Contouring/Highlighting: What the Pro Makeup Artists Do…

So recently, I had this formal gala event to attend, and unfortunately, I desperately wanted to contour my face for the night and had left Laura Mercier Contour Kit at home. So I thought… why not use liquid/cream foundation/concealer to contour!?

I know many popular, high quality contour palettes can get super expensive… and I thought this would be a cheaper alternative to buying those expensive contour palettes.

I mean, if you really think about it, those popular contour kits by Anastasia Beverly Hills, Kat Von D, and Laura Mercier are basically light/dark coloured powder or creamy substances inside separate compartments to help sculpt your face… That’s honestly it!

So why invest in expensive contour kits, when you can just as easily buy or request samples of foundation/concealer from drugstores or Sephora that suits your skin!

Many professional makeup/celebrity makeup artists in the industry use cream/liquid based foundation/concealer to contour their client’s face… it’s definitely not something new and is used quite often in the makeup artistry industry.

***Tip: Before doing this technique, especially if you are a beginner, I recommend looking up contouring face charts for your face shape. This can guide you in seeing where you should highlight/contour to define/sculpt/slim your face.

So here are the steps I did, to achieve a contoured face…

Step 1.) Prime your face

This is generally how people contour... where the place the highlight/contour.

This is generally how people contour… where they place the lighter/darker shades.

Step 2.) Apply a concealer/foundation 2-3 shades lighter than your skin tone on wherever you would like to bring focus to/brighten up. I normally put this under my eyes, on my chin, bridge of my nose, centre of my forehead, a little bit above my jawline, and on my cupid’s bow.

Step 3.) Use a dark foundation, 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone, and contour wherever you would like your face to look slimmer/smaller. I contoured using the darker foundation along my hairline (to make my forehead seem smaller), temples of my face, sides of the bridge of my nose, lightly on the sides of my jawlines and hollows of my cheeks.

Step 4.) Take the foundation that matches your skin tone, and apply this over all the empty spots where you didn’t apply foundation/concealer.


I used the e.l.f. Stipple Brush to pat/blend the foundations.

Step 5.) Using a kabuki brush, stifling brush, or beauty blender… blend the foundations by patting/stippling (do not buff foundations!) the brush/sponge on the foundations on your face, making sure that there isn’t any stroke marks on your face. *** Be sure to blend from the lightest to darkest shade of foundations/concealer. You don’t want to mix the dark shade with the light shade! After patting, then you can buff out the dark shades to make it less dramatic. Also, use a concealer brush or your fingers to blend out the light concealer/foundation under your eyes.

Step 6.) Using a setting powder, to set the foundation/concealer on your face. Make sure to pat the brush on your face when using the setting powder. You don’t want to blend the colours of the foundations/concealer too much, or else it will start to look like one colour.

Step 7.) Apply a regular bronzer on the contour lines/areas so that it looks a little bit more defined.

Step 8.) Apply your favourite blush/highlighter and do the rest of your face makeup (ie. eyes/brows/lips).

Step 9.) Spray MAC fix plus, so your makeup stays put all day/night!

And voila! You are good to go!

Products I used:

Ps. I would definitely encourage you guys to use drugstore products when doing this …it will be a lot cheaper! L’oreal/Maybelline has some great products (ie. foundations/concealer) for this contouring technique.

Until next time!

Xo! – S.


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