Contour, Blush and Highlight 101 | Step-by-Step Picture Tutorial!

Hey guys! I’m back for another Beginner’s Series installment, and today we are focusing on the cheeks! How to bring color to them, sculpt them, and make them glow like JLO. (In other words, I will be showing you how I contour, wear blush and highlight.)

I just want to mention this is what works for my face shape and I will show you what I will be doing, but feel free to adjust any steps to make it fit your preference!

I want to quickly just go over what each step is meant to do in case you weren’t familiar with them. Contouring helps sculpt and shape your cheekbones to make your face appear slimmer, and to give you that Angelina Jolie-like structure. Blush will just bring color to your cheeks, to make you look lively, like you’ve just come from a run or just woke up from a full nights sleep. (Ha, who’s heard of that? Especially with a six month old at home. #teamnosleep) And highlight will give you that dewy, lit from within glow that really brings your features out and makes your skin look healthy.

The contour colors should be around the perimeters of the face and into the hollows of the cheekbones. The highlight, which can be shimmery (normally on bridge of nose and cheekbones) can also be used to make the contour stand out more, and can be a yellow or pale pink shade depending on your skin tone. The non shimmering highlighted areas are normally the forehead, underneath and above the contour, and on the chin and Cupid’s bow.

Here is an example:


Of course, this is an extreme example and you don’t have to take it down the neck, but just pick and choose what you feel comfortable doing with your makeup application.

I recommend the NARS Ita brush for perfect and precise contouring (review here). I know it’s freakishly expensive, I’m sorry!! But Real Techniques just came out with a Contour brush in their Bold Metals collection, and I know Morphe Brushes has a contour brush as well. Sigma Beauty has the F30 which works well too, so check out those affordable options!

Picture Tutorial:

First, I start with contour. I always go in with a “transition-like” shade, similar to how I would apply eyeshadow, to help the other colors blend easily on top. My transition shade is always something ashy and mimics a real shadow, which is what you want to go for. I am currently loving Benefit’s Hoola bronzer for that purpose, but I also love Fawn from the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit.

You can make a fishy face if you want (sucking in your cheekbones) and apply it into that sucked in area, but since I know where it goes, I apply it straight onto my cheeks. It’s normally the area right underneath your cheekbone, from your ear to a little more than halfway across your face. It should look something like this:


After your initial transition shade has been applied, you will go in with the next darkest color. I typically go in with Java from the ABH Contour Kit and apply it right on top of that transition shade. I then blend it out so there aren’t any harsh lines.


Then, I proceed with the darkest shade in the kit, Havana, and I do the exact same thing, but continue to add more until I get the desired intensity I want, and just keep blending between each application. You can make it as subtle or as intense as you would like. I love a strong contour, so sometimes I go a bit overboard.

The next step after contour is blush. I absolutely love the Sigma F40 for blush application, it is angled and fits my cheek perfectly. I am currently loving Tarte 12-Hour Amazonian Clay blushes (review here) An affordable dupe is the Real Techniques blush brush, it’s amazing, multi-functional and soooooo soft. I’ve been loving Captivating recently, so i just swirl my brush into the product, and dab it lightly onto my cheeks, bringing it up into my hairline. If I want more color, I just repeat the process again.

For highlight, it’s super simple. I love the F35 brush and my all-time favorite highlight is The Balm’s Mary Lou-Manizer. It’s absolutely beautiful, no shade can top it. It’s also super pigmented, so you only need a little bit. I just go in with the brush and tap it lightly in a C-motion from my cheekbone up to my temple, and wah-lah! You’re glistening, blushed and contoured!

Here is the completed contour, blush and highlight:

IMG_2162 IMG_2137

I hope this tutorial was helpful to some of you, let me know if you have any questions or want a video tutorial on this (or anything else!) Have an amazing day and talk to you all soon 🙂

*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, everything mentioned was paid for with my own money, there are no affiliate links in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 🙂


5 thoughts on “Contour, Blush and Highlight 101 | Step-by-Step Picture Tutorial!

  1. Pingback: January 2015 Favorites | Beauty, Baby & Youtuber! | Tiffany's Epiphanies

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