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Aimee Connolly's Ultimate Guide to
Contouring & Highlighting
Let me guess - you've watched a 12-minute YouTube video where they had five shades of concealer, two foundations, three sponges and four brushes and bam! There you go: fabulously contoured. Terrified? Don't worry, life shouldn't be that complicated and neither should your contouring.
Let's bring it back to basics
Let's bring it back to basics … why do we shade and highlight? These two techniques work simultaneously to highlight and redefine the face. Contouring is one of my favourite aspects of makeup, it makes such a noticeable difference. It is what inspired me to create my own product, “Sculpted” by Aimee Connolly.
Now here's your guide on how to contour like a pro:
Fabulously contoured skin should start with your prep. Products like Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream and M.A.C Strobe Cream all create a beautiful, luminous base. One of my favourite things to do is to mix my foundation with a radiance product. The Cover FX liquid highlighters are fantastic and highly pigmented, so you don't need a lot.
Take your bronzer, making sure it's mainly matte and not too warm toned (no one likes an Oompa Loompa…trust me). Your tools are one of the most important elements when contouring. I created my brush so that it would easily slot underneath the cheekbones because I found so many were struggling with the brush size.
Using your slimline fluffy brush, suck your face in like a fish and shade the bronzer starting from the ear along the hollows of the bone in towards the cheek. Carefully blend to avoid any streaks, less is more and you need to build up slowly, until you achieve the desired effect. Next take the bronzer lightly around the hairline - if you want to minimise the size of your forehead take it down a little further. Apply down the sides of the nose and under the jawline to define the face.
Highlighting is for the areas you want to stand out - the tips of the cheekbones, down the centre of the nose and the Cupid's bow. Powder highlighters are the obvious choice. You can apply these with a brush and they are easy and effective to use. If you're a mature lady, a cream highlighter is your secret weapon. It won't sink into lines and wrinkles or draw attention to the areas you don't want to emphasise. Trust me. Use your ring finger when applying cream products, the heat from your skin will melt the product in. It may be tempting to keep layer on product but make sure to keep to a subtle sheen – you don't want to blind people! My Sculpted palette has both a cream and power highlight depending on your preference.
Once your contour is complete, add some blush. It's a great way to add youthfulness and radiance to the skin. One of my all-time favourites is M.A.C ‘Springsheen' blusher. This is a pink/peach tone with an inbuilt sheen as it states. If you're someone who is conscious of wearing blusher because of high colouring, use a colour correcting primer as a base, Smashbox do a great range, or a full coverage concealer like MAC Studio Finish.
So what to take from all of this?
- Even the slightest of shading can transform your face, just make sure not to over-do it.
- Build your contour to achiever your desired effect.
- Highlighting is amazing but keep it subtle.
- Start your glow with your base by mixing some highlighter into your foundation.
- Blusher will knock years off you and add to the radiance.
- Double up on your products – much of your make-up bag is probably multi-use without you even realising.