Help Me! Is Highlighting and Contouring Okay for Daytime?

Or, highlighting and contouring 101 for morning people

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Does this beauty crisis sound familiar?

highlighting and contouring

Help Me! I was just reading your article about highlighting and contouring. I tried it and it really does work! The only problem is that your article says to only do it for an evening in dim lighting, so I can’t go out to malls and places like that with a contoured face! First of all, I'd like to know why, and second, are there any other ways I could get the same look without shading and highlighting?

So what in the world should you do about it?

“Highlighting and contouring” is a very tricky thing. If done right it could make almost as dramatic a change in refining your facial features as cosmetic surgery. If done wrong highlighting and contouring can look obvious or make your face look dirty. This is why in our article “Contouring: How Celebrity Makeup Artists Sculpt Facial Features without a Scalpel”, we advise to do highligthing and contouring on your face only if you will be in dim lighting. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to follow this rule. The only reason we said this is because highlighting and contouring takes a lot of experimentation and practice before you get it just right.

You have to experiment with several shades of contours and highlights until you find the ones that looks natural in whatever type of lighting you will be in that day (outdoor, florescent, candle light, night club lighting, moonlight, etc…). You can use foundations or powders. You will generally want to go 1 to 2 shades lighter for highlighting and darker for countouring than the normal shade you wear. If you are having trouble finding shades that work, you may want to check out, then go to the Cosmetics Catalog section of the menu, and then select "face" from the drop-down menu and then select "corrective" to check out their selection.

You need to apply these cosmetics with the skill of an artist (which you CAN achieve with practice) and blend, blend, blend so that the lines don’t look obvious. And you should probably even bring a compact mirror to discretely check yourself to make sure the highlighting and contouring looks okay, especially if you will be in daylight or under florescent lights. If you experiment, practice, blend, blend, blend, and check the look in a mirror in different lightings, you should be able to master the art of highlighting and contouring.

There is no other way to get the same ”refined feature” look that this procedure gives you without plastic surgery. Since our website encourages creativity, artistry and do-it-yourself-spirit, as alternatives to plastic surgery we encourage you to test drive a highlighted and contoured face, with a mirror in tow! Remember, powder takes the edge off, eye shadow brushes and fingers make good application tools, and don’t be afraid to subdue heavy lines by rubbing them with a bit of water. The trick is to not have "contouring lines", but rather contoured areas should look like shadows. If you plan to master the art of highligthing and countouring (which is done on all celebrity and model faces), we strongly recommend a fabulous book by the late, great celebrity makeup artist Kevin Aucoin called Making Faces, which is available at It gives you step-by-step instructions on how to higlight and contour your face and Kevin's artistry and creativity is inspiring. Tip: In the book's table of contents, highlighting and contouring is referred to as "shading and highlighting". If you follow Kevin's advice you may be able to take your skill to the level where you would feel confident wearing highligthing and countouring makeup in most types of light.

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