Highlighting and contouring originated from male to female drag queens to use makeup artistry as a way to soften jaw lines and hide facial hair and the arch of the eyebrows. This style of makeup was known to be heavy on highlighting and contouring and very expressive. However, for non-professionals, the art of contouring and highlighting can seem like a daunting task, as there can be confusion about the correct way to apply it.
Highlighting and contouring is a corrective technique used to create the ideal face shape, which means that it is not the same for all people. For women, when highlighting and contouring, there’s a fine line between bringing out your best features and painting a whole new face. Women already have soft, feminine features. When applying makeup, overusing products can completely exaggerate and create unflattering features.
Here’s the thing, the makeup industry has done away with the “beaten face” trend and has made overuse of highlighting and contouring the new norm. The goal now is to give you features you don’t actually have: brighter, bigger eyes. A narrower and more delicate nose. Using 20 products to achieve a “natural” look or more. The tips, tricks, and techniques come from beauty gurus and YouTubers, not professional makeup artists.
This is not the case if you know how to apply makeup correctly. You’ll find that by following techniques other than those of a professional, you may end up incorporating unnecessary steps just to look “natural.”
While professional makeup artists take similar steps by using flawless highlighting and contouring to enhance, not hide your beautiful features, they understand that successful highlighting and contouring is all about using as little product as possible so that the end result is believably natural, to mix it well and to add more color gradually.
Good makeup is makeup that looks good in person and in photos, and that accentuates features instead of hiding everything. There is an art to this. A strong foundation, then intense concealer, followed by a deep cream highlight/contour can look great at night, on stage or on camera, but in person it’s pretty extreme. Instead, heavy makeup only draws attention to enlarged pores, blackheads, and other facial flaws.
A light natural highlight and contour for the average woman on a daily basis is a great thing to learn and practice. Some important tips to know before incorporating highlights and contours into your makeup application are as follows:
• Less is more
• Contouring is subtly defining one’s features and for it to look flawless, it needs to be barely noticeable.
• Mixing concealer with foundation can create a more even and natural reflection
• Practice makes perfect facial flaws.