Contour and highlight your face

How can I shape my face with make-up in a fuss-free way?

Make-up tutorial videos on social media platforms often make face-contouring techniques look complicated. The self-proclaimed beauty gurus in such videos are also often heavy-handed when applying make-up, so the end result may be over the top for everyday wear.

Ms Priscilla Yu, Nars Hong Kong's lead make-up stylist, shares her tips for easy contouring.

1 Pick the finish you want


Go for cream products that give a dewy finish and softer touch for day looks.

Pick powder products which look more obvious on the skin for evening make-up looks, or for when you are going to be photographed.

Use your fingers to apply creamy products and a dense kabuki brush for powder cosmetics.

2 Use your fingers to feel the bones on your face

This will give you an idea of where to apply the cosmetics to make your face look sharper and more lifted.

3 Contour with darker tones

When using a cream product: Cover two-thirds of the length of the ring finger with the product. Then place your finger just under the cheekbone and glide it upwards to create a soft shadow. You can use your index or middle finger to do this, but the ring finger is weakest so you are less likely to pull on your skin.

When using a powder product: Pick up the product with a kabuki brush, then place the brush flat under the cheekbone and stroke upwards.

Do the same for the area under the jawline.

4 Highlight with lighter tones

When using a cream product: Pick up the cream product with your ring finger. Then place the length of your finger along the top of the cheekbone and slide it downwards. This move will help to blend the contouring product as well, so the make-up looks more natural.

When using a powder product: Apply the make-up with a kabuki brush onto the top of the cheekbones in light, circular motions.

Use your fingertips to apply highlighter (cream or powder) on the inner and outer corners of the eyes as well as the brow bone.

5 Blush

Complete the look with a cream or powder blush that matches your skin tone. Blush should always be applied on the apple of the cheeks and blended towards the ears and hairline.

6 Finish

Set cream products with a lightweight and translucent pressed or loose powder to help make-up last longer.

Life's picks:

1. Guerlain Meteorites Voyage Enchante, $242, from Guerlain counters

A skin-illuminating powder with a matte finish.

2. Nars Copacabana Multiple, $60, from Nars counters

A multi-purpose creamy contouring stick.

3. Estee Lauder New Dimension Shape + Sculpt Face Kit, $68, from Estee Lauder counters

A creamy contouring and highlighting duo.

4. Laneige Cushion Highlighter, $34, from Laneige counters

A sheer liquid highlighter in a cushion compact.

5. Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Indiscretion, $66, from Laura Mercier counters

Gives skin a soft, bronzed-gold shimmer.

6. Urban Decay Naked Illuminated Shimmering Powder For Face And Body, $43, from Urban Decay and Sephora stores

This gives the skin a rosy, pearlescent finish.

7. Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in 01 Moodlight, $108, from Tom Ford counters

Luminous white and gold shades for sculpting the face.

8. Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in 001, $71, from Dior counter

A finely milled blush for adding subtle colour to the face.

9. Cle De Peau Beaute Bronzing Powder Duo, $130, from Cle De Peau Beaute counters

Gives skin a sun-kissed appearance; perfect if you want subtle contours on the face.

10. Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush, $36, from Sephora stores

A long-wearing powder blush.

11. The Body Shop Fresh Sorbet Blush, $24.90, from The Body Shop stores

A lightweight, mousse-cream blush.

12. RMK Gold Impression Illuminator, $79, from RMK counters

Shimmery gold powder best used sparingly on cheekbones.

13. Nars Ita Kabuki Brush, $86, from Nars counters

A short and flat brush made for contouring.

14. Make Up For Ever Powder Kabuki Brush in No. 124, $85, from Sephora stores

Ensures an even, lightweight application of powder with both smooth and textured fibres.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2015, with the headline 'Contour and highlight your face'. Print Edition | Subscribe