With the right contouring and highlighting tips, you can not only create any kind of illusion you want, but you can attract the light better and generally bring out your most ravishing features. You don't have to go all out Kim Kardashian – but you can if you want to, and that's the point. As much or as little as you choose, you can take your makeup skills up another level and make yourself picture ready or feel radiant for any other reason. The great thing about the following contouring and highlighting tips is that you can adapt them easily to make them work for you.
1 Find the Light
One of the easiest contouring and highlighting tips you'll find is also the most essential: you have to find your light. When you're just hanging out, taking a photo, walking in the sun, or chilling out on the couch – whatever – where does the light hit your face? Every face is different and every facial shape will catch the light differently in certain places, but in general you'll want to pay especially close attention to your T-zone and the bridge of your nose, just over or under your eyebrows, your chin, and under your eyes. These will be the places you focus on highlighting.
2 Pinpoint Your Best Features
Contouring and highlighting is all about bringing out your best features. What are yours? If you love your eyes, for instance, you'll want to focus your makeup efforts there. If you've got killer cheekbones, you'll want to make sure to bring them out using both highlighter and bronzer.
3 Define Your Flaws
By this I don't mean that you want to bring out your flaws, of course, but define what they are to yourself. Do you think your nose is too broad? Do you want to sharpen your jaw or slim down your chin? Don't base your makeup techniques on what other people think, though. Make yourself happy, focus on feeling beautiful yourself, and simply realize that you can make even your perceived imperfections look gorgeous – because with or without makeup, you are gorgeous.
4 The Cs and Es of Contouring and Highlighting
In general, there are some foolproof techniques you can use for both contouring and highlighting. With contouring, start at your hairline above your eyebrow and use your bronzer to draw an E shape. Curve your brush down, make the middle line of the E come in at the hollow of your cheekbone, and the bottom line should follow the line of your jaw. With highlighting, you create a C shape that begins just under the top of your bronzed E and curves around to the top of your cheekbone.
5 We All Cream for Contour
To create a smooth, flawless finish when you're contouring and highlighting, stay away from powders. There's a place for powder in your makeup routine, but that comes later. Cream-based bronzers and highlighters, however, are by and large easier to blend, they go on much more smoothly, and the overall effect is more natural.
6 Layer Your Look
Back to the idea of your powder and foundation, you'll need to learn to layer properly. Begin your makeup routine with your concealer to cover any blemishes or dark circles. After that, apply your foundation – cream, liquid, mousse, it's all your choice. Your powder goes on after initially applying your bronzer and highlighter, then retracing your Cs and Es. The powder will help seal your makeup and keep everything in place. But first, there's one more thing...
7 Blend, Blend, and Blend Again
After you're done applying your bronzer and highlighter, you have to blend. After that, blend some more. Seriously, this is really important, otherwise you'll actually look like you've drawn Cs and Es all over your face. Use a clean brush or sponge and blend in light circles. When you apply your powder, that will help blend in everything as well, and give you a flawless finish.
With all of these tips, you can use more or less makeup during each step of the process, depending on how you want to look. With a little bronzer and highlighter, for example, you can still look fresh faced during the day; add a little more, and you're ready for a truly vampy nighttime look. How do you make your contouring and highlighting look natural? If you've got additional tips, we'd love to hear about them!