Contouring & Highlighting: 101

Whether you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed or watching beauty gurus on YouTube, it seems like contouring and highlighting has become the hottest makeup trend in the past few years!

Makeup Contouring & Highlighting

Contrary to what many people may think, contouring has actually been around as early as the 16th century—long before today’s era, of the Kardashians and Facetuned Instagram selfies!

Working in the makeup industry for nearly 8 years, one of the most common questions my clients ask me is,

“How do I contour and highlight my face?”

Before I can answer this question, we must understand what exactly “contouring” and “highlighting” is…..

What Is Contouring?

Contouring is a technique used in makeup and art to create the illusion of shadows. Shadows refer to an area that receives less light and therefore, we can create these shadows to “push” areas back—creating depth—and reduce the negative effects of highlighted areas on the face.

What Is Highlighting?

Highlighting, which is also a technique used in makeup and art, is essentially the opposite of contouring. While contouring is used to “push” areas back, highlighting is used to “pull” areas forward by bringing light to an area. The technique of highlighting is used to enhance, soften and/or correct the negative influences of shadows.

Choosing a Formula

There are three primary formulas used for contouring and highlighting: cream, liquid and powder.