Highlighting and Contouring 101

The great Renny Vasquez one said, “If you really wanna serve the kids, you gotta sculpt out that extra neck”. And honey, I’d have to agree. With the slew of so-called makeup artists on social media platforms, everyone has become some degree of a beauty expert; and nothing says “beat face” more than a snatched nose and a blinding highlight.

You clicked on this post because you too want to know all about the infamous highlight and contour. You’ve heard of it's sorcery and want to know the story behind it. Perhaps you’ve tried it on yourself and you can't quite get the hang of it. Have no fear; Here is all you need to know about highlighting for the nations and contouring for the gods. Pull out your pen and paper and let's get to WERK!

Let's start with the definition.

Highlight: To make more aware of, visible, and appealing.

Contour: The outline of a figure or body; the edge or line that defines or bounds a shape or object.

In a nutshell, highlighting is to making something stand out and more appealing and contouring is adding depth, definition, and dimension to give a more sculpted look to the body. Highlighting can make your lips appear larger, eyes appear larger abe under-eyes brighter,and cheekbones higher. Contouring can be used to give the appearance of, including, but not limited to, a smaller forehead, sculpted cheekbones, a chiseled jawline, a slimmed and symmetrical nose, and even larger breasts. When done together, baby you will have achieved the ultimate beat!


These effects can be achieved by using light colored foundations and concealers, shimmery highlighting powders and even eyeshadows. Contour with a bronzer, concealer, creme foundation, matte powders (with brown, beige, taupe, and grey tones), blush, or a combination of more than one.

Here are 5 steps to highlighting and contouring like a pro:

1. Discover your skin type to determine your outcome.


This dynamic duo can be done on any skin type, but discovering if you’re oily, dry, normal/combination will help to determine what type of products your should use to achieve the perfect contour for you.

If you're oily, stay away from creme-based products and use powders. This means that for the sake of a beginner, you should contour with a powder AFTER applying foundation and concealer. Make sure your powder is a couple shades darker than your skin tone and has a matte finish to give the illusion of shadows.

If your skin tends to be more on the dry side, make sure you have moisturized your skin and apply creme products such as foundations and concealers. The outcome will be a chiseled face with a beautiful dewy finish, making your skin look fresh and hydrated.

If you don't necessarily identify as oily, or dry, chile, consider yourself blessed because you can choose either a dewy finish or matte finish, using a combination of cremes and powders to achieve your perfect look.


Highlight using a foundation or concealer 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone and contour 1-2 shades darker. If you use a combination of Cremes and powders, remember to do them in that order. Creme first and powder to set.

2. When in doubt, map it out.


Placement is key! A universal rule of thumb for contouring is using the E3 method for the perimeter of the face and connecting the inside of each eyebrow, down the sides of the nose. (If you’re trying to make your nose appear less wide).

To highlight, dab a little highlighting powder in the inner tear ducts, the high plains of the cheek and Cupid's bow.

3. Blend baby, blend!

I know that people often say that there are no rules to makeup but that's not true. One of the most important rules is: No harsh lines.


Trust me when I say it’s better to add more than it is to take away. Start with minimal product and build, in layers to increase the intensity.

If you're using creme products, using a damp Beauty Blender or triangle sponge are the best way to ensure a seamless blend.

For powders, the fluffier the brush the better!

4. Set and SLAY!


Apply a light amount of translucent powder to the entire face to set everything in place. [ Insert a little blush as well for you rouge-wearers]. Spray your face with your favorite setting spray ( I LOVE the Skindinavia Oil Control Finishing Spray), and make the world your runway!