It might seem like a weird concept to shade your face with colors that don’t match your skintone perfectly. But the practice of contouring has been making a huge wave in the makeup industry for a reason: It can accentuate the best features of your face. To see how it’s done, we went to a professional. Denise Cardwell of Blades Salon and Spa shows us how to easily get the look.
What you’ll need:
- Angled brush
- Smaller rounded, bullet-shaped brush
- Darker shade for shading
- Lighter shade for highlighting
Step one: Begin with shading. Use your darker color with an angled brush and work from the top toward the bottom of your face. Depending on which areas you want to downplay, brush slightly with the darker color in a sweeping motion. If you wish to make your forehead appear narrower, apply the darker color slightly to the outer areas of the forehead.
Step two: Work downward from here. To add shape or definition to your nose, apply a sweep of the darker color along each side of the brim of your nose. You’ll want to use the smaller brush for this.
Step three: In a sweeping motion, apply the darker color right below the cheekbones on each side. Measure this closely. Be careful not to bring the shading too far in toward the corners of the mouth. Use your finger to blend. You want this to look natural. Having a defined makeup line will look unfinished and unnatural.
Step four: Apply shading along the jawline and down the neck to give the appearance of a strong jawline and a more slender neck line. Make sure to blend this in well! You can use a clean brush or sponge to blend instead of your fingers if you have these items.
Step five: Now comes your highlighting. This will help bring out certain features such as your eyes and lift areas such as your cheekbones. Offset the shading with your highlighting. Start again at the forehead and work your way down your face, almost in a T shape. Apply a light, even swipe above the brows using the smaller bullet-shaped brush. Continue down the bridge of the nose, adding a touch right to the Cupid’s bow of your lips.
Step six: Use the angled brush to apply highlights above the cheekbones. Make an upward sweeping motion underneath the eye toward the outer corner.
Step seven: Blend, blend, blend. Use your fingertip or a clean brush or sponge to lightly blend the areas so that the colors appear even and natural. For a finishing touch, apply a sweep of blush directly on the cheekbones (between the lowlight and highlight).
Tips from the pro:
“You can use creams, powders, or even shadows. I prefer powders. I like Urban Decay and Mac products. They’re dependable. Be sure to put on your primer and base first. You want to create a nice, even canvas to start.”
“It’s more common to shade with matte colors. Using something with a shine or an iridescent finish to it defeats the purpose of shading.”
“Be sure to take into account what skin tone you have and also what color your hair is. For example, if you have darker skin, use mostly highlighting. For lighter skin, you need a more subtle highlight. For those with light skin and hair such as our model, you’ll want to make sure the lowlight color isn’t too dark so it won’t stand out too much and appear unnatural.” – Denise Cardwell