According to Los Angeles–based makeup artist Brande Bytheway, all makeup applications involve contouring on some level. But to many, the thought of doing it at home seems inaccessible and a little too tricky. But it’s easier than you think! “Basically, all makeup is contouring,” says Brande. “When you contour, all you’re doing is accentuating your natural features.” To get the technique down, we had Brande walk us through the how-to’s and tools to create a basic look.
This approach will look different on every person, depending on the shape of the features. Brande’s one piece of advice: practice, practice, practice. Try it, play around, and discover what works on your face. “It’s not as complicated as it seems,” Brande swears. “Some people do it every day!”
There are two main techniques used for basic contouring: low lighting and highlighting. Low lighting refers to using a darker color wherever there’s an area of the face or feature you want to recede or de-emphasize. Brande recommends a hue about three shades darker than your own skin—and making sure your product is matte, never frosted or shimmery. The opposite of low-lighting is highlighting—this you do on areas you want to emphasize or bring forward. For highlight, you can use either matte or frosted/shimmery color, whichever you prefer.