Cream Contour 101

Friday, May 06, 2016



Contour and highlight has never been a main step in my makeup routine, in fact there was a time where I wasn't doing either. If I'm being honest I actually found them both to be unnecessary steps that my face could easily go without. Today I not only wised up and have learned of the many benefits of the technique but I now thoroughly enjoy using both of them to enhances my features and provide dimension to my round face.

Contouring can seem quite daunting, admittedly that was what steered me away from it for so long, however contouring can be pretty beneficial. Simply put contouring is the act of adding shape to one's face by providing the illusion of shadow and depth within their appearance. Typically, depending on a person's skin tone, contouring is done with matte cream of powder that is two to three shades darker than your actual skin tone. Your contour shade should also be cooler than say a bronzer so that it can successfully mimic the look of a shadow on your desired contour areas. Whether you use creams or powders to contour is all personal preference, but from my understanding cream contouring tends to be the easiest and is where I have found the most success. Three of the most popular areas for contouring are one's cheekbones, their temples and along their jawline. Some contour enthusiasts even chisel their nose, neck and collarbone.

To contour I reach for my Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick in the shade Espresso. It is the darkest shade in the range, however I actually find it to be a bit too warm for me. I also stick to contouring just my cheekbones and temples because again the foundation stick does tend to pull more warm and would look weird if I tried to contour anywhere else on my face.

Highlighting is the complete opposite of contouring. Where contour is used to sculpt and minimize certain areas of the face, highlight is used to accentuate the parts you want to standout. Key areas for highlighting include under the eyes, down the center of the face, which just means the middle of one's forehead, the bridge of their nose, their cupid-bow and their chin, as well as the top of their cheekbones. We typically look to highlight the places we want to bring more light to, like under the eyes to appear more bright-eyed and awake. We also look look to highlight the high point of our faces, which are the parts that naturally captures the light, like the tops of cheeks.

To highlight the main areas mentioned above I reach for my MAC Pro Long Wear Concealer in NW40, which is a shade lighter than my normal complexion. Typically I only like to conceal/ highlight under my eyes in the usual triangle formation but on occasion I like to highlight the center of my forehead, down the middle of my nose as well as my chin. Some times I also like to add a bit of concealer right under my contour to help further sculpt my cheekbones and keep everything nice and sharp. Once I've mapped out where I'd like to contour and highlight I then take my damp Beauty Blender Sponge and begin to blend it all out. Then when it's all blended I use my Laura Mercier Translucent Powder to set and bake it in; again being sure to go right under my contour to sharpen the appearance of it. And once my face if is finished baking I dust off the excess powder and hit the very top of my cheekbones with a bit of Benefit Watt's Up Cream Highlight. I try not to go overboard on this step since I have really oily skin and too much shimmer and highlighter can begin to look like a greasy mess. When I'm satisfied with my contour and highlight I make sure to apply a bit of blush to my cheeks to finish off the look; today I used NARS LoveJoy

And that completes my cream contour and highlight routine. It seems complicated but I assure you it is actually quite straightforward. The trick is the apply a little and to blend a lot. Personally I prefer subtle definition but if you like the truly defined look you can simply build your contour up. Now tell me what does your contour and highlight routine consist of? Do you prefer cream or powder products? Let me know in the comments.