Thursday, October 30, 2014

Guest Post: Mastering the Basics of Highlighting and Contouring

I grew up across the street from today's guest blogger. Ashley has grown into a talented and knowledgeable makeup artist. She recently launched her own brand. She knows the best products and her brides manage a perfect blend between natural and flawless. Her post breaks down something I thought beyond my ability and makes it sound manageable and fun. And for the first time ever, I understand my own face shape, something even the best beauty magazine has never been able to do.

As a makeup artist I am constantly getting questions about how to apply different looks especially when it comes to contouring and highlighting. Highlighting is the application of lightness/brightness to an area to bring it forward, appear larger and draw attention to it. Contouring is the application of darkness to an area creating shadows and sculpting. Darkness will make areas appear smaller. It is placed on areas of the face to accentuate the shape or correct it. Here are my 5 tips to bring out your cheekbones, slim down your nose and sculpt your face:

1.       Determine your face shape:  This is the most important step when mastering highlighting and contouring as this will help to determine where on your face you should shade. Is your face oval, square, round, long or heart? Oval faces have a soft, rounded hairline and chin, widening at the temples. Square faces have a wider jawline and forehead. Lines of the faces are straight/angular and the jawline will be square. Round faces are widest at the cheekbones and rounded along the hairline and jaw as well as a short chin and full forehead. Long faces are narrow with prominent cheekbones. It is similar to oval but with more length and less width. Heart shaped faces commonly have a widows peak but not always. The forehead is wider and cheeks tend to be fuller.
*The chart below demonstrates where to highlight and contour based on the shape of your face. 

2.       Choosing the right products: Your contour color should be one shade darker than your skin tone. You can use foundation, concealer or powder to shade and it should always be matte. Your highlight should be 1 to 2 shades lighter and can also be foundation, concealer or powder. When choosing a product I base it on how subtle or severe I want the shading to be. For a soft hint of color use powder. For a very natural look, use foundation. And, for a more severe look use concealer.  Typically, I stay away from highlighters with obvious shimmer because just a hint of shimmer will give you the most natural look. If your skin is oily avoid it all together as a lot of shimmer on oily skin can enhance your shine, making your skin look greasy.

3.       Using the right tools: When using cream use a damp blending sponge and your fingers, as the warmth from your hands will warm up the product allowing for seamless blending. When using powder use a tapered brush with soft bristles. The softer the bristles, the easier to blend and the tapered shape of the brush will help with controlling placement. When using foundation use a flat top kabuki brush and a damp blending sponge.

4.       Blend, Blend, Blend: Contouring can be frustrating and difficult to master. The key to a seamless contour is becoming a master of blending. Choose the products and tools that make you feel the most comfortable and then practice, practice, practice!
               *TIP: Blending will be easiest if you are consistent with the products you use. If you choose to contour with powder then your blush and highlighter should be powder. If you choose cream, your blush and highlighter should be cream. The ONLY time I mix and match is if I am highlighting/contouring subtly with foundation.

5.       Top it off with the right blush: Blush will pull your entire look together. Choosing the right blush is important. For the most natural effect use soft colors. For fair skins I typically choose soft pinks and peachy tones. For darker skin types I typically choose soft rose and plum colors.

Ashley can be reached through her website

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