Sunday, April 17, 2011

Contour/Highlighting and the Concept of Light

I am soo excited to write this post! Contouring and highlighting is my favorite part in makeup application. It is what has your makeup stand out above the rest...especially with women of color. As I said in a previous post, that i do makeup based on the theory of light, and not necessarily just what "matches your skin". To me foundation goes beyond just picking out the right shade. Even though that is VERY important, it goes deeper than that. Let's talk about it!

The first thing to know is that every one's face shape is different. A nose could be wide and another pointy. A face shape could be rounder of more defined. Either way, contouring and highlighting helps with altering or enhancing some of your features. Not only does it do that but it also brings a "halo" (you thought about Beyonce' right there didn't you?!) to the skin. It gives a natural glow that is really pretty.

I look at a face and first decide what face shape they have and how to make it the most flattering. For me, I have a very heart shaped face, and I love to accentuate my cheekbones, and make my forehead more narrow. So I take a contour shade, which is just a darker cream foundation, and place that on the outer areas of my forehead and under my cheekbones.

All of this might sound a bit confusing, but there is a simple way to look at it. Whatever you want to "take away" that is where you put a darker color, and anything that you want to "stand out" that is where you put a lighter color. If you want to make your bottom lip look more plump, you would place a lighter color on the center of your lip and place a darker shade right below the lip. Placing that darker shade there will give more emphasis on the lighter area. Bottom line is you want to apply your make up depending on how the light is going to pick it up.

I like to apply a highlight to the top of the cheekbones, because I know the light is going to grab that color and shimmer and make your cheekbones look GORGEOUS! I would naturally place a contour shade on the sides of the nose because I know that when the light hits it, it will not catch the darker shade, and thus give the illusion of a slender nose.

The best way to show you is through pictures. =) Take a look at the ones I posted. The woman getting her makeup done is the BEAUTIFUL and TALENTED Trimaine Reed. She was performing for a Neo Soul Lounge in downtown Nashville, wanted to look like a diva! I really enjoyed doing this look! But more importantly, it will give you a better understanding on contouring and highlighting.

I do the contouring and highlighting before foundation, and then I use the foundation to buff it all in. I use a darker cream foundation for the contour and a cream concealer for the highlight. Then I also at times apply a powder on top, like a light loose powder under the eyes and on the bridge of the nose, and a darker powder around the perimeters of the face.

Women of color are not all one color. So if you were to just apply a foundation, and nothing else, we would have a flat canvas with no dimensions which can give us a mask look and even look ashy at times. To avoid this and still not contour or highlight, then you would use VERY MINIMAL foundation that gives sheer coverage. Although, I don't really encourage this. Even when I am in a hurry I still never skip this step of adding dimensions. It makes the BIGGEST difference!

For women with a lighter skin tone, the colors for the contour are going to be lighter than the ones for darker skin, and if you are really fair, I like to play on highlights and have your natural shadows be your contour.

It could take a whole book to go really in depth, but if you keep that simple tip in mind about dark taking away, and light standing out then you will be able to create a very nice canvas. Just don't think hard about it, because it can give you a headache...I know from my many of nights studying out foundation undertones! lol

Here is a list of products I love using to create that GORGEOUS contour and highlight! Enjoy!


1) Covergirl Queen Collection Compact Foundations

2) Iman Stick Foundations

3) MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

4) Iman Semi - Loose Powder

5) MARK Bronzer


1) MAC Studio Finish Concealer

2) Loreal True Match Concealer

3) MAC Mineralized Skinfinish

4) MAC Loose Highlight Powders
I have not been able to find these besides at a CCO.

5) NARS Highlight/Blush Duo - Hungry Heart

6) Maybelline Mineral Power Translucent Powder

I hope this was helpful!

Glitter and Smiles,

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