2 Makeup Techniques That Make You More Photogenic

Highlighting and contouring can be the difference between professional looking makeup and an amateur application. Understanding these simple techniques can take your makeup from the I-just-threw-some-makeup-on look to a photoshoot worthy face. With the holidays around the corner, it is a natural to want to look your best in family photos or to glam it up for New Year's Eve. However it doesn't have to be a big production that requires tons of effort, diagrams, protractors, graphing calculators or a degree in physics. I will explain how to incorporate some quick and easy techniques into your everyday routine that will ensure you are always photo ready.

First we want to think of where the light falls on our face. What parts does it illuminate and accentuate? What parts does it shadow? Basic knowledge of light and dark color tells us that light colors make things appear fuller and larger, while dark colors make things appear slimmer and sleeker (think Little Black Dress). We can apply this concept when we highlight and contour with makeup.


Highlighting, as I'm sure you've figured out by now, accents or "highlights" specific features on the face. There are two questions I like to ask myself when I am applying my own makeup or someone else's:

1. What are their best features?

2. What features do I want to "pop" or stand out?

If someone's best features are their eyes, I like to highlight directly underneath the eyebrow (over the brow bone) and on top of the cheek bones. Adding highlighter to these areas makes the eyes pop since our focus naturally gravitates to the illuminated areas on the face.

In addition, this correlates with the second question. For instance if you are a person that does not have pronounced cheek bones, you can make them appear higher by applying highlighter to the tops of the cheek bones. This creates the illusion of height and makes the cheek bones stand out by drawing the focus upward. Who doesn't want cheek bones for dayssss!

Another example is when someone has a wider nose, drawing a line with highlighter down the top of the nose, from the bridge to the tip, makes the nose appear longer while balancing out the width.


I have to admit, this is my favorite of the two techniques. This is the one that I personally think is a game changer. We all have things that we don't love about the way we look but I feel that contouring is a way to work with what we've been given and to embrace what we perceive to be our "flaws."

Even though contouring diminishes specific features and makes them appear less pronounced, this technique can also draw the eye to the highlighted features. For example, just as highlighting the tops of the the cheek bones makes them pop, creating depth underneath the apples of the cheeks also gives them definition. You can achieve this by using a bronzer or a contour shadow and applying it to the face by drawing a diagonal line from mid ear to the corner of the lip, stopping half way. Then blend the line and apply a blush to the apple of the cheeks. These techniques paired with highlighter on the cheekbones creates perfect depth and dimension to any face.

Contouring also helps to balance the width of any part of the face. For a wide forehead, apply bronzer around the hairline from temple to temple. I also like to use this technique to create a sunkissed glow and to draw the focus to the center of the face.

To lessen the width of your nose apply bronzer to each side of the nose and blend into the cheeks. In addition this technique can be used to fade the appearance of a double chin or wide jaw.

How do highlighting and contouring come together as a whole? The key is to BLEND, BLEND, BLEND. Everyone's facial features are different so the end result is going to be unique to the individual. Customizing these two techniques to serve your individual needs allows them to work in harmony to create a complete look that accentuates your best features and shadows less desirable ones. Can you see how the use of highlighting and contouring is fundamentally about creating an illusion?

Now go practice! If you need more inspiration, watch this tutorial video I did live on Facebook to show you how easy it is to incorporate highlighting and contouring into your everyday makeup routine. While you're there, follow me to see the rest of my holiday makeup tutorials that I will be doing live all month long!

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