How to Subtly Contour and Highlight Your Face in 2 Steps

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How to Subtly Contour and Highlight Your Face in 2 Steps
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Photo: Tory Rust

No shade to the Kardashian-Jenner clan, but contouring has iterated from an innovative way for celebs to sculpt their faces on the red carpet to a tired Instagram meme over the past few years. Now, the idea of highlighting and contouring your face invokes images of caked-on makeup and 13-step-long YouTube videos that are impossible to follow. And for some of us makeup newbs, that can be hella intimidating.

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But before you say “screw it,” trust us when we say that contouring and highlighting is incredibly easy—so easy, in fact, that we got makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci to show you how to do it in just two quick steps, using only two products. Basically, if you have three minutes every morning, you have time to contour and highlight your face. So click through the gifs (yes! Gifs!) below, and try it on yourself tomorrow.

Photographer: Tory Rust
Model: Rachel Besser
Makeup: Ashleigh Ciucci
Hair: Akihisa Yamaguchi

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STEP 1: Chisel it out
STEP 1: Chisel it out

Swirl a fluffy contour brush, like the Sephora 45.5 or the Ulta Angled Brush, over a matte bronzer, tap off any of the excess, and gently sweep the brush over your temples and beneath your cheekbones (and by beneath, we mean directly on the edge of your cheekbones, so much so that your brush should be skimming your cheekbones as you swipe it). Make sure to seamlessly blend the bronzer into your skin by lightly swirling the brush in concentric circles back and forth over that C-shape you just created.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. No7 Match Made Bronzer, $12.99; at Ulta

2. Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer, $29; at Benefit Cosmetics

3. Palladio Matte Bronzer, $10; at Palladio

 

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Add the light
STEP 2: Add the light

Some fast facts for you: A cream highlighter looks more natural than a powder highlighter 100-percent of the time. Rub your ring finger over an iridescent highlighter (shimmery or glitter-flecked formulas scream "Hey! I'm your highlighter!") and lightly tap and dab it over the tops of your cheekbones, gently blending until there are zero obvious lines. Look for champagne-hued highlighters for fair skin, peachy-apricot for medium skin, and rose-gold or bronze for dark skin tones.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. Maybelline Face Studio Master Strobe, $7.99; a Ulta

2. NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick, $7.99; at Target

3. RMS Magic Luminizer, $38; at RMS Beauty

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Look ridiculously good
STEP 3: Look ridiculously good

Because you just subtly contoured your face without going full-on Kardashian. Huzzah!

Photo: Tory Rust
  • STEP 1: Chisel it out
  • STEP 2: Add the light
  • STEP 3: Look ridiculously good

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