Friday, July 24, 2015

How to Highlight & Contour

We've all seen that gorgeous girl on the street with chiseled cheekbones and glowing undereyes. Up until a couple of years ago, I always had serious contour envy. Highlighting and contouring is certainly not an easy process to learn. However, with a lot of practice and many trials, I feel as though I have finally mastered this beauty technique. 

Contouring will take your everyday makeup look to the next level. You can go for a dramatic Kim Kardashian-style look, or you can use a lighter hand to achieve more subtle results. So for all of you newbies out there, I wanted to share my simple steps to the perfect highlight and contour.

As promised, above are the products I use to highlight and contour. L'Oreal Paris True Match Foundation in Nut Brown is the perfect cool-toned shade for contour, and Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Fair is ideal for brightening. Always use a darker shade (typically 2-3 shades darker than your foundation), a lighter shade (typically 2-3 shades lighter than your foundation), and a beauty blender. If you have not used a beauty blender before, you are seriously missing out. They are a bit pricey for what looks like a simple sponge, but something about this tool just works like magic. You can find one at any of your beauty retailers. I typically purchase mine from Sephora.

Now, on to the guide! Please excuse my crazy hair. I was getting ready for my baby shower, and I didn't want to lose my volume.

As illustrated in the photo, the darker/contour shade is applied in the following places:
  • In the hollows of my cheekbones (Hint: If your cheekbones are not very prominent, suck in your cheeks to find the hollow.)
  • Around my jawline
  • On the temples of my forehead
  • Down the sides of my nose (Hint: The smaller the gap between the two lines, the thinner your nose will appear.)

To highlight my face, I applied the lighter shade in the following places:
  • Under my eyes
  • Down the center of my nose
  • Between my eyebrows and up to the center of my forehead
  • Under my cheekbones (Hint: Applying highlight right below your cheekbone contour creates a much more dramatic, chiseled look.)

Once everything is applied, I take my beauty blender and get to work. Do not be afraid to blend the colors together a bit. Just keep blending until there are no longer any harsh lines, and your have a clean look. It will take a few tries to master this, so try not to get frustrated if it doesn't look perfect on your first attempt. Once you do get the hang of it, the process becomes a quick and easy addition to your beauty routine.

The finished look

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Alexandra O'Hanlan | Beauty Bartender

Alexandra is a wife, soon to be mommy, entrepreneur, and lover of all things beauty. By day you can find Alexandra working in the corporate world, and by night she is working hard to build her clothing boutique, Barefoot In Pearls. She can't live without chocolate, lipgloss, and the beach.

Twitter: @Aria_Zoe | Instagram: @alohanlan


  1. Ooh great post :) Excellent how-to 'paint by numbers' diagram!!

    1. Thank you Miki! Glad your enjoyed the article :)

  2. Newbie here, real newbie!. You talk about the highlighter and contour, but when do you apply the foundation? before or after? is the beauty blender a brush or another product???

  3. Kika- I typically recommend applying your primer, concealer and foundation first, before contouring. The beauty blender is more or less like a sponge, you can find more economical ones at Target, they work just as great as the ones from Sephora. I always use two one for my foundation process and one for contouring. Make sure to swap them out for new ones every month to ensure you keep your skin nice and clean! Hope this helps :)

  4. This is awesome. I've always wanted to try this but never felt like I knew enough to do it. Thanks for the help!

  5. Absolutely, glad i am able to help :)

  6. This is great, thank you! When blending how do you keep the darker foundation from darkening the highlighter? Do you rotate the edge of the blender?

  7. Thank you so much for the post you do. I like your post and all you share with us is up to date and quite informative, i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job. learn more about contour rx here


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