Highlighting and Contouring Like a Pro

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Highlighting and contouring has been around since the 1920’s when actresses used the techniques to look their best on black and white films. In the 1980s it resurfaced again as a major trend and since then, it’s been said to be celebrities’ best kept makeup secret. In 2014 Instagram selfies bombarded us with more of this look and now in 2015 we see brides doing it in a big way for THEIR big day!

Right about now you might be asking yourself “what’s the big deal anyway?”… Let’s just say that with this technique you can make your face thinner, pop out some new cheekbones or even give yourself a nose job — all with a few swipes of the brush! See the appeal?

The whole idea behind this makeup application is to accentuate the features on your face you love and hide the ones you don’t. Darkness will make features recede or appear smaller, and light will make areas pop out. By applying your contouring product and a highlighting product in very specific locations, you’ll be able to change your whole look.

The products you use and how you use them will be essential to pulling this look off! Your product options are either cream or powder and shimmery or matte. The general rule of thumb is choosing a highlight two shades lighter than your skin tone and a contour color two shades deeper, while avoiding colors with red or orange. If these colors are not natural looking on your skin, opt for cooler tones with a hint of taupe.  Remember, for a contour to look natural, you should stick to a product that is within the color range that you would usually wear.  (Pro Tip: Afterwards use bronzer and blush to warm up your skin and make it look sun-kissed.)

Final thoughts…Using a highlighting and contouring technique creates dimension on your face, which looks gorgeous in photographs. However, if the contour and highlight is too heavy, you can look muddy or even worse, shiny in your photos. The key is to blend and initially use very little product, building on more if needed.   It also helps if you take the time to do your makeup research and discover your face shape (i.e. square, round, heart, oval, etc.) and what best compliments that shape.

For your wedding day, keep it nice and simple if you aren’t much for makeup and typically prefer the natural look. But if dramatic is what you are looking for, go heavier to capture that Kim Kardashian signature look.

Evelyn Marks is the owner of freelance beauty company Glam Box, which strives to make women feel beautiful and empowered. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism, she attended the New York International Beauty School, where she earned her cosmetology license. In addition to specializing in makeup for brides and special occasions, Evelyn is also a licensed event and wedding planner.

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