by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

This Is the Difference Between Bronzing and Contouring

Image via @seelokmentari

You might think that bronzing and contouring are interchangeable, but each has its own purpose. Essentially, bronzing brings warmth back to your face, giving you a sun-kissed glow, while contouring introduces shadows to sculpt and define the face. Contouring and bronzing also differ in colour and finish. Bronzer tends to be more warm-toned and can have a shimmery finish, while contouring generally has a matte finish.

If you’re still confused, here’s a quick rundown on the difference between the two and how to begin incorporating them into your makeup routine.

Contouring comes first

If time is a luxury you don’t have, skip contour and dust a little bronzer over the cheeks and forehead. But if you’re after a little more definition, contouring should come before bronzer. A good contour shade shouldn’t have any shimmer as it will reflect light, highlighting that area to create the opposite, unwanted effect. A matte bronzer may look like a good contour shade, but it’s more likely to warm your skin and not create the cool-toned shadows you want. Blend your product of choice under the cheekbones, crease of the eyes, under the jawline, the temples, and alongside the nose.

Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder, SGD52.75

Blending is key

Blendable powders are probably your best bet if you’re looking for easy, fuss-free products. But stick products are also very easy to work with; just make sure to blend out fully so there aren’t harsh lines left on the face.

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick, SGD39

You can also experiment with different textures and figure out which you like best. For creams and liquids, one of the easiest ways is to use two foundation shades — one your everyday shade and the other slightly darker for the face’s periphery and cheekbones.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, SGD77

Pay attention to skin tone

Bronzers with peachy tones are very flattering on those with fair skin (not so much on medium skin tones as these can wash out the face), like the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow (SGD105). For the ultimate natural and sun-kissed glow, try the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer (SGD86) or the classic Benefit Hoola Bronzer (SGD53). When applying bronzer, dust the highest points of the face,  where the sun would naturally hit your skin (and above where you applied your contour). Start at the top of the cheekbones, across the forehead, and down the bridge of the nose. You can think of bronzer as a warmer version of highlighter, and apply accordingly.

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow, SGD105
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer, SGD86
Benefit Hoola Bronzer, SGD53

What about blush?

Choosing between bronzer and blush is a matter of mood and occasion. If you’re going for a natural look, bronzer can add a hint of colour and definition. But you can also use both in tandem for a vibrant, fresh-faced look.

To pull off the look, apply blush first and then gently sweep some bronzer in the hollows of your cheeks. This creates the appearance of lifted cheekbones. Use a brush or beauty blender to blend for a seamless colour gradient that naturally accentuates your cheekbones.