Easy, Everyday Highlight & Contour


Makeup artists have been using highlighting and contouring techniques for decades, but in the last few years highlighting and contouring has just kind of exploded. Everyone wants to know how to do it. Powder or cream? What does Kim Kardashian use? Is that why her face looks that way, or is it plastic surgery? Will I look like a different person or just a hotter me?

Well H&C is here to stay, so let’s learn an easy, everyday way to incorporate it into your makeup routine. And yo, if you wanna get cream crazy, I covered that here, but it’s slightly insane to do everyday and I think I’d do the highlight and contour OVER my foundation now instead. Also, when this was on Buzzfeed, DYAM. People got into heated arguments.

Ok, so I made an animated gif to show you the highlighting and contouring steps. Don’t watch it too long. It will hypnotize you.


1. Ok friends, grab a completely matte bronzer. Your eyes can sparkle, but shadows don’t! I’m using TheBalm Bahama Mama because it veers just slightly-cool toned for a realistic shadow. As you can see, I started out using the Real Techniques Contour Brush, but switched to my old favorite, the Sigma F05. It just gets the job done best due to it’s dome shape, small brush head and flexible bristles. I just love it. The main areas you’ll contour are underneath the cheekbones connected up onto the temples, around the hairline and under the jawline.

For cheekbones, use the top of your ear as a guide for the angle, going towards, but not all the way to, the corner of your mouth. Bring the contour in towards the center of your face, stopping right around the outside edge of your eye.

If you have a small forehead, no need to contour too much at the temples or around the hairline. But, if your forehead is larger than you’d like, bring the bronzer/contouring powder down further.


2. Not a huge fan of your nose? You can contour that too! Use an eyeshadow crease brush to lightly shade the sides of your nose, bringing the shadow further in than it normally is. This will give the appearance of a thinner nose. Don’t forget to connect up to the brows and dust a little underneath to shorten a long nose. Make sure you really blend this step out because it’s definitely NOT something you want people to notice! “Hey! Sweet nose contouring!” No.

3. Adding a bit of a shadow underneath your bottom lip is an extra credit step that will give your lips a poutier appearance.

4. Don’t skip blush. Don’t you dare! Color in the cheeks is healthy so add a peachy pink blush with minimal shimmer directly above the bronzer, sweeping back towards the hairline. Keep the blush above the end of your nose. I’m using my beloved Real Techniques Blush Brush.


5. Now it’s time to highlight the areas we want the light to catch to bring them out. These ares are the small c-shape around the eyes, on the tops of the cheekbones. Also, above the top lip on the cupid’s bow, down the bridge of the nose and a pop on the end for a more upturned look if you want, and above the arch of the brow of a little extra lift. I’m using TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer which pretty much works on everybody. I’m applying with the Real Techniques Setting Brush which is super ideal for highlighter application. Can you tell I like Real Techniques?! Because yeah, I really do.

Here’s all the steps, in action!


  1. Kelly

    06/23/2014 at 8:39 AM

    Love the eye makeup!

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/23/2014 at 12:58 PM

      Thanks!! It’s the eye shadow I bought from Patrick at Vanity & Glamour 🙂 Seems to be a hit!

  2. Tricia

    06/23/2014 at 11:29 AM

    Second on the eye makeup, wow so pretty!!

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/23/2014 at 12:57 PM

      Thank you so much! The cranberry color is called ‘Burgundy’ and I got it from a local makeup store here in Des Moines, Vanity & Glamour

  3. Amanda L

    06/23/2014 at 1:37 PM

    I couldn’t get the links to the products to work on your blog, I was wondering where you purchased the bronzer and highlighter. Really like your post! Thank you.

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/23/2014 at 3:32 PM

      Oh thank you so much for letting me know Amanda! Those links were acting real wonky so I switched to Amazon ones and they appear to be in working order now.
      The bronzer can be found at Ulta, Beauty Brands, or even some Kohl’s stores! I hope that helps and let me know if there are any other questions I can answer for you. Thank you for reading 🙂

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  6. Clara

    06/02/2015 at 1:43 PM

    Yours is one of the clearest before-after comparisons online! Great pics and clarity!

    I absolutely love the contouring technique, I think it adds depth and definition to the face.

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/02/2015 at 6:21 PM

      Thank you so much Clara! I really appreciate that! Thank you for reading 🙂

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