Tip #1: For cheekbones, don't place the product too low or drag it down! Place the product right in the hollow of your cheekbone. This was my first and most elementary mistake during my first brush (har har) with contouring. I thought that you had to blend it downward in order to create a shadow, but blending it up a bit is what makes it look natural. If you place your contour too low and blend it down, it will drag your whole face down, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve with makeup!
Tip #2: Traditionally, contour is done under the cheekbones, around the forehead, and on your jawline. But only contour where you need it! If you have a small or narrow forehead like I do, don't add contour! This will only make it appear smaller. If you have a defined jawline, you probably don't need to contour it.
Tip #3: When contouring cheekbones, don't forget to connect the contour to your hairline! Taking the product way into the hairline will make it look more like a natural shadow.
Tip #4: Some believe that contour can never look natural in real life and is only appropriate in photos. This is false, as long as you blend blend blend! Blending is the key to making contour look natural and not-so-obvious. Don't overdo it; put the tiniest amount on your brush and blend!
Tip #5: Don't be afraid to layer contour! Just like you can add depth to your eyes by using multiple dark eyeshadows, you can use a couple of contour shades to create the perfect cheekbone hollow.
Tip #6: If you're using a powder product, it should go on after you apply finishing powder to your face. Putting powder over bare foundation will make it hard to blend. If you're using a cream contour, it should go on after your foundation and before your finishing powder!
Tip #7: Use a product that's appropriate for contour, not bronzing! Bronzing means that you're putting the product where the sun would naturally hit your face (forehead, nose, cheeks). If that's your thing, feel free to go for some with shimmer, but you want to contour, pick a matte product with no orange. I strongly suggest choosing one from those I mention below!
The Best Cruelty-Free Bronzers
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow (28$): This is my go-to contour and it's perfect for pale skin. Because it's a cream, you can easily control the amount you're putting on, and it doesn't have the slightest orange tint. Perfect nose contour! By far the most natural-looking one out there.
Too Faced's Soleil Bronzer in Milk Chocolate (30$) is matte and perfect for light to medium skintones. It's definitely not orangey and seriously smells like chocolate!
The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder couldn't be any less orange, and it comes in a few different shades. This means that pale ladies such as myself finally found a powder bronzer match! It's only about 10$ if you catch it on sale.
Everyday Minerals also makes a bronzer that's light enough for super pale skin! It's called Lanai in the Sand. I love this taupe shade and how long this one lasts. They have two other shades for light to medium skin too.
TheBalm's Bahama Mama (20$) bronzer is a perfect contour shade for medium-skinned ladies. It's matte (although they have a shimmery bronzer sister called Betty-Lou Manizer) and the quality of theBalm's blushes is pretty amazing.