Contour & Highlight 101
When I first discovered contouring, I felt like my world has completely changed and some angel light was shone down upon the heavens. I might or might not be exaggerating.
You see, contouring has the ability to transform and enhance facial features that I'm personally, not pleased with. My entire face is not symmetrical and it's just natural but I would love for it to be. My right side is lower than my left and most likely, I am the only one who can tell that apart cause I scrutinize into the mirror wayyy too much!
It's more of an enhancement than alteration and contouring and highlighting have always made me feel 'slightly' more confident as well.
Prior to my current weight, at my heaviest, I was 10kg more and my face was the first to go. It was so wide, a ruler couldn't finish measuring it probably. I lost all definition and round was the only shape used to describe my face.
Up till this date, my high forehead, jaw muscles and not-prominent cheekbones are still one of my biggest 'flaws' (in my mind). I don't have any wish to alter them permanently so makeup gives me an alternative!
Contouring is a technique used to give your face more dimension and 'bring out' certain features while at the same time 'reducing' some.
Some of the images I am gonna use are not mine and credits go to Google!
Several things to note beforehand:
- Matte: yes, matte shades. If u go in with a shimmery bronzer or anything with a glow, nothing is gonna get 'sunken in' cause light reflects!
- Tone: The tone of ur contour shade is the most important factor. Based on girls with fairer skin shades, go with something that's GREY-brown; essentially taupe to mimic shadows. Unless u r dark, brown will look super muddy on most fairer skin tones cause the orange/warm tones in brown will appear.
- Blur: blur out ur contour lines. Shadows do not have straight defined lines so it's more like mimicking blurry shadows rather a straight defined line.
A quick depiction on the two shades of brown I'm talking about. Warmer tone browns are normally used for bronzing - to imitate a sun-kissed look.
However, if you're super warm toned and you feel that warm-toned browns suits you more, go for it. I'm just mentioning stuff that of course, are slightly catered to me.
And if all your life, you've looked good & feel good with whatever u used, then just stick by it or experiment! It's just makeup and all can be washed off in the end.
Areas to contour:
- Under cheekbones
- Sides of face (jaw muscle)
- Sides of nose
- Under lips
Not everyone needs to contour the same area. If your face is naturally sharp, skip the sides of the jaw. If your forehead is small, skip the forehead. If your nose is naturally small, omg then don't need contouring there! It's really just knowing ur own facial features and playing around to see which u like best, and which suits u!
This is really a v generic 'template' so don't follow them exactly down to a T lah. That's really not necessary. You know your face shape better than me. Also, this face chart is basically a model face shape so the shading and stuff I did basically looks ridiculous, but I wanted a blank face chart to give you a general guide, so hope this is helpful!
I have a big bony forehead and I used to grow my fringe to cover it up but fringe has gotta be the most annoying thing on earth. I like how they look but I don't like living with them.
So I normally contour along the hairline. Don't go contouring ur entire forehead okay cause that would result in your forehead looking an entirely different shade compared to the rest of your face. Just around the hair line will automatically give the illusion of a smaller forehead!
Who doesn't want high cheekbones that can CUT! Hahaha I do 🙋🏻🙋🏻🙋🏻 and just a small amount of shading can create that so why not? Yes, I am a vainpot.
To find the hollows of ur cheeks, do a sucking-fishy face and the part that goes in is where you should be shading.
Alternatively, from the top part of ur ear, connect a line to the side of ur mouth and u can use that line to mark out the contour as well.
I like to stop right before the inner cheeks, or about 3 fingers' spacing away from the mouth.
Sides of face (Jaw muscles)
I have very muscle-y jaw and it makes my face look very....man-ly. So angling is important but contouring helps to conceal these parts and give me a 'sharper' jawline. It just reduces the part and allow them to 'fade into the background'.
I contour really slightly at that area and drag it along my jaw lines to give my face a slimmer look. This is really unnecessary if your face is sharpish or elongated.
I like to contour below the jaw line as well so it gives me a more defined jaw line!
Sides of Nose
I don't think my nose bridge is extremely flat but it's not super high lah. Very average. I also don't like the fleshy part of my nose tip so contouring helps.
I used to go crazy and contour the shit out of my nose and I had an aunt who thought I went for a nose job, which I think it's abit too extreme so nowadays I keep to enhancing what I have.
Blessed with typical Asian nose, I like to use this trick to give an illusion of a smaller nose. I normally use a cream pigment and small brush to mark out how 'small' the width of my nose bridge I want, and then I blend it downwards with my fingers.
If I want a 'stronger' contour, I go in with powder.
Under Lower Lip
I don't do this everytime but contouring there gives u a shadow which supposedly gives you a more pouty look.
Still referring to the same face chart, now I'm gonna quickly cover the highlight area! This is not the shiny shiny highlight everyone's using but more of a matte highlight to bring out certain features of the face.
Areas to Illuminate
- Brow bones
- Nose bridge
- Inner corner of eyes
- Cupid's bow
Again, not everyone needs to illuminate the same area! It's knowing ur features and playing around with what suits u best.
I like highlighting my forehead to give it a more 3D look. Plus my forehead is bony so highlighting it reflects light and give it a plumper look to it!
Highlighting brow bones give a slightly lifted look which results in a more youthful appearance.
Not blessed with sharp nose bridge so fake it till I make it! Haha I don't put highlight down my entire nose. Just at the bridge and then at the tip of the nose to 'connect' the look.
The highlight reflects light so the part where our nose bridge is concaved will seem more defined.
Inner corner of Eyes
Our inner corners are normally darker so highlighting that area instantly 'wakes' me up! Especially in pictures. It aids in reducing the appearance of dark circles!
Quite self explanatory. It pops ur cheekbones cause light reflects off it. I place this higher than where my cheekbones usually is, (quite near the eye area) to give the illusion of higher cheekbones. I also like to connect this with my brow bone highlight so like a big 'C'!
This also helps to define ur lips/give it a pouty look and I just do it normally for fun lah. It's all in the light reflection.
Laugh lines tend to age a person! So when I highlight that area, it has a brightening effect. I like to bring the highlighter around my nose area where the skin there tend to be redder.
I like to elongate my face cause otherwise, it's damn round so highlighting the chin helps give me a sharper and more elongated face shape.
And that's the end of my basic contour/highlight 101 post! I do hope this post has been helpful to you. Again, this is not a one-size-fits-all kinda thing. Play around and find out which part you enjoy the most or seemed flattering! Have fun and talk to you guys soon! xo Pea