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11 Things You Didn't Know About Highlighting And Contouring

Learn the ins and outs of highlighting and contouring. Check out these special tips from the experts at Sephora.

1. Start by determining your face shape.

Courtesy of Sephora /
Courtesy of Sephora

The length from your forehead to chin versus the length from ear to ear is important in determining face shape. Look here to figure out if your face is round, heart, oval, or square shaped.

Try the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit — it includes a detailed guide on how to contour and highlight by face shape.

2. First things first.


Start with highlighter to help guide where you'll want to contour.

3. Use the right brush.

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An angled brush is great for precision application; a more blunt, stiff brush works to buff harsh contour lines; and, since blending is the name of the game, a softer brush helps to even out and blend highlights and contours without wiping away your work.

Try the NARS Contour Brush #21 to apply, The Slenderizer Bamboo Contour Brush by Tarte to buff, and the MAKE UP FOR EVER 130 Large Powder Brush to blend it all together.

4. Give it a minute.

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To guarantee a smooth finish, always give base products a minute to sink in before layering on contouring and highlighting.

5. Shadows slim your nose.

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Running a contour shade down the sides of your nose and a highlight shade down the center of the nose creates a slimming definition effect.

A smaller brush like the MAKE UP FOR EVER 220 Small Shader Brush is good to use for this more detailed contouring.

6. Light lengthens the face.

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Applying highlighter on the chin will elongate the face shape. This is mainly beneficial for those with square and round face shapes.

Try the Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up! for its smooth application and soft-glow blender that leaves you with a delicate radiance.

7. Make your own highlighter.

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Use an illuminator or primer mixed with your favorite concealer to make a personalized highlighter.

The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is ideal for all skin types and works to hydrate and smooth complexion. Mix it with the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector to customize your glow.

8. Highlight the essentials.

Regardless of face shape, the basic step is to highlight the forehead and under the eyes.

If you're just looking for the essentials, try the MAKE UP FOR EVER Sculpting Kit.

9. Tap around the brow.

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When highlighting the eyebrow, opt out of using a brush. Blend by gently tapping with your finger; this will result in a more natural look than you would achieve with a brush.

Can't decide between a matte finish or a shimmer finish? Try the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duality that features both in one pencil.

10. Finish along the jawbone.

BuzzFeed/ Courtesy of Sephora

When blending, don't forget to sweep color along the jawbone. If there is a stark difference between the skin tone of your face and that of your neck, makeup appears less natural.

Try the NARS Contour Blush for a natural-looking finish.

11. Set it for the night.

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In order to set your look, tap on translucent powder — brushing or rubbing will wipe away your final look.

The MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Powder sets your foundation without altering your work helps soften the appearance of fine lines.

For more tips and advice, visit your friends at Sephora.