Makeup and beauty are the kinds of staples in life that are always changing. There’s always a new trend, a new innovation, or just a new way of applying or using a product that you’ve been using for years.
If the past couple of years had a theme with the innovations, it would primarily be focused on face products. We’ve come to love eye palettes again and matte lipstick has hit the mainstream to the point it rivals glossy varieties, but the true focus has been on your base.
No longer is it enough that you find a foundation and concealer that work well with your skin tone. There’s now a frankly staggering number of products you can use to create the perfect fresh face and – if done well enough – it can create an amazing impact. With the new changes come new terms and techniques, so if you’re lagging behind and in need of a primer (no pun intended!) then here’s what you need to know.
The above photo is a good example of what a highlighter can do. See the bright spots on her cheeks (above the blusher/bronzer) and forehead? Her central nose and her chin are also lighter than the rest of her face. This is all entirely intentional, and it’s not being created by studio lights – it’s the makeup.
Highlighter is generally used in areas of the face where light normally hits. It’s creating the illusion of the perfect glow, even when you’re indoors.
Try It! The best method for applying highlighter is to keep it light. Use a little at a time in long, sweeping brush strokes. Use too much and the effect is less highlighter and more metallic paint sprayer!
The buzz for contouring has gone down to an extent. There’s no doubt that, for awhile, it got ridiculous – the transformational impact of contouring can change the face in the mirror into one you don’t recognize. It can give you cheekbones where nature declined to do so, slim down your nose down almost as well as rhinoplasty can give you the perfect jawline.
It’s powerful, so it got overused. Contouring is now more about creating a little extra dimension, not creating an entirely new face!
Try It! Use a contour only a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone; it will look far more natural and be easier to blend in. Contouring and highlighting work well together, with the contour providing the “shade” for the “light” that the highlight creates.
Finally, we have strobing, which is best described as a more focused form of highlighting. Where highlighting tends to be done with powder, strobing cream sticks are used for a strobe effect that particularly accentuates the cheekbones.
The best way of separating things would be to say highlighting is for a daytime glow, whereas strobing creates a more dynamic nighttime effect.
Try It! You need relatively little precision to try strobing, but like highlighting, start minimal and then build it up. If you put on too much, a dash of translucent powder can calm things right down again.