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How to highlight and contour like a pro

While it used to be a makeup secret of celebrity makeup artists to make cheekbones pop and skin glow, the tricks to highlighting and contouring are now common knowledge to makeup aficionados.


If you want amazing cheekbones, a thinner nose or smaller forehead, these tricks from Christina Farrell, otherwise known as The Makeup Blogger at, will do the trick.

Step 1: Foundation

Apply your foundation as normal using your foundation tool of choice. “This provides basic coverage and gives your face a base,” Farrell says. It will also make sure you’re comfortable with your skin, even as you apply bronzer and highlighter.

Step 2: Lighter foundation

Select a shade of foundation that’s a shade or two lighter than your skin, in noticeable contrast to your normal foundation.

“Use a sponge to apply the lighter foundation on the center of your forehead,” Farrell says. “Taper to a thin line as you move down the center of your nose. Continue the line in the dip right above your lips. Apply a finger-width’s amount from the outer edge of your eye, underneath your eye and widening to cover the outer edge of your nose. Always ensure it’s even on both sides. Apply a small circle on your chin and under the outer arches of your eyebrows.”

Step 3: Contour color

Using a bronzer (Or, if you’re light skinned, using a powder color that’s about two shades darker than your normal skin color), start the contouring process.

“Dip your brush in your contouring color. Apply to the outer edges of your chin. Apply in a thin line between the highlighted areas of your nose and over eyelids. Apply to the very outer edges of each side of your forehead,” Farrell suggests. “For cheeks, contour by starting at the cheekbone around the middle of your eye and following your cheekbone towards your ear.”

Step 4: Highlight

A powder highlighter will allow you to accentuate any features you want to make pop. Farrell suggests highlighting just under your cheekbone contour, but you can also highlight your forehead, nose bridge and more.

“The basic approach is you usually highlight on the inner sections of your face, such as under your eyes, the center of the nose and forehead, middle of the chin and just under your eyebrows,” she says. “These are typically darker areas that make your face seem puffy or sunken in. By highlighting, your face seems brighter, healthier and fuller. “

Step 5: Step back and observe

Are there any spots you’ve missed? Do you need to blend more? Stepping back and giving your newly-contoured face the once-over can make the difference between clunky makeup and a beautiful face.

“Mixing highlighting and contouring helps to bring out your most prominent features while erasing flaws. For instance, you can draw attention to your eyes while removing dark under-eye circles,” Farrell says. “If you think your nose is too slim, highlighting the center and part of each side helps to widen, while contouring the outer edge slightly gives your now-wider nose more definition.”

More beauty tips

10-Step beauty routine for every day of the year
5-Step skin care regimen for oily skin
5-Step skin care regimen for dry skin

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