How to Contour and Highlight
First, start with a fresh, clean face. Add a light moisturizer and let it dry completely before starting. Add concealer, if needed, then apply a light layer of foundation. Click here to learn how to apply mineral foundation.
In general, you’ll want to highlight a few key areas of your face, including the front of your nose, above your cheekbones and just below the eyes, and usually a circle on the forehead and chin, unless otherwise noted or unless you have a more prominent forehead or chin. Check out the specific instructions below for how to highlight based on your face shape.
In general, you’ll want to contour the bottom edges of the cheekbones (around the area that sinks in if you suck your cheeks together) to define the cheekbones and on the sides of the nose to create a slimmer nose. Look at the specific instructions below for contouring tips based on your face shape.
Start by blending the highlighter from the center outward, and then blend the contour from the outside inward, to create a smooth, more natural looking color. Step back and take a good look to make sure you did not leave behind any harsh lines. Moving to a room with different lighting or turning on another light will also help you to see if you blended everything well.
Add finishing powder using a dabbing motion. Do not brush the powder on, or you can end up changing the way the contouring and highlighting powder look.
In addition to contouring and highlighting in the areas listed in the above directions, use the following contouring tips based on your face shape.
Contour along the sides of the forehead and along the hairline to create a lower, narrower hairline. Also contour along the sides and under your jawbone to make it appear a bit narrower.
Contour along the sides of the forehead and temples and into your cheekbones. Contour the tip of your chin to soften the point, if desired.
Contour on the sides of the forehead and along the temples to make the top of your face appear a little narrower. Contour the cheekbones and then take that contouring down a bit on the sides of the jawbone, to narrow the bottom part of your face.
Note that regardless of your face shape, if you have a larger forehead, chin, nose, or other features that you want to minimize, you may need to adjust these highlighting and contouring instructions in order to flatter your features, rather than enlarge them. The same can be said for those with a less prominent chin or other features that they wish to appear larger.
Remember: Just like when you apply mineral foundation, you want to add just a bit of product at a time to your brush. Check out our tips for applying foundation, which can also be used for applying highlighter and contouring powder.