If there’s one beauty trend that ain’t going anywhere soon, it’s contouring and highlighter makeup; yep, the makeup trend that Kim K put on the beauty map has got the entire beauty world enraptured. What is contour makeup, you ask? Well, for the uninitiated face contouring is the art of sculpting your face by using darker shades to define or enhance your facial features such as cheekbones, forehead, nose and chin. Highlighting (also known as strobing) on the other hand offsets contouring by accentuating areas of your face that naturally catches the light. Result? Fresh, healthy complexion with a lit-from-within glow!
Of course, it's really easy to go overboard with the bronzer and look sun burnt (yikes) or use the wrong product texture, only to look like a shimmering disco ball; not a good look we assure you. That's why we have rounded up some really easy tips that will make the entire process really easy.
But first let us take a peek at the kind of formulations available to contour and highlight like a pro. Take your pick!
1. Powder Formulations
Reach for portable sticks if you are a newbie. This is because unlike the others, these don’t have a high color payoff, so you won’t end up looking like a clown (even if you are heavy handed); plus, it’s easy to control the intensity and achieve the look that you desire. The texture is also great for oily skin types.
Nykaa Recommends: Maybelline New York V-Face Duo Stick
2. Liquid Formulations
Liquid highlighter and contour products are the most versatile, no matter your skill level. Choose a product with a light-weight texture (that blends easily) for the most natural effect. If you can’t find the perfect product, just choose a foundation that is one to two shades darker than your complexion. Blend for a crease-free finish.
Nykaa Recommends: L'Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator
3. Cream Formulations
This one’s for all the makeup pros out there. They have a thicker texture and hence needs more blending than the rest. However, when done right, these formulations can give a professional look (especially in photos). You can also mix and match different hues to create your custom shade that will suit your skin tone. Don’t forget that a cream highlighter or contour product works best on those with normal or dry skin types.
Nykaa Recommends: Makeup Revolution HD Pro Cream Contour
Get The Look
Now that you know what is highlighter makeup all about, it’s time to get down to the basics, AKA—how to get contouring makeup right in a few easy steps.
Lucky for you, we have made the process as simple as possible for you to nail those supermodel-like cheekbones or a perfect sun-kissed complexion, just like that! You can thank us later.
- It’s All About The Base: After your daily CTM routine, prep your skin with a primer. Next, apply foundation and concealer to even out your complexion.
- Choose The Right Product: As we had mentioned earlier, it’s necessary to choose formulations that works best for your skin type. If you have oily skin, choose a contour and highlighter powder, while people with dry skin should opt for creamy or liquid textures. The rule of the thumb is to avoid shimmery products and opt for matte textures, as far as contouring is concerned. For strobing (highlighting), the best face highlighter is the one that is slightly shimmery and complements your skin tone to a T
- Map Your Face: To sculpt your face right, you should know exactly which portions of the face you want to contour and highlight. Start by brushing the product over your temples, moving down to your cheekbones, and finishing along the jawline in a ‘3’-like motion. You can even use a tapered brush to apply a bit of product down the sides of your nose to give the illusion of a higher bridge.
- Blend Then Highlight: The key to achieving the most natural contour is to blend all the sharp lines. For face highlighter makeup, swipe your favourite highlighter on your brow bone, the top of your cheekbones (where the light hits your face), the center of the forehead, the bridge of the nose, the center your chin and the top of Cupid’s bow. Finish off with a nude lippy for a dewy, natural look.
All Your Queries Answered
Now that you know how to ace the contouring and highlighting game, let’s get some of those frequently asked questions answered; plus we have put together some great product recommendations to make your life easier.
Q: Do you put on powder before or after contouring?
A: It’s best to use powders after contouring. Post your contouring and highlighting makeup routine, swipe setting powder or translucent powder to get ride of shine, blur lines and pores for a flawless matte finish. Try the Nyx Professional Makeup HD Finishing Powder that has a super light-weight texture that sets your makeup—perfect for the balmy weather.
Q: Do you put on highlighter before or after foundation?
A. Prepping your face first with a primer, foundation and concealer is always crucial before using any contouring or highlighting product. This way your skin appears even toned and the products blends effortlessly without looking patchy.
Q: What kind of brushes do I need for contouring and highlighting?
A. The best tools to use are an angled contour brush such as Ocean Professional Contour Brush for sculpting, the L.A. Girl Mini Stippling Brush
for blending and the Wet n Wild Fan Brush to swipe on highlighter. Make sure you blend the edges of the different tones carefully for a more natural look.
Q: Any tips for contouring darker skin tones?
A. Rather than contouring, focus on highlighting and accentuating your features such as your chin, forehead, bridge of the nose, Cupid’s bow and chin.