Home / Beauty /

How To: Contouring, Bronzing and Highlighting

Bronzing, contouring and highlighting!

How To: Contouring, Bronzing and Highlighting

This is my method of bronzing, contouring and highlighting using a few of my favourite natural make-up products. This is especially handy for the fair-skinned girls! (Warning, scary images of my face coming up…..)

Contouring guideContouring & Highlighting

This is something I do almost every day (not exactly like above haha). As I’ve tried to illustrate in the picture, it’s a method of applying make-up to certain areas of the face to help create definition. It’s a bit like painting, you need to add light and dark tones to create contrast, shadow and depth, to make the key features stand out.

Contouring – Essentials

You’ll need a foundation or contouring powder, cream or liquid a few shades darker than your natural skin tone. If using cream or liquid, you can use a Beauty Blender or if using powder you’ll need both a medium-sized and large powder brush. I use Honeypie Minerals Dark Foundation or Green People Pressed Powder in Honey Medium would work really well (I tried Caramel Medium but it was a shade too light so this one is on my wish list!) along with Lily Lolo Bondi Bronze, the Real Techniques flat-top Buffing Brush and the Real Techniques Powder Brush.

How To Contour

  1. Base foundation: firstly apply foundation that matches your natural skin tone as usual to create the base (or none if you’re blessed with epic skin!)
  2. Starting at my cheeks, I apply my dark powder in the hollow of my cheekbones (underneath the apples of the cheeks) using the Real Techniques Buffing Brush to sculpt my chubby cheeks. Make sure to get into the lady-sideburns near your ears. Don’t be afraid to apply a couple of layers here as this will be blended out later.
  3. Taking it upwards, I apply the dark powder along my temples and around my forehead and into the hairline.
  4. Moving down, I apply the dark powder along my jawline, underneath my chin and down my neck a little.
  5. To define my huge snout (genetics, hey!) I add the dark powder to the sides of my nose and up into the eye-socket.
  6. BLEND: a lot! A larger brush helps with this bit to buff away any harsh lines and excess product.
  7. Apply more contour to build the definition. This is where I go in with another dark powder (Bondi Bronzer) as I like the additional tones and little touch of shimmer. Blend again!

Highlighting – Essentials

Any highlighting powder, light shimmery blush, light pearly eyeshadow or pale bronzer and a foundation liquid, concealer or powder one shade lighter than your natural skin tone. I alternate between Lily Lolo Waikiki and Lily Lolo Cherry Blossom but I have also tried a Bellápierre mineral loose eyeshadow (from this kit) which worked nicely too! To apply I use Real Techniques Contour Brush but any smaller fluffy brush will work.

How To Highlight

  1. OK we’ve emphasised the darker areas of the face, now we need to bring out them out even more by highlighting the prominent features.
  2. Using a foundation or concealer a shade lighter, you can create a triangle underneath the eyes to create a greater contrast with the cheekbones (personally this is the part I always skip!), make the eyes brighter and reduce any dark circles. Make sure to blend this out really well. I’d suggest doing the under eye highlighting right after applying your base foundation if you use liquid, then setting it all in place with powder.
  3. Now my favourite part – apply highlighter to the apples of the cheeks above the dark contour. I love using a shimmery sparkly highlighter to catch the light 🙂
  4. Take the highlighter underneath the eyebrows to define the brow bone.
  5. Add a light touch along the bridge of the nose, up on the lower forehead and on the Cupid’s bow.

Now that we have that mastered, we can move on to bronzing…

A scary image of how to bronze :)Bronzing

For sunny summery days, a bit of bronzer is lovely to add a natural sun-kissed glow if you don’t tan very easily. It differs from contouring, as you apply on the areas where you would naturally catch the sun instead of trying to carefully sculpt your features. Also the image above is more of a guideline and not a literal diagram 😛

Bronzing – Essentials

Simply, a bronzing powder, cream or liquid and a medium-sized powder brush. If using a cream you could just use your fingers or a Beauty Blender. I like to use Lily Lolo Bondi Bronzer and my slanted, flat-top make-up brush from Amazon.

How To Apply Bronzer

  1. Buff your beautiful bronzer generously across your cheekbones and lightly into the hollow of your cheeks, but not too close to the nose (I have sported this look by accident before… it’s not very flattering haha), before working up along the temples.
  2. Sweep across the top of the forehead and down the bridge of your nose.
  3. Dust some more bronzer along the jawline and bring down onto the neck and collarbones if you’re wearing a lower-cut top.
  4. Bronzing done!
  5. Highlighting: same as above – pop some light shimmer just above the cheekbones, a touch down the bridge of the nose, on the brow bone and on the Cupid’s bow.

I tried to take a photo catching the highlighter and bronzer but I couldn’t get the lighting right to do this! I find it’s not super noticeable on my skin even if I put loads of bronzer on, by the time I’m buffed it out it just looks quite natural. I’m not sure if this might be because I only use a mineral foundation powder, so perhaps if you used a liquid foundation to blend the bronzer into, it might look more emphasised.

Natural Bronzer Look!My make-up brushesThe Brushes

Three Real Techniques brushes as mentioned above, and a copycat Real Techniques angled brush from Amazon!

You might also like:

Share this article

  • Wild Organic Beauty

    I totally wanted you to do this post! This is amazing! Your makeup looks so fresh and pretty. xx

    • Aww thank you! My skin has suddenly decided to behave itself lately which helps! I know, this post is especially for you since you asked so nicely haha I told you I’d write a post about contouring by the end of the week 😛 I’m so glad you like it x x

  • I tend to not contour and highlight as I prefer a minimalistic routine. Partly because I love the natural look, and partly because I’m lazy. But for special occasions, I’ll definitely take note of these tips. I’d also love to try the Lily Lolo Bondi Bronzer.

  • Thanks Isabel, happy you like the post!
    God bless lady-sideburns 😛

  • Hi Sophie,

    Thanks for this post – I’ve rarely used bronzer so this guide will definitely come in handy! Saved it to my bookmarks.

    Besma (Curiously Conscious)

Read previous post:
Earthnicity Minerals
Mini Spring Haul | Earthnicity

Last month I may have had a mini splurge on another green British beauty brand, but it was definitely worth it!...