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How To Contour Darker Skin Tones


You do a simple search for "contouring" and you get more information than your brain can possibly process. If you're like me, you're searching through post after endless post just trying to find one article that fits your face shape, and more importantly, your skin tone. But have no fear, because I am going to walk you through this process. This how-to guide will brighten and slim your face in just a few quick minutes. 

Before we start off, here's a before picture; no makeup or moisturizer. My face is freshly washed:

1. Start off with foundation

Putting on foundation is an important step; it gives you a base for everything to blend flawlessly on. 

Products used:

2. Conceal

Depending on your problem areas, this step can be skipped, but I do recommend applying concealer to the corners of your mouth to make them more defined. And don't forget under your eyes whether you have dark circles or not because it never hurts to brighten up your face!

Products used:

  • Simply Vera Vera Wang Illuminating Concealer in 204, $19.50 (You can only buy this product at Kohls, in store!)
  • Ecotools Full Eye Shadow Brush for the concealer, $4 (I like using fluffy eyeshadow brushes to get a more airbrushed look to my concealer.)

3. Highlight

The key trick here is to hit the places that light would naturally highlight. There are 7 important places to get:

  • Nose bridge
  • Side of nose/under your eyes
  • Top of cheek bones
  • Temple
  • Chin
  • Cupid's bow

And to define, make sure to hit above your brows and under where you will be contouring.

After your foundation, use a liquid highlighter and apply short dashes on the areas you're highlighting. Make sure to do one part at a time, and pat the highlighter in with your brush, so that it blends in seamlessly.

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4. Shimmer

We all love a bit of shimmer. The trick, though, is finding the perfect shimmer that doesn't overpower our faces in terms of how pigmented and glimmery it is. The perfect product to use? Bronzer. You can use any brush, but I prefer contouring brushes. Apply product to your cheek bones, down your nose bridge, and on the center of your forehead; but make sure to pat away any excess powder when applying to your forehead so that you don't end up looking like you put glitter on your face. You'll achieve a "barely there" glow that will have you coming back for more.

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5. Contour

Those important places to highlight that I talked about earlier? We are going to contour around them. You can use whatever medium you prefer, but I like using an eyeshadow powder to give me the definition I need while still looking pretty natural. 

Apply the powder under your cheeks (here is where I like to suck in my cheeks so that I get the hollows of my face): 

Your chin line (not including your chin):

And above your temples (making sure to blend into your hairline):

Using a small concealer brush, apply the powder to the sides of your nose and blend. Make sure to contour all down the side of the nose, almost like you're tracing it. This will make your nose bridge look more prominent:

For added definition, use your highlighter and apply a line underneath the contour and blend downwards:

Products used:

6. Brighten

The finishing step is to use a blush that mimics a natural flush. The trick here is to get your cheeks and blend outwards to your temple to give your face a mini lift.

Products used:

  • NARS Blush in Exhibit A, $30
  • Real Techniques Cheek Brush (part of Nic's Picks Makeup Brush Set for $29)

And voilá! Simple and effortless contouring for maximal impact. 

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