Once again, we’re delighted to share a basic makeup tutorial from Los Angeles based makeup artist, Amy Clarke. She has created this lovely tutorial along with one of our favorite photographers, Bryce Covey, to detail and demonstrate how to perfect the art of contouring and highlighting using makeup.


Take these tips from Amy to add to your ever-growing arsenal of makeup techniques. We know how difficult it is to get straight information when you’re looking through hundreds of turorials on how to perfect a makeup skill (to use bronzer or not to use bronzer?!) but as always, Amy has made it easier than ever for you to learn how to use your natural bone structure and just a few key pieces of makeup to contour and highlight your best features. Use this basic makeup tip to kick your daily beauty routine up a notch!


Contour & Highlight:

1.+ 2.  Apply one layer of foundation or tinted moisturizer all over face. I used Tarte’s BB Cream in “Medium Light”. Using a foundation brush and a cream concealer (2 to 3 times lighter than your skin tone), apply concealer (the highlight) to the under eyes, down the sides of the nose, and brushed back and upward toward the hairline.

3. Using the same concealer, highlight the center of the forehead and down the bridge of the nose, upper lip, center of the chin and on your brow bone. Lastly, apply the concealer to the jawline, just under your cheekbones.

4. Once you’ve finished with all the highlighting, it’s time to apply the contour. Pick a cool-toned cream concealer or foundation thats 2 to 3 shades darker than your skin tone. Taking a smaller, stiff brush or foundation brush, apply the contour cream to the hallows of your cheeks, just below your cheekbone, all the way to your hairline.

5.+ 6. +7. Apply the same color to your forehead near your hairline, temples, jawline, the sides of your neck and to the sides of your nose.

8. Using a wet Beauty Blender or Duo Fiber Blending Brush, blend all the contour and highlighter together until there is no more distinction between the two colors.

9. Lastly, Apply a light dusting of blush, and set all the highlight with a loose powder using a small natural bristled brush. I used Tarte’s 12 Hour Amazonian Clay Blush in “Tipsy” and Make Up For Ever’s Super Matte Loose Powder in “Translucent Natural”.

Pro Tip: You can use cream or powders to contour or highlight, creams are easier to blend and tend to look more natural. Avoid using bronzer to contour. You are creating a “shadow” so think of a color that’s similar to an actual shadow, which tends to be a cooler tone.  Use Bronzer to warm up your skin and make it look sun-kissed! 

Favorite Products: Make Up For Ever’s Foundation Brush “30N” & Senna Cosmetic Face Sculpting Cream “1.

Photography: Bryce Covey | Makeup: Amy Clarke | Hair: Heidi Marie Garrett | Creative Direction: Emily Newman for Once Wed

In This Story:


Comments (44)

Janet McKnight | Reply

Pardon my beauty illiteracy, but could you be more specific about the “sides of the neck”?

Organizare evenimente | Reply

Thanks for the tips!I hope i will succeed!

bright and beautiful | Reply

great tutorial! thank you for sharing.

Vladimir Dostalek | Reply

LOVE this! so gorgeous and dreamy and really well executed. great ideas to try :)

The Junk Drunk | Reply

Thanks! I can’t wait to try this. She looks gorgeous and glam. Any chance on a tutorial for her hair updo as well?

Nicole | Reply

Any suggestions on highlighter if there isn’t a color two shades lighter than your skin tone? I’m pretty pale naturally.

caitlin | Reply

Ha ha me too! My skin is see through lol

Kaylee | Reply

Can you list the products used in this tutorial? And possibly cheaper alternatives too? :D

Kimber | Reply

I use Revlon PhotoReady in Fair 001 stick cream Concealer for highlight and Revlon PhotoReady Bronzer 100 in Bronzed & Chic pressed powder bronzer for contouring. The bronzer has 4 shades, use the darkest for contouring and the others for blush or bronzing. I set my highlight using Revlon ColorStay pressed powder in Translucent. Both of these are completely matte, so you will need a shimmer highlight to dust on the top of cheek bones going up in a “C” shape. For this, I use Maybelline Master Hi-Light in 10 Nude. I hope this helps some!

lucila | Reply

Can you be a bit more specific about how to blend? Is it more like patting or going around in circles? Any other brush you can blend with?

Mer | Reply

What cream concealer do you use?

I also would appreciate more detail about the “blending”!

Giulia | Reply

How beautiful you look! It looks like a long process but I’ll try! Thanks a lot :)
Have a good night!


Jenna | Reply

This is exactly the type of highlighting and contouring I’ve been looking for! Absolutely beautiful results. Would love a list of the brands and colors/shades of makeup used in this tutorial.

Much thanks!

Jennifer | Reply

Love this! what type of contour cream did you use? thanks!

Caitlin Cleland | Reply

Love this tutorial! Can we have one for her hair too?!

Super Clare | Reply

A video would be devine! Great photos, thank you for your time…

Andrea C | Reply

Who makes that small foundation brush in images 4,5 and 7..love it!

Mayel | Reply

I love this Post!!!!!! i was looking for information and you solve all my concerns!!!!!!!!

pheyi | Reply

I really love d tutorial,will try it.thanks

Tara | Reply

Please recommend some “cool-toned cream concealer or foundation”

Tara | Reply

It’s not the technique/placement that is troublesome, it is finding the right products!

Jasmine | Reply

This is a great tutorial! Thank you so much. It’s very easy to understand and follow.

christi | Reply

What was used for the lips?

Jamie | Reply

Why are there no replies to any of these comments? I need answers to most of these questions! Most importantly, which products were used?

LeighAnn | Reply

I thought I would address a few of these comments. I used to teach models at an agency how to do these tricks.
sides of the neck: she means right under the jawline and chin to define, blend downward.
a cheap “dupe” for contour is the elf bronzer cream in the duo cream blush and bronzer. If you prefer a powder, you could use the elf bronzer in the duo blush and bronzer.
Blush-orgasm by Nars or use the Elf product above, it is almost a perfect dupe for Nars.
You can use any cream concealer for highlighting that is 2-3 shades lighter than your skin. Choose something that is creamy but not liquid. NYX makes some good lighter pots of concealer and lid primers that work pretty well, otherwise just find a concealer you like.
For blending I use a large powder brush from MAC. I like to set with makeup forever high definition powder. It airbrushes everything and makes it look smooth, plus it is sweat and water proof. You can also use a kabuki brush. I have not found the blenders to work as well as the brushes, but try both. You can by a beauty blender dupe at walgreens or ulta for around 4 dollars. They are almost the same as the 19 dollar one. :)

Hope that helps. This is what works for me. Be very careful with this in everyday wear. Most times I recommended this only as a stage thing or night-time. Use the palest, pink, frosty gloss you can find. It will make your lips look huge. NYX has some great frosted pink shades. If you have plenty of cash, dior has beautiful options as well.

LeighAnn | Reply

Oh, and I would say this lip color is probably bobbie brown. she makes great lip gloss.

Annabelle | Reply

For those asking about the products she used to contour: the Senna Cosmetics Face Sculpting Kit (in 1) that she mentions at the end actually includes three shades: a highlight, a contour, and a “lowlight” (supposed to be the same shade as your skin). Here’s the link to the product on the company’s website: http://www.sennacosmetics.com/–p-1248.html

Cheri Nelson | Reply

it is so beautiful it is so light and natural looking just beautiful!

Nikki | Reply

What camera do you use?? I love the photos! PS. You’re gorgeous!

Mary McLeod | Reply

Hi Nikki,
This was shot in film, most likely a Contax.

Corinne | Reply

What products did you use on this model Amy???

ankita | Reply

This blog is so helpful.it is important for makeup.I like this.

Heather | Reply

Beautiful explanation of contouring and highlighting. This can be a challenge for pale skin girls like me. Thanks for the post!


Lovestruck Deals | Reply

What a lovely tutorial- loving the soft look!

Lydia Royce | Reply

This is really helpful! I recently purchased a contour/highlight palette and feel so silly trying to use it.

Kompal | Reply

I will try these

Ailin | Reply

perfect tips… :) thank you so much for tips…

Olivia | Reply

This is a great tutorial! :)

Laurene | Reply

Love this can you do more articles on make up

Ana | Reply

A great entry! We are waiting for more such about makeup :) Regards.

astrid | Reply

such nice pics…

Lucky Maiden | Reply

She looks gorgeous and very natural! Love her hair too! :)

Hochzeit | Reply

Oh wow. Ich liebe die Seite. Toller informativer Beitrag zum. Thema. Weiter so. Liebe Grüße Daniel

Elizabeth van der Bij | Reply

I’m going to give this a try!!

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