Makeup Tricks: Contouring and Highlighting

We often see celebrities with picture perfect skin and flawless facial structure and assume that it is achieved with a long held secret of celebrity makeup artists (and plastic surgeons), but makeup artist Kate Cameron is unlocking the mystery for us young professional women. Impossibly high cheekbones, slim and slender noses, and seemingly flawless complexions are now attainable for all, and the answer is in contouring and highlighting… 

There are numerous contouring and highlighting products on the market right now that include both powder or cream makeups. As I am cosmetically callow, I jumped at the chance to let Kate work her magic and teach me some new makeup tricks. Kate chooses powder to contour and highlight. “Contouring defines your features, emphasizes your angles and can even manipulate the structure of your face. I like to think of it as a tool to help emphasize your favorite features and downplay your insecurities,” she says. 

Products Used:
– Primer
– Foundation/concealer
– Translucent powder
– Matte bronzer or powder that is a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone (to create the illusion of a shadow.)
– Highlighter or basic matte powder that is lighter than your skin tone
– Blush

Tools Used:
– Angled contour brush
– Big powder brush
– Blush brush
– Thin flat eyeshadow brush

Step #1
Evenly apply primer over your entire face to provide longevity to your makeup and to smooth out any rough textures.

Step #2
Using a foundation brush, apply foundation over your face and neck to create an even skin tone and a blank canvas.  

Step #3
Under your eye and on any imperfections, apply your concealer.

Step #4
Sweep your translucent powder over your entire face, but concentrate on your t-zone. Translucent powder is a non pigmented mineral powder. It is used to eliminate any shine and to set a flawless base for your makeup. It is available both pressed or loose.

With this fresh and even base, it is time to start the contouring process.

Step #5
Beginning with a highlighter and using your powder brush, sweep the highlighting powder directly onto your cheekbones and up to the brow bone. Glide your powder brush down the center of your nose and create a “V” shape in the center of your forehead. Lastly, dab a small circle on your chin and in the dip right above your lips to bring the face forward and to create a plumper lip. This highlighter is placed wherever the natural light would fall onto your face.

Step #6
Dip your contouring angled brush into your bronzer or darker powder and apply to the outer edges of your chin and trace along your jawline. This gives the illusion of a very sharp and defined jawline. 

Glide your brush diagonally under your cheekbones. Start delicately and gradually and build to create a deepened and hollowed look. Creating the look of a ‘half moon’ shape, continue gliding your brush up to your temples. On the top of your forehead, sweep the product along your hairline. 

Tip: To get an idea of where your cheekbones are, rest the end of the brush below the bone. 

To thin out your nose, use a more narrow eyeshadow brush and swoop up and down the sides of your nose with the contouring powder.

Step #7
Using your powder brush, gently moving in a circular motion to blend the entire face. Be patient, as this may take some time.

Step #8
Lastly, add some life and colour to your face by applying a blush to the apples of your cheeks. 

As everyone’s face shape and bone structure differs, it may take practice to master the technique of contouring and highlighting, but it can quickly change your face from flat and dull to luminous and lively.

Photography by Evens Belleus