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Highlighting and Contouring Tips and Tricks

Posted by Blank Canvas Cosmetics on

You may be curious about highlighting and contouring your face, but aren’t sure if you can pull it off. After all, if you have ever seen someone with a bad contour job, you know that it can be a difficult skill to master. However, when done right, contouring and highlighting can bring out your best features. In this blog, we will go over some important tips for contouring and highlighting, and on what areas of the face you should use your new skills.


Start with a primer. This ensures that all your hard work doesn’t go to waste!

  • Get the right makeup brushes: get two small and fluffy brushes for precise application. Use one for contouring and one for highlighting. Shop Blank Canvas Cosmetics for a wide selection of professional makeup brushes!
  • Use natural light. Many people contour or highlight in the wrong light, and are then horrified when they actually go out into the sun and find they look like a clown. Use as much natural light as you can.
  • Stay light, then layer. It’s easier to add more than take away, so start with a light hand and then layer more product on as necessary.
  • Blend. Initially, your contour will look harsh. Don’t forget to gently blend the color for a softer, natural look.
  • Use matte products for contouring, and shimmer products for highlighting.
  • Finish by applying a translucent powder with a big fluffy brush to ensure your contouring and highlighting last all day long.


When contouring and highlighting your face, start with contouring. The purpose of contouring is to create dimension in the face. This is particularly important in photography, where faces can fall flat. You should contour where shadows naturally fall on your face.

Use a contour pallette like one of the many we offer from Blank Canvas Cosmetics for the right range of colors. In general, you want to use a matte brown, taupe, or bronze. Don’t use a bronzer, as this will be too orange for contouring and will look unnatural. You should contour your:

  • Temples: Contouring your temples makes your face look more oval-shaped. Oval-shaped faces are ideal for applying makeup.
  • Nose: When you contour your nose, you want to make sure it doesn’t look too narrow, which can make your face look completely different. The purpose of contouring your nose is to make it look more defined in photos, not make it look like you got a nose job! Add depth with your contouring, but don’t over do it.
  • Cheekbones: Contouring your cheekbones will make your face look thinner and more defined. Be conscious about how much you are putting on and be sure to blend well or it will look your face is just dirty. Use a light hand to make sure you don’t look like you have mud on your face.
  • Jaw: Contouring your jaw line gives your face more definition and shape because it emphasizes the difference between your neck and your face. If you worry about double chins in photos, contouring your jaw is a must.
  • Eyelid crease: When you contour your eyelid crease, it creates the illusion of depth, making your eyes pop. This is an optional step, but it really adds drama to your eye makeup.
  • Inner eye corners: This is a good trick if you are self-conscious about the size of your nose as it will make it look narrower. It also deepens the eyes.


In contrast, highlighting is used to bring focus to certain parts of the face. It should be applied where light naturally falls on your face, just as where you contour should be where the shadows fall. You can enhance your features by highlighting:

  • The center of your forehead: Highlighting the center of your forehead helps create the oval shape, bringing your forehead out to balance your face after your contouring.
  • Under your eyes: This trick helps to disguise any dark circles or tired eyes. The shimmer in the highlighter brightens the area and reflects light, adding radiance to your entire face.
  • Chin: By highlighting your chin, you separate it from your jawline and complete the illusion of an oval-shaped face.
  • Bridge of your nose: When you highlight the bridge of your nose, it makes your face look longer and more three-dimensional.
  • Brow bone: Your brow bone is space between your eyebrows and eyelid. When you highlight your brow bone, it makes your eyes look deeper set and therefore, more dramatic. For a sophisticated look, highlighting the brow bone is essential.
  • Center of your lips: For this, you want to use a lighter shade of lipstick than the one you are wearing on your lips. This is best for women with thinner lips so they look poutier and plumper. Alternatively, you can use a dab of clear gloss on the center of your lips.
  • Your neck: If you are wearing a lower top, don’t forget to highlight the center of your neck to make it look longer.
  • Collarbone: The collarbone is a very attractive feature on your body, so you want to enhance it and show it off. When you highlight your collarbone, you may want to use both a cream and powder highlighter to ensure staying power.

At Blank Canvas Cosmetics, we offer highlight and contour palettes you can use to enhance your beauty. Shop our online store today!

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