Maybelline Queen

{September 10, 2013}   Contouring and Highlighting Your Beautiful Dark Skin

One of the essential techniques to learn for any makeup application is contouring—and although it seems intimidating at first, it’s actually fairly easy to master.

“When you contour, the underlying idea is the same, no matter what skin tone you’re working with.” “Contouring is all about playing up your natural features.” Practicing and playing around is the best way to discover what works on your particular face.

To recap, there are two main techniques in contouring: lowlighting and highlighting. Lowighting refers to using a darker color wherever there’s an area of the face or feature you want to recede or de-emphasize. Highlighting is the opposite: using lighter colors on areas you want to emphasize or bring forward.

Here’s how to perform basic contouring and highlighting on the cheeks, eyes, and nose.


If you’re a beginner, try out the technique on the cheeks first—it’s really simple. Start with a clean base. Then, using a medium angle brush, apply a matte shade, on the hollow of the cheeks (or right underneath the cheekbone). That’s the lowlight, and every time you do a lowlight, you want to balance with a highlight.


If you’re adding luminizer on dark skin, a bronze-based product, rather than something pearl-based. “This will give you more of overall natural glow. If you’re color is too pearly, on dark skin, it can look like you have a line of frost”.


Here, light contouring on the nose, using the same lowlight and highlight shades used on the cheeks (see above) Starting at the inner corner of the brow, brush a small amount of the lowlight shadow along both sides of the nose. Then apply the highlight down the bridge of the nose. To finish, blend the two together with a clean brush.


Contouring and highlighting the eyes can really make them pop. For this look,start with  a lowlight shadow, applying it into the crease and blending well. Then counter that with a highlight brushed right along the brow bone.

For darker skin,choose a highlight shade that has yellow or orange in it. “If you pick a product with too much of a cool undertone,”it can look ashy once it oxidizes, as though it’s floating on top of the complexion. A peachy shade works well on dark tones, because it will blend in and give you a nice bright pop.

Finishing Touches

To complete the look, add cream highlighter to the higher plans of the face—the cheekbones, brow ridge, and down the bridge of nose. Lastly, layer on the lips. Done!


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