Contouring & Highlighting for Dummies

(For the record, I am one of those dummies.)

Contouring and highlighting is something I have yet to completely master. However , I have been asked to write a post on the topic and I am going to try my darnedest to give you all the information I’ve got. 
Contouring is one of those things that if it’s done right, it makes a person’s face look sculpted, proportional and symmetrical.  

If it’s done wrong, one can look like a muddy, blotchy mess. This has happened many of times to me. I usually don’t realize this till I see myself in a picture after going all day thinking I look like the!! Soo, sooo wrong 😦 
The tricks are to find the right products and tools to help you achieve those nice high cheek bones, small forehead, tiny nose and strong jaw line. 

And also to understand the basics of shadows(contouring) and light(highlighting).

If you want to disguise or make something look smaller or more sunken in, you contour (add shadows/dark colour) .
 If you want to bring out something and put emphasis on it, you highlight. (Add brightness/light colours) 
Pretty simple right?
If you understand this concept, you can contour and highlight your face. It just takes practise to make it look perfect! 
Since these techniques have become more common and more mainstream, a lot of companies have developed products for the everyday woman.
There are powder and cream options. It’s just personal preference on what you would like to use. 

I prefer to use creams first and then setting them with powders in similar shades. Double the work but double the pay off!!!! πŸ™‚

Recent favourites I have been reaching for are:
Cream – Stila Contouring kit, Maybelline Foundation Stick in Coconut, Maybelline Better Skin Concealers ( in fair or light)
Powder- Kat Von D Shade and Light pallet , NYX Taupe Blush( yes, a blush!) The Balm Bahama Mama Bronzer, Too Faced Chocolate Soliel Bronzer. Besame vanilla brightening powder, The Balm Betty Lou Luminizer highlight powder and Mac’s soft and gentle.

Contouring and highlighting can be tricky because everyone’s face shapes are not all alike. I have an oval face. Meaning, it is more long then it is wide. I have deep dark undereye circles and I’m not a fan of my nose. The above  picture is generally how I cream contour. I apply my primer, foundation then my darker contour shades and light concealers.

Once you figure out what placement of colours works best for you, the next step is Key;

BLEND, BLEND, and BLEND Some more! When you think you are done blending, blend it again!  Whether you use brushes or sponges, it’s up to you! I really like Stila’s double ended contour brush and Real Techniques Beauty blender sponge. I also use a Mac contour brush I have had for years and the # has worn off 😦 


face shapes and a general guide to contouring

I hope this helps anyone that is nervous or someone who is not clear on how contouring and highlight works. I could ramble on and on with this topic, but I’ll spare you the torture and tell you to go to YouTube and watch tutorials on it. That is how I was taught. Practise makes perfect with this, so try it out. πŸ™‚ 



The Power of a Red Lip; a How to Guide to pulling it off Right!

imageA holiday makeup essential and a boyfriends worst nightmare.

Red lips.

For most, it is as scary and intimidating as standing in front of a crowd in one’s undergarments.

It screams “Look at me!”

If worn correctly ( & confidently) it is beautiful and flattering.
If worn incorrectly, it is a quick way to make your teeth look like something out of a horror movie.

Red Lips are timeless. Some of the most iconic celebrities and historic figures have dawned the bold lip such as Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth 1, Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, just to name a few. It is a colour of power, confidence and style.

I figured with the holidays upon us, this would be the best opportunity to help you try out this festive colour.

For day to day wear, pair it with your regular neutral eye look. If you want to be really bold, pair it with a dark smokey eye at night. Or if you want to play on the safer classic side, pair it with a simple wing liner.

One of the essential things to carrying this look off is to make sure your skin is looking its best. The only downfall of red lips is it can emphasize imperfections . Look after your skin, use your proper skin care and then cover those dark circles and breakouts ASAP!!!

The best red lips are achieved in a few easy steps and if I havent lost you already with my rambling, read below for some more great tips!

1- Make sure your lips are flake free. This is essential, especially if the red lip you chose is of the matte formula family. Crumbly lips are not sexy and are magnified more by colourful lips.

When washing your face and prepping skin for all of your other makeup, exfoliate with a gentle lip scrub, wash cloth or soft toothbrush. Then apply a conditioning lip balm or lip mask and leave it on as you apply the rest of your face. Just like the rest of your makeup, you need to start off with a good, healthy base.

2- Using a lip liner should not be negotiable with red lipstick. Unless you are going for that smeared all over your face, teeth and anyone that comes within ten feet of you look, then go ahead, skip it!
Line and fill in your lips carefully with a colourless or matching red liner. Over Lining the lips is optional. I prefer not to go too overboard with this step as it can quickly turn from nice Kylie Jenner to crazy blow up doll. (some would argue Kylie looks that way though too, so whatever. We can agree to disagree. I like all the Kardashian/Jenners, so sue me!!!!)

3-Choose your right shade of red. Blue based or cool tone reds are the most universally flattering. They even make your teeth appear whiter… And who doesn’t love that?! Orangey reds are a little trickier, but they can be beautiful on tanned or darker skins tones. I love both depending on the day and the look I want to go for. You pick!!!

4- Apply your lipstick. Whether it is glossy, matte or somewhere in between, it really doesn’t matter. All give different affects and have different benefits.

Glossy is super eye catching, more moisturizing and makes lips appear to look a little larger. Only downfall is, it tends to bleed, fade and smear faster.
Matte is dramatic, classic and has longer lasting capabilities. Matte formulas are definitely my favourite in any colour lips. The only negative is they can be drying.

Some brands I love for their Reds are; Stila, Aveda, Milani, Mac and Maybelline. Both high end and drugstore! So there is a pricepoint for everyone πŸ™‚

5- Clean up. Here is step a lot of people skip (myself included sometimes! *face palm*) If you aren’t applying your lipstick on the fly in your rearview mirror, try taking a concealer brush and a little bit of foundation or concealer and clean up the edges. This also helps with bleeding.
-Blot. Use a tissue and blot lips to remove access.
-Another trick to prevent this is using the “Finger trick”. Place index finger in between lips/mouth, close and pull it out. This will remove any lipstick that is lurking on the inner part of your lips from getting on your teeth and will save you from any embarrassing moments.

Hope that helps anyone who is on the fence about trying something new and a little bit intimidating. You may find out certain colours don’t work on you, and thats part of the fun. Makeup is all trial and error and lots of practice. Try not to take it too seriously! Christmas and New years are the perfect time to try new things, just do it! πŸ™‚

-Nicole xo

P.S. If I may address my absence from this blog, it has been 6 long months since my last entry! Extremely sorry!!!!! I have had a busy few months moving and making our house a home. Summer is always crazy working in the Spa industry and life has got in the way. In the past few weeks, a few people have brought up the neglect of my blog. Β I will try to post more, more often. I have accumulated many ideas and feel my 6 month writers block is finaly over! Yey!!!!!!!