How to… Contour & Highlight Cheekbones

How to: Contour and Highlight Cheekbones Using Makeup

Contouring and highlighting is a Hollywood-beauty secret that have gained popularity with the masses.

And sure, it is “extra” work in our makeup routine, but how gorgeous is the end result? One of my friends emailed me awhile back about it, and it gave me an idea to write a general post on contouring and how to bring out your sexy supermodel cheekbones; because we all have them, and all it takes is a little makeup technique called “contouring” to bring them out, which can make you look a little more glow-y, healthy and sculpted. I know that I’m personally a fan of this makeup trick, which is surprisingly easy to do.

For this post, I’ll first walk you through the tools you need (as well as my product recommendations, because I’ve tried many and a lot of them don’t really deliver the proper end result) and then after that, the application steps as well as a diagram to help you out in How to… Contour & Highlight Cheekbones, Part 2.

The Tools

First, there’s 3 things you need:

  • Highlighter
  • Bronzer
  • Contoured angle brush

1. Highlighter

A highlighter is a makeup product in several formulas (powder, liquid, cream) that will bring some kind of light to your face. Whether it’s a liquid illuminator, a powder highlighter, or even a pearly nude eyeshadow; this is a must-have for bringing out your cheekbones. Below are some of my suggestions:

best highlighting makeup products

  1. Benefit High Beam. A pink-pearly liquid illuminator that you apply with a brush. Just “dot” it onto your skin with the nail-polish like brush and rub it in with your fingers to blend. Buy it at Sephora.com (USA) and Boots.com and Feel Unique (UK) or Amazon.comASOS and Look Fantastic (international shipping).
  2. YSL Touche Eclat. A cult classic beauty product used by makeup artists, celebrities and beauty editors, this highlighter and concealer pen is used to highlight and conceal. Buy it at Sephora.com (USA) or internationally at Amazon.com, Nordstrom and John Lewis.
  3. NARS Copacabana Illuminator. A light-reflecting liquid that blends beautifully. NARS makes some of the best highlighting shades and my top recommendation is Copacabana. Buy it at Sephora.com (USA) or internationally at Amazon.comSpace NK Apothecary, Nordstrom and House of Fraser UK.
  4. NYX Wonderstick. This one is tough to find but I am sure you can find it at Sephora, or on their official website.
  5. NARS Albatross Highlighter Blush. If you prefer powder, NARS’ famous Albatross eyeshadow is now universally used as a highlighter. Take a big fluffy brush to apply. Buy it internationally at Amazon.com, Nordstrom and ASOS.
  6. MAC Blushes. MAC makes some of the best blushes, and it’s easy to find a highlighter blush, they tend to release one every season! My recommended one is their Mineralize Skinfinish blushes that always have a great sheen.
  7. Smashbox Artificial Light Illuminizing Lotion. Meant to be “fake candle light” so you always have that gorgeous glow, this product comes in three different shades to suit your taste. A little tough to find too, but you can buy it at Amazon.com which luckily ships to every country.

As I mentioned above, if you’re not into buying a whole, separate product; just grab a shimmery (or pearly) nude colored eyeshadow. Works just as well. Some great ones are Stila’s Kitten Eyeshadow and MAC’s Shroom Satin Eyeshadow.

2. Bronzer

After getting a highlighter product, it’s time to get the “de-highlighter” product, in other words the exact opposite – while the highlighter is meant to highlight the skin, this product is meant to deepen and shade the skin. While there are many products – some made for contouring – I find the most natural looking are bronzers. Here are my top picks:

best bronzers to contour cheeks

  1. MAC Bronzer. The first bronzer I ever tried was by MAC, and they are really one of the best. In fact, like their blushes, I’d recommend any bronzer made by MAC.
  2. Bobbi Brown Bronzer. Bobbi Brown is also one of my favorite bronzer-makers, because her colors are always very light and natural looking. I use their lightest color, but see which one suits your skintone best. You can buy her bronzers online internationally at Amazon.com, Nordstorm and John Lewis.
  3. Kevin Aucoin The Sculpting Powder. This product is a favorite for contouring and it’s no surprise why – great product (very fine, so goes on lightly and natural) and it doesn’t look orange. Buy it internationally at Barneys and Amazon.com.
  4. Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit. Want a full all-in-one product? Like the name says, this Smashbox palette have highlighting and bronzer powders for a real sculpted look. Grab it at Amazon.com, which ships to every country.
  5. Benefit Hoola Bronzer. Again, one of the best bronzers made, and one of my favorite as well. it’s the perfect shade: it’s a standard brown that’s not too muddy and not too orangey either (bronzer pet peeves!). You can buy it at Sephora.com (USA), ULTA (USA) or internationally at John Lewis, Debenhams and Amazon.com.

3. Contoured Angle Brush

Don’t let these contoured angle brushes scare you! They look kinda weird, no? But this is really needed for sculpting and shading your cheekbones. Here are some of the best I’ve tried, for all budgets:

best angled contour brushes

  1. MAC Large Angled Contour Brush #168. Probably the most famous, and my favorite to be honest. I bought it years ago and haven’t looked back. You can buy it at Amazon.com or Nordstorm which ships to every country.
  2. e.l.f. Angled Contour Brush. This affordable brush does the job and does it well, especially if you’re just a beginner in contouring. Once you go “pro”, you can upgrade your brush. You can buy this one internationally at Amazon.com or my favorite, iHerb.com, which has it super cheap!
  3. Sephora Pro Angled Contour Brush #75. Sephora is the beauty destination for every beauty lover, so you can bet their in-house brand is great. Buy this brush at Sephora.com, of course. That site is for US only, but go to your local Sephora, I am sure they’ll have it too.
  4. Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour Brush. Sigma makes amazing brushes at even better prices – they are seriously worth ever penny. Buy it internationally on Amazon.com.

If you’re not into buying another brush, you can also just grab any old blush brush and stick your finger through one side of it so it has a “scoop” shape, although that can be a bit annoying after awhile.

Got all your tools ready? Great! Now check out How to… Contour & Highlight Cheekbones, Part 2 now how to use these tools to getting perfectly sculpted cheekbones, plus extra important. tips.

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