Contouring and Highlighting Dark Skin

African American model with wavy hair and simple eye makeup and contouringbeautiful african american model with highlighting and contour

Highlighting and contouring are important steps in making your makeup look its best. With just a few products, you can really change the way your face looks. The problem is, many contouring tutorials don’t take into account the needs of darker skin. It can be more difficult to find an appropriate contour color, and highlighters can often be too light, but here are some tips to help make contouring for dark skin easier.

As a rule, look for a contour color that is two shades darker than your base color. For most women, this color is best found in an eye shadow or dark bronzer. A dark taupe or brown shadow can take the place of a bronzer, and often do the job even better, but choose based on the color, not the formulation. Start by swirling your brush in the product and take most of it off onto the back of your hand. Many women who go to contour for the first time make the mistake of applying too much product and end up with dirty looking skin. If you take most of the product off onto your hand, you’ll end up with just enough to build a subtle shadow. It’s always better to apply too little color than too much.

[ Master Class: How to Contour the Right Way ]

To contour your cheeks, imagine a line from the top of your ear to the corner of your mouth. Follow this about half way and you’ll have a perfect line. The fish face technique can result in the product being applied too low so be sure to blend upwards. Bring a small amount of the contour color up onto the temple and under the jaw line. This will visibly slim the face and make you look more angular.

Highlighter colors can be hard to find for darker skin tones but as a rule you should look for a product with as many different colors of shimmer as possible. Golden tones work well on dark skin, so stay away from highlighters with too much silver, as they can bring out more ashy tones. Apply it to the tops of your cheekbones, under your eyebrows, and to your cupid’s bow to make the most of your face’s natural structure. 

[ Makeup Lessons: All About Contouring ]

Images: IMAXtree