Friday, February 20, 2015

Is There a Difference Between Contouring and Bronzing?

Lately I have been seeing people asking this question.  Is there a difference between contouring and bronzing?  The answer is, it depends.  Some people will contour at the same time they bronze with the same products.  Others use two different products and two different makeup brushes to achieve these two methods.  At the end of the day it depends what look you are going for.

I normally contour and bronze at the same time.  However on the days when I have time and really want that contouring defined line, I will combine these two methods above by using specific brushes and bronzers.  Its not that hard and very easy to achieve.  However in order to get these two in one look, you need the proper makeup brushes and products.  No matter what you tell yourself, without the proper tools your contouring and bronzing will not come out right.  There lies the difference between your face looking dirty and your face looking well defined.

When contouring your face, you need know where to find and draw the lines that naturally create a shadows on your face. Those are lines that you want to define and crave out in order to achieve that contour look.  However when doing this method pay attention.  Contour needs to go with the shape of your face.  Its important you understand the shape of your face before you start contouring.  If not, then you may draw lines that extenuate unnatural areas of your face leaving a not so attractive look.  Once you find those areas of your face to contour, use the proper makeup brush(es) and products to achieve this look.


So first things first, you need to decide if you want to only contour, only bronze or both.  Because if you apply bronzer in the same exact areas as of your contouring, then you face is going to look dirty as you will cover way to much with bronzer.  If you plan to contour and bronze, then you need to adjust the amount of product and areas you going to cover with these products.  So let's start off with contouring and drawing those lines!  

Tools & Products

First you want to get yourself a good contouring product that has grey not red or orange undertones.  If you use red or orange undertone contour product, it will for sure stand out in a not so attractive way.  So stick to grey for a more natural look.  I normally use a cream bronzer for contouring because it's easy to blend and works better when I apply bronzer over it.

My go to cream contour is Soliel Tan de Chanel.  I love this product for many reasons.  First, while it may be pricey, however it comes a large jar that more than justifies the cost.  I have been using this product for almost a year, not even half way through and has not dried out nor does it look like it will any time soon.  Second, the price.  For a jar this size for only $51 CDN is amazing.  This product is literally the size of the whole palm of my hand.  Third, this has proper undertones.  You always want to go for a grey undertone bronzer when contouring. If you go for a red or orange, it will make your face look weird and stand out in many ways.  Think "I have spent to much time in the tanning booth" burnt look.  So stay away from red or orange bronzers when contouring.

For contouring you will need a few brushes, potentially.  First, you will need a contouring brush to apply this cream to hallow out your cheek bones, sides of your nose, underneath your jaw and lip, on your temples and upper outer corners of your hairline.

The Blank Canvas Cosmetics F30 Sculpt Brush works wonders to draw a fine and precise line on your cheekbones and upper outer corners of your hairline.  This brush has great control and literally leaves you with the best lines I have ever seen.  You can also use this brush for blending in your contour, however if you have a small face then brush might be to much for you.

In that case I recommend using Blank Canvas Cosmetics F21 Angled Contour Face Brush which works wonders not only for small faces but to seamlessly blend in your contour.  Due to the fact that this brush is angled, it works beautifully on the hollows of your cheeks and around your face without getting makeup in your hair.  Brushes that lack the angled shape tend to get makeup in your hair.  However since our foreheads are normally rounded and not straight, this brush fits right into the rounded angles and blends out the makeup.  Also works wonders to blend underneath your chin and down your neck.   


Bronzing is a bit different then contouring in the aspect that you apply product in larger areas of your face but more subtly.  If you over do this part on top of your contouring, then you for sure will look like someone who has had way to much time in the sun in all the wrong ways.  You don't want to walk away looking unnaturally brown or bronzed.  So make sure to apply bronzer light handed with  undertones that work for you.

Tools & Products

When bronzing, always remember that a sun kissed look is what you are going for.  It very easy with bronzer to go overboard and look like you just stepped out of a long season from a tanning booth.  With bronzer, here is where you are allowed to used red or orange undertones if you desire.  However make sure to first check your own skins undertone and see if these colors will work for you.  You don't want to look like an orange carrot or sun burnt victim if the color is all wrong.  If all else fails, then stick to grey undertones which always look great! Moreover, stay away from glitter/shimmery bronzers.  While they look nice, they TOTALLY look unnatural unless that is the look you are going for.  Glitter/shimmery bronzers work best at night, for a party or club type atmosphere.  But for normal everyday wear, it can look way to overdone.*AjmQvezs&c3ch=Linkshare&c3nid=nu*AjmQvezs&affid=nu.AjmQvezs-eH9kmD2Zh2Zt3NMKhuX_uw&ranEAID=nu*AjmQvezs&ranMID=2417&ranSiteID=nu.AjmQvezs-eH9kmD2Zh2Zt3NMKhuX_uw

One of the best bronzers I have ever used is Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer Milk Chocolate.  You can get this bronzer in two colors.  Either light/medium or a darker shade.  This bronzer has great undertones to work with just about everyone's skin.  It is also matte so it leaves you with a beautiful realistic glow.   The best part about this bronzer is not only the color it leaves you, but that fact that it smells like chocolate!! Hey for a girl like me who is addicted to chocolate, I don't mind having it on my face with zero calorie guilty!!

There are two brushes that come to mind when applying bronzer to the face in my opinion that work wonders each time.  Either a nice large contour brush or an angled brush.

The Blank Canvas Cosmetics F16 Large Contour/Powder Brush is shaped in a tear drop form which works wonders to pick up product at the tip so that you can apply to diagonally down and up the hollows of the cheeks and around the temples and forehead.  Due to its tear shaped design, it allows you to get apply your bronzer right where you need it without smudge your face.

The Blank Canvas Cosmetics F04 Angled Contour Face Brush works well to apply bronzer on the apples of your cheeks and blend it in with your blush if you are applying some on top.  This brush has an angled head which helps to get the bronzer all the way up to the hairline right next to your temples.  You can also bronze with this brush around your forehead due to its angled shape.  Moreover due to this brush having a white head, you can see if you have picked up to much or too little bronzer.

If you plan to both contour and bronze, remember less is more.  I can't stress that point enough. I have seen girls who literally look sun burnt due to over doing it.  The more natural your contour and bronzing look, the more attractive and natural looking you will come out!

Unless you like sporting the brunt look! Then hey as the old saying goes "to each his own" right!

So there you have it! Two concepts that you can combine in one (or two) depending on what type of look you are going for!

Let me know what types of products and tools you use for contouring and bronzer!

Keep Smiling!


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  1. I honestly don't know much about makeup. Now I know why it takes some women a long time to put their make up on - it's really an art!

  2. There really is an art to properly applying makeup! Thank you for this informative post - great instructions and valuable tips. Much appreciated!


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