How to highlight and contour for beginners

Contouring is a beauty trend that has elevated the makeup game to an entirely different level and to improve makeup techniques for the better.

Contouring and highlighting are independently effective at enhancing our natural features. But what happens when you combine the two? Some seriously defined cheekbones à la Mihlali Ndamase. Since these two techniques are arguably better when used together, we compiled the best highlight-and-contour kits for your face-sculpting pleasure.

ESA is here to help you with these easy makeup techniques which involve using a dark and light shade of concealers to enhance or slim down the appearance of certain facial features.


Follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Establish the shape of your face

How you contour highly depends upon your face shape, which means to get the best-highlighted results, you’ll need to determine your face shape beforehand.


Step 2: Highlighting and contouring products

To contour the correct way, you’ll need two products: one for highlighting and another for contouring. For the highlighter, pick a shade (concealer) that is two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. For contouring, pick a shade that is two shades darker than your normal skin tone.


Step 3: Primer application

Start by applying primer to your face. This will help make a smooth surface across your skin and help expand the wear of your makeup. Follow up by using colour correcting concealers to cover dark spots.


Step 4: Highlight and contour your face

Get your contour and highlighter palettes ready and use them to accentuate specific areas on your face.

It is important to take note, that contouring techniques will differ depending on face shapes, therefore, we suggest looking at some online tutorials (we recommend watching YouTube tutorials) and trying different techniques until you find what’s ideal for you.


  • Draw a straight line of highlight down the centre of your nose to make it appear slimmer
  • Apply a small amount of product to the centre of your forehead and on the chin.
  • Polish off by using a beauty blender to blend out the product and soften any harsh edges
  • Contouring: To contour, follow the shadows of your face shape with the contouring shade. If you need to add more definition to your jaw, contour along the edges of your jawbone.
  • To create the appearance of sculpted cheeks, blend a line of contour beneath your cheekbones


Step 5: Apply setting spray

After all your hard work and efforts to sculpt and define your face, you’ll need to ensure your contour remains in place throughout the day. Apply setting spray and slay your day away sis!

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