Thursday, March 7, 2013

Highlighting and Contouring, the Basics

Highlighting & Contouring...that lovely thing we all do to give dimension to the face.  It's also that lovely thing that people always have a hard time with.  Whether it's applying it on yourself or applying it on others, highlighting & contouring can be tricky and if done wrong, can look like a disaster.  And trust me, I've seen some pretty bad H&C out there.

Now, I'm not going to teach you, give you a tutorial or show you step by step on how to do it.  Why?  Because highlighting and contouring isn't something that can be taught.  It is something that needs to be learned with practice and patience.  You know how I  always say to practice, practice, practice?  Well, this is one of those times.  But, there are a few things that I did (and still do to this day) that helped me learn how to highlight and contour correctly.  Remember, every face is different.  You will never highlight and contour the same for everyone.

All Makeup by Me

Whether you're doing a soft or hard application, the way that I found worked best for me (and that has worked well for others that have assisted me) is to "get to know the face".  What I mean by that is just that!  While your model / client is sitting in that chair waiting for you to make magic, take that time to look at their face.  Take a mental note of where all the high points of the face are (highlight), take note of where the hollows are (contour).  Now that you have a visual it's time to feel the skin.  That's right, take those lovely little feelers and touch their face.  I love to do so while I'm moisturizing.  I have and will always moisturize with my fingers.  This lets me feel the facial muscles & bones and gives me a better sense of the kind of skin  texture that I will be working with.

A great way to practice is on yourself (or a friend).  Grab a friend and massage his / her face with a little moisturizer.  Close your eyes and mentally envision the bones and muscles you're feeling all the while mentally taking notes.  Feel the cheekbones, feel the bridge of the nose, feel the temple and forehead  Now that you have an idea of what's under the skin, you can now highlight and contour to your liking.

Of course there is way more to this method such as the kind of lighting your working with, the kind of look you're going for, product you're using, blending properly etc., but once you have the basics down and "get to know the face", then you can move forward.  You can't expect to run before walking.  Without learning the basics, how do you expect to fully grasp the rest that's involved?

Now go forth, practice like crazy and be awesome!

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