Contouring and Highlighting


Contouring and highlighting are makeup techniques which help give your face a more chiseled look. Depending on your skin type and face shape you can use various products and product placement methods to define and sculpt your features. Kim Kardashian has been credited in recent times to have brought these methods to the foreground with her constant contoured and highlighted makeup looks. Though the forecast for 2015 is a more subtle contoured look as seen in spring-summer shows of Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang and a few others.

2015 beauty trend

Courtesy: Cosmopolitan

Most girls I know aren’t really aware of contouring and highlighting methods. I would urge you to TRY this makeup route. It brings a definite suave to the face when done right and you could always play it up for a more dramatic evening look. The following are the top few videos that cover the basics of contouring and highlighting along with variations in looks.


Makeup artist Wayne Goss shows us the technique to find our cheekbone and explains the placement of the blush and the highlighter. The fish mouth is the most common method used to find the cheekbone but personally I find Wayne’s method to be better. According to this article applying your blush too low on the face can age your appearance and that’s what the fish mouth method did for my appearance but since I have been using Wayne’s method it is easier and more precise to apply the contouring products.


This video is the second part in Mario’s series of makeup application on Kim Kardashian and you should watch part one and part three too for the entire makeup demonstration. The internet is filled with Kim inspired contouring tutorials but it’s best to see the original method first. You could also watch Teni Panosian’s dramatic contouring video for a more detailed tutorial.


Jovita George discusses contouring for different face shapes. Contour under the cheekbones, the temples, along the hairline, the jaw line and the sides of the nose. You could contour and of these features further according to personal preference. For more tips and tricks watch this video.


Watch the video from 2:43 minutes for the base and contouring instructions. Jordan Liberty shows us a method of contouring which does not involve highlighting. This process of using concealer-foundation-face powder-contour powder-blush powder is most suitable for fair/medium skin tones.


Watch the video from 1:28 minutes for the base and contouring instructions. In this video Jordan Liberty shows the process of using primer-foundation-concealer used as highlighter-face powder and this is most suitable for dark/deep tones. You could also watch this video by Indian makeup artist Elton Fernandez featuring basic contouring for brown skin tones.


Lisa Eldridge, the newly appointed Makeup Creative Director of Lancome, demonstrates a day-time look using cream liquid blush and highlighting concealer. This a quick everyday makeup routine to follow if you are more of a highlight person.Be careful with the highlighting concealer you choose since using too light a shade will take away from the dewy look.


This video by makeup artist Lori Taylor is a quick watch to brush up on the skills learnt in the above videos. Watch this video by Wayne for a tutorial on contouring using liquid products.


1. Using any existing face palette or eye shadow palette practice product placement by finding your cheekbone.

2. Experiment. It takes a lot of trials to finalise on the contoured look you want, a more chiseled cheekbones or a less structured jaw line or any other definition you require.

3. Try various shades of contour product and highlighting product. For example highlight products with white undertones suit pale skin more than olive skin. This is a very personal choice so try out products at various makeup counters before deciding on the final one.

4. Press the brush for a more precise lined application of contour powder/cream.

5. For humid weather powder contouring products are suggested over liquid products.

I am falling short of tips to give cause I am still in the experimenting stage and there is no one method that fits all, but with time I will update the list. If you have any tips or tricks to share do let me know. 🙂