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Optical Illusion -- Contouring and Highlighting

Do you want to instantly look like you have had a face lift, cheek implants or a nose job -- without going under the knife? If you have ever had this desire, then contouring and highlighting are just what you need! Contouring and highlighting have been a beauty industry trick for decades, but it has recently become popular with several celebrities citing contouring when they have appeared to have gone under the knife. As a cosmetics professional, I have several women each week request to learn how to contour their faces. It is right up there with the elusive smokey eye.

The transitional phases of contouring and highlighting.
The transitional phases of contouring and highlighting.
This picture shows how contouring and highlighting is achieved!  The countoured areas have the darker foundation and the highlighted areas are marked with the lighther foundation.  Simply blend togther, and voilá...perfection!

In order to contour and highlight, you need to have a contour shade that is two to three shades darker than your skin tone and a highlight shade that is two to three shades lighter than your skin tone. The contour shade, which is the darker shade, is used to recede parts of your face. The highlight shade is used to emphasize other areas. You can also use a slightly shimmery, illuminating shade to highlight your cheekbones and add a bit more dimension to your face!

To contour and highlight you can use a concealer, foundation, powder or bronzer. To contour your face, it is best to use a medium sized angled brush, and a small eyeshadow brush works well to contour the nose. The most important thing to remember when contouring and highlight is to blend, blend and blend some more! You do not want it to be obvious -- especially contouring!

The areas that are usually contoured, are:

- Hallows of the cheekbones


- Sides of nose

- Temples

The areas that are usually highlighted, are:

- Under the eyes

- Center of forehead

- Top of the cheekbones

- Bridge of nose

- Cupid's bow

- Chin

There are several professional contouring and highlighting products on the market, to help you achieve your sculpted and chiseled look with ease! Both the contour and highlight shades are conveniently packaged together.

Contour Kits:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

Motives Contour Kit

Sleek Cosmetics Contour Kit

Bronzer Contour Shades for Women of Color:

Cover Girl Queen Collection Bronzer in Ebony Bronze

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder in Ebony 08

Shimmery Highlighters:

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish

NARS Albatross

Contouring Brushes:

MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush

MAC 159 Duo Fibre Brush -- great for highlighting

MAC 217 Blending Brush -- great for contouring the nose

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