Tricks of the Trade

Expertly contour and highlight your face



Contouring should provide natural shadows on your face when sunlight hits it, and must be used to softly accentuate your features

“Hello Kelly. I just want to ask what makeup trick would be best to shape my face and sharpen my nose a little.”—Reina Christina

To defining your features and give your face a more angular look, do contouring. It is an essential part of applying makeup, but can be tricky for most as a heavy hand can make you look harsh or unnatural. To keep you in check, dark stripes applied on cheekbones and shading prominently drawn on nose lines are a no-no. Contouring should provide natural shadows on your face when sunlight hits it, and must be used to softly accentuate your features.

Shimmery highlighters usually come hand-in-hand with contouring, as it works to brighten areas of your face, while a darker, more matte contouring makeup slims and defines it.

Creating a makeup palette of gorgeous nude and neutral browns, beiges and gold will lend the look you want to achieve. Purchasing the right products for your skin tone is just as important as knowing how to apply them, so take note of each product’s shade, consistency and texture.

To find out what makeup you’ll need and discover easy tips on how to apply it, follow these easy tips.

Shades and textures

Experiment with shades and textures.

When it comes to makeup, finding the right shade to suit your skin tone may be a little daunting. You’ll want your foundation and powder to match your complexion, with a palette of bronzers or sculpting powders to work with, ranging from nude shades to different facets of earthy tones (think: khaki, camel, caramel and coffee).

Another important thing to consider is texture; as matte, skin-finish, shimmery, pearlized or iridescent components makes all the difference when applied to makeup. The best makeup to work with is one with a natural skin-finish. These contain very fine shimmer that offer skin a fresh, dewy look. Anything too metallic or glittery usually ends up looking tacky, so steer clear from these when shopping for makeup.

Before you buy, try the product. This seems like a very obvious tip, but is one that most of us tend to forget. Pretty packaging or rave reviews from a friend may push us to immediately purchase an item. But you really don’t know how a product will look on your skin until you try it. It may look fabulous on a model in a magazine or even on your friend but may not necessarily work on your complexion. At the same time, you may discover an even better product from trying different ones.

Avoid the streaky, muddy look. A rule of thumb when choosing a sculpting powder or bronzer: make sure it is only two shades darker than your skin tone. Any darker and you can end up with a messy, unnatural look that is prone to streaking. Obviously too dark powders can be difficult to blend with your complexion, which is why you should stick to ones closest to your color. Also, orange, rust and pink tones can be hard to work with and should be avoided.

Application is essential. Using a large, fluffy angled brush, sweep bronzer along your hairline, temples and hollows of your cheeks. Make sure it blends well with your skin, then apply highlighter on your cheekbones, bridge of your nose and chin. Highlighters should match your complexion and deposit a hint of shine on your skin. To define your nose, use a blending brush to softly accentuate its sides, starting from the inner corners of the eyes just below your eyebrows going down to tip of your nose.

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