Nothing gathers more attention than the infamous highlight and contour phenomenon. There are infinite choices of product types and each brand seems to release a new technology that, by the sound of it, has a life of its own. The amount of complicated terms and over exaggerated promises make it sound like science found a cure for all of humanities problems and not just released another brown colored powder. Now throw in the question about texture and consistency and you found yourself a question mark the size of Africa.
Since I am known to have incredibly high expectations of new products I usually stick to what I know and love. There seems to be an constant battle between cream and powder cheek products so I decided to not say which one you should use but let you decide.
As a rule of thumb, cream products are for those who don’t have any problems on the cheeks wether it’s acne, discoloration or dry flaky areas. It’s best when you have clear and smooth skin because cream products deliver a dewy finish and will cling to everything that’s uneven. Powder products will be much more flattering for those with problem skin on their cheeks since powder in itself is so thin and airy it will lay down like a veil. Usually powders are matte so they do emphasize fine lines and dry skin as well. If powders have a shine its due to small (or unfortunately sometimes big) glitter particles which can look unflattering.
My advice would be to just try out different products and figure out what you like but as a general idea I would suggest bronzer and highlighter to be cream based since this is what you really blend all over the cheeks and forehead etc and then use a powder contour and blush to achieve a matte and clean line.
Before we get product specific let me start off by saying it’s not important what you use but how you use it. I’m always more concerned about people using the wrong technique or the wrong type of product for their skin then the brand itself they’re using. If you want to be bougie and use all Chanel everything that’s cool, if you want to save and only use the most affordable one dollar products that’s cool too. As long as you know what you’re doing. In the end it’s only colored powder or a tinted cream anyway.
Understand the difference between bronzer and contour! Bronzer is going to be warming up the skin so naturally it should be warm toned. Not orange or yellow but just a warm tone that compliments your skin. This also should be more of a thin texture and very light and airy. Dust it in a 3 form on the forehead, the cheeks and the jawline and maybe even some on the side of your nose when you’re feeling extra pale. I personally don’t like any glitter at all in cheek products because that’s what the highlighter is for. Giving a glow not spreading glitter like Tinkerbell that is. Contour is a grey toned, defiantly a matte opaque line just below you’re cheek bone or well… where your cheekbone structure should be. Now don’t think it’s like connect the dots and you should draw a stick straight line- it defiantly needs to be smoothly blended so you see no edges whatsoever. Let me repeat. No. Edges. Ok ? But it shouldn’t be spread across your lower cheek down to your neck either. Coloring your whole cheek in grey is not making you look like Angelina Jolie. Trust me. Also there should be a visible space between the contour and jawline. Like at least a 3 fingers wide space. Ok now to finish this off, blush and highlight are only blended into the whole bronzer/contour situation. They are not another 2 lines. This is not geonometry. Look at the chart below for another visual input.
In the end it really depends on the the type of skin you have, what look you’re going for and what technique and tools you’re using. Cream products will melt into the skin, giving it a more natural finish and actually can add coverage. In my opinion cream cheek products are for those who have redness/scarring but not actually raised texture and for those who have more mature or dry skin. Powder will be thinner and drier on the skin making it ideal for those with oily skin, textured, acne or even flakiness. Of course a good exfoliating facial will help just as much but it never hurts to be on the safer side with the right texture.
A visual guide:
A few of my favorites:
- Chanel Tan de Soleil Bronzer (cream)
- Makeup Forever Pro Bronze Fusion (powder)
- Charlotte Tilbury Bronze & Glow Duo (cream to powder)
- Colourpop Super Shock Cheek Highlighter (cream)
- Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighter (liquid)
- Becca skin perfecting highlighter (powder)
- Makeup forever hd blush (cream)
- Hourglass ambient lighting blush (powder)
Of course there are many many more products in my collection and out there on the market. You can use any type of stick concealer, foundation or powder foundation a few shades darker or lighter to contour and highlight with. The Charlotte Tilbury beach stick in Ibiza is great for those that want a sheer wash of warm color, the MAC Studio perfecting concealer sticks are great for those with acne because they are really velvet-y and the NARS multiple sticks are a really fresh option for a more dewy look. I heard that the Tom Ford Shade illuminate if amazing for those with a more golden complexion and Kevyn Aucoin makes an almost taupe grey contour powder for those fair skinned gals out there. Hourglass has a cream trio that included a bronzer, blush and highlight which is perfect for everyone just getting started with makeup or for those that travel a lot. Also, I just ordered the Burberry Face Contour Pen which is surprisingly a cool toned contour stick with actually hints of pink in it- so the perfect shade for my NW10 complexion. And for those on a budget will find Colourpop products the best option because they offer cream and powder cheek products at a price point of 8$ ! And lastly for everyone that wants to go way over the top will find that the Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kit is extremely well pigemented. Those are only suggestions based on my and other people’s opinions I’ve heard over time. Of course being a product junkie I had my fair share of trial and error testing products as well! But whatever you decide on, choose what makes you happy and let me know in the comments below and keep products suggestions coming as well!