Define your features by highlighting/contouring!

Today I bring you a little makeup tutorial that will help you instantly bring dimension and light to your already glorious (or maybe tired) complexion!

Wouldn’t we all love to fake cheekbones like these?

We all use blush and bronzer, but learning the method behind how to maximize its uses will really help you bring out your features!

We’re going to do something called highlighting and contouring. Through my studies in makeup (this includes stage makeup classes in college), I’ve learned in that if you wanted to pull something in (i.e. define cheekbones) or create a shadow, you use a dark color, and if you want to add light (normally where light would naturally hit the face), you use a light color. Most importantly, you want to add shadows where they naturally would hit the face, and add highlights where light would naturally hit the face!

Here’s what you need:
– Contour Powder / Bronzer (I use MAC’s Matte Bronze)
– Highlighting Cream / Powder / Liquid (I use Benefit High Beam or MAC Pigment in Vanilla)
– Blush (whatever’s your favorite)

If you don’t have a highlighting powder/liquid, you can always use a light/pearly eyeshadow!

Now, let’s take a look at my face after foundation and concealer.
Β Okay, looks good and my complexion has been evened out but it’s very flat. Faces have natural shadows and highlights, and we need to add those back in.
The first thing you want to do is add shadows back in. You will want to apply your bronzer around your temples, in the hollows of your cheekbones, on either sides of your nose, and underneath your jaw. Be very light-handed with your brush, otherwise it might turn a little freak show-ish. I like using a matte bronzer for this a lot of the time because I don’t want to overdo it with the sparkles (since my highlighter and blush are luminous).
Β I know it looks very slight, but it already is looking less flat, right?
After that, you want to use your highlighting powder/liquid/cream. Basically, something that is light and has a little pearly-ness to it. I love Benefit High Beam because it blends really well and a little goes a long way. You’ll want to apply this above your brows, down the bridge of your nose, the tops of your cheekbones, your cupid’s bow (the little area above your lips), and your chin.
Here’s where I apply my highlighter, unblended. I figured this visual would help. Very war paint looking. Ha.
Finally, take your blush (today I’m wearing Nars Orgasm) and apply on the apples of your cheeks. Set it all with your finishing powder (I used Bobbi Brown Loose Powder). Okay, put some lip gloss on, too (I’m wearing a MAC lipglass… ah, forgot which one).
See, doesn’t this make a dramatic difference in my complexion???
I’m sorry the lighting isn’t the best it could be, but I was up at 6 a.m. taking photos for this tutorial and had to work with my bathroom lights. I tried as best as I could!

I feel this doesn’t take much time and it fits really well in my makeup routine. If I don’t have the time to do the whole shebang, I’ll at least apply bronzer and blush. If you want to do some more self-study before you jump in, HERE is a great video tutorial for contouring and HERE is a great video tutorial for highlighting!

Anyone else do this on a daily basis? What products would you recommend?

Y’all have a great Friday!


  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Something else I need to buy now…you are such a shopping enabler!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Yew iz so pretty. Now I can be pretty too thanks to this! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Jennifer B
    August 26, 2011 at 8:13 am

    You already look good to begin with haha. I, on the other hand, look like death at 6pm. I need to know how to even out my skin to cover acne scars- how do I do that? You are my go-to makeup blog, by the way lol. You and Beauty and the Feast.

    Ps: Heart you too!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 8:15 am

    You are beautiful! I’ve never used anything like those products (I need all the help I can get!) but they’re going on my list of things to get!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Contouring/highlighting makes SUCH a difference!! I’m still trying to get the hang of it though. Great tutorial!! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 8:23 am

    i love kandee’s tutorials!! and i love your visuals!! i generally do a little light contouring with my bronzer on my cheekbones and jaw…i try to do it at my temples, but i’m not using a small enough brush so it looks a little weird. i haven’t been highlighting though, so i may have to pick up the one you recommend. i can TOTALLY see the difference it makes!!


  • Reply
    Ashley Sisk
    August 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Well aren’t you fabulous. I need to add in the highlighting stuff. I already use the bronzer/blush stuff.

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Dibble Dabble Life
    August 26, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I love all of your beauty tips and tutorials! I am not the best makeup applier so all of your tutorial really help me out!

  • Reply
    KJJ Houston
    August 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

    You are so pretty missy! Looking fwd to Sunday!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 9:17 am

    You’re gorgeous! I clearly need to do some makeup shopping…

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 9:26 am

    You are impressive. I want you to do my makeup for me every day, please.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Great tutorial! What lip stuff are you wearing?

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I LOVE your face in the third picture with the unblended highlighter. This was a great tutorial, easy to follow and you can definitely see a difference in the before and after. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Life With Lauren
    August 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    So pretty! My list of products I need to get that you have talked about is growing! I’m going to have to plan an out of town trip just to buy makeup lol!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    You already look amazing to begin with girl! I must buy all these beauty products so I can look gorgeous like you and Carrie! Thanks for the great tutorial girl!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I love your makeup! So pretty.

  • Reply
    Stephanie in Suburbia
    August 28, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I used to use a bronzer and then got away from it b/c my face kept breaking out from all the brushes. But I should totally try again b/c it looks great! I’ve never used the highlighting stuff.

  • Reply
    Ocean Dreams
    August 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    What a transformation and your cheeks just glow! It’s beautiful!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Great post! I hope a lot of people take away these tips… [I feel like not enough people realize the power of wearing blush/bronzer/etc!]

  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 11:13 am

    you are entirely TOO pretty!

    awesome tutorial, thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Laura M
    January 21, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Thank you for teaching so clearly! I love the wonderment of good make up application! If any of you girls want help picking out make up flattering for your skin type/face shape, send me an email! I’m a beauty consultant with Mary Kay cosmetics. We’ll do an eval of your features and I’ll send the correlating cosmetics to your door step!

  • Leave a Comment