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 for cheekbones

  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. Available at Sephora or Amazon.
  2. Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Palette A recent hit in the makeup world – this gorgeous highlighting palette from one of my favorite makeup brands features a soft-focus finish which makes it super natural looking and flattering in all lights. Available at Sephora or Amazon.
  3. 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. Available at Sephora, Amazon, Nordstrom and John Lewis.
  4. Lancome Le Duo Contour and Highlighting Stick. Now this is a great new product which combines both your highlighter and contour shade in one, in a handy little stick too. I haven’t tried this one yet, but it looks promising. You can try it out at Sephora.

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 cheekbones

  1. 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. Available at Amazon.
  2. Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder. Want to splurge a bit? This bronzer is a treat, but the colors are simply stunning – the most natural you’ve ever seen. A best-seller and one that can last for years. Go on, treat yourself! Available at Sephora, Nordstrom or Amazon.
  3. 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. Her bronzers are available at Amazon, Nordstorm and John Lewis.
  4. 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!). Available at Sephora, John Lewis or Amazon.

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. Available at Amazon or Nordstorm.
  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. Available at Amazon or my favorite,, 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. Available at Sephora, of course.
  4. Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour Brush. Sigma makes amazing brushes at even better prices – they are seriously worth ever penny. Available at Amazon.

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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