Contours And Highlights: Practical Magic For The Every Day Woman

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kristy-before-and-after-1Wouldn’t it be great to just wave a magic wand and completely change your look? Some choose invasive treatments when searching online for ‘bump on nose‘ solutions, however for me, being an expert in contouring and highlighting is about more than being a beautician. This ability makes some of my clients call me a magician – which always makes me smile!

Normally, a “magician” never reveals her secrets, but since I’m being given this wonderful opportunity to be a beauty editor for this magazine, and the fact that I love to teach, I’m going to share what you need to know to get started on contouring today!

Is Contouring For You?

Here are some questions I get asked all the time!

  • Kim, can you make my face look thinner and more chiseled?
  • Can you make my nose were more narrow and straight?
  • Maybe you have some of the same requests?

Do you envy Angelina Jolie’s and Aishwarya Rai’s full, sexy pout? Want to steal Megan Fox’s cheekbones? Or maybe you want to play off your gorgeous collarbones and perhaps enhance your cleavage? (Yes, I just said that in an Indian Magazine!)

Can this be done?

With contouring and highlighting, you can. Thanks to exciting new products and the explosion of online tutorials in social media, contouring and highlighting is hot and on trend. I first learned about highlighting and contouring 15 years ago in Blanche MacDonald’s Certified Makeup Artistry Program and things have evolved a lot since then.

What is contouring?

Once upon a time only professional makeup artists in films, editorial photography and high fashion runways shows used this technique.

Bright lights and flashes can wash out the face, making it look one-dimensional. Makeup artists had to apply extreme contouring so that the makeup could be seen on camera and film.

Times have changed though and contouring isn’t just for models and actresses anymore, anyone can use it to enhance their existing beauty. Now, you can use this makeup technique for getting dolled up for weddings, special events, dinner parties or a night out on the town!

What’s great about contouring and highlighting is that it lets you sculpt the face, playing up features you love most and camouflaging what you love less. You can create any look you want – whether it’s a very sculpted “Barbie doll” look, something more blended, or a perfect disguise for those pesky imperfections.

Let’s face it, as women we all have features we love to showcase. At the same time, we’ve got things we would rather hide. My method of contouring is very unique, blended and looks flawless. I would love to share it with you!

Follow these steps for expert contouring and highlighting:

Step 1
Choose a foundation that matches your skin tone, liquid or cream, whatever you feel most comfortable using.

Step 2
For a more chiseled and defined look, apply contour lines using a dark shade of contour cream to create shadows. This is typically applied underneath your cheekbones, your jaw line, to the sides of your nose and to the temple area.

Step 3
Apply highlight lines using the lighter shade of highlight cream. You are going to want to put it in the spots you want to highlight or where you want the skin to look more full.

I would suggest applying the highlight underneath the bridge of your nose, under your eyes and in the middle of your forehead.

Step 4
Using a brush, stipple the lines to melt them into your foundation flawlessly.

Step 5
Apply your full coverage powder to set all of the zones. Use the same shades as your contour and highlight colors.

Step 6
If you want a more dramatic look, you can amplify your highlight and contour by adding another layer using your favorite highlight and contour kit. Apply to your personal taste – be you (but even better)! Pro tip: Consider the time of day in your application. I would suggest a lighter look for a daytime function, and amp it up a little for an evening out.

Final Step
Remember to have fun!

After all, it’s just makeup and practice makes perfect. Now wave your magic wand (or brush in my case) and say Abracadabra, and make some magic of your own! The world will be under your spell in no time.

Pro Tips:

* Consider time of day in your application.
Apply your makeup lighter for a daytime function, and amp it up a little darker for an evening

* Some of my favorite contouring kits are by Smash Box, Cinema Secrets and Anastasia Beverly Hills.

About the Author

Kim Basran is an experienced and internationally renowned makeup and hair artist. She is an innovator, educator and makeup industry pioneer. Stylist to brides, music super stars, celebrity designers and pageant queens alike, Kim won the Wedluxe Award for Best Hair and Makeup Artist in 2010. She earned her Professional Development Instructor certification in 2012 and is now teaching and workshops to continue her mission of empowering women to look and feel their best.