highlighter on the top of your cheekbones, angling the outer rims upward to accent the height of your cheeks.

Apply Highlighter to Your Upper Lip

Your Cupid’s bow is the little groove between the two peaks of your upper lip. Put the highlighter here, just where it meets your top lip.

Once your face is full of these lines, it’s time to blend. Use a clean, shaped makeup sponge to gently blend the contour and highlighert shades together on your face, adjusting as you make progress. Finish as you normally would: apply translucent/finishing powder lightly throughout your face and blush on your cheeks to add natural dimension.

Apply any other makeup you wish and voila! Whether you’re going to an event or just out with friends, it’s important to be familiar with how to apply highlighter and contour to your face. These two types of makeup will help you build the foundation for a red carpet look. Learn the latest makeup application techniques by enrolling in the MUD Makeup program offered at Pivot Point Academy. The staff at our school also offer other types of programs in areas such as skin care, hairstyling, and barbering. Give us a call by phone at (847) 450-7896 or fill out our Enrollment Form to become familiar with the process of obtaining an esthetician, cosmetology, and beauty license.