Your Guide to Bridal Makeup Highlighting And Contouring

Every bride wants to look absolutely gorgeous on her wedding day. And in that quest for bridal makeup perfection, I’ve noticed a trend of more and more brides turning to highlighting and contouring.

And it’s easy to see why!

Done right, it’s a powerful technique for showing off your best features and hiding imperfections. Whether you’re looking for bigger, sparkling eyes or the cheekbones of a goddess, contouring can help.

So to help you look absolutely gorgeous on your wedding day, I’ve put together this quick guide to bridal contouring!


How does it work?

For those not in the know, contouring works by using makeup darker than your natural skin tone to shade areas of your face that you want to redefine and shape. Typically it’s used on areas like your nose, eyes, forehead, chin and cheekbones.  

This makes it a really powerful technique that can slim the face, enhance your best features and make them really pop.

Or it can be a total disaster that makes your face unrecognisable.

It all comes down to the skill and experience of the contourer.


Why should you consider it on your wedding day?

When done correctly, contouring can allow you to enhance your best features, while still maintaining a natural look.

The additional colour and shaping of your face will also make your features shine in those wedding day photos. It’s why contouring has long been popular among Hollywood stars – it stops your skin looking dull and washed out in high definition pictures.


Is bridal contouring different to normal contouring?

This is up to the bride, but in my experience as a professional makeup artist most brides want a more natural look.

This means walking a fine line between enhancing the bride’s features with highlighting and contouring, while still making it appear natural to the eye and camera.

And the best way of doing that is to avoid lines by blending extremely well.


Is it the right choice for me?

Without a consultation or knowing exactly what look you’re after, it’s hard to say. But for most brides the subtle bone structure enhancements contouring can offer makes it a good choice to consider.

And if you’re planning on trialing multiple looks to decide on your perfect wedding day makeup, it’s definitely worth experimenting with!

But if you’re someone who doesn’t normally wear makeup, even the subtle enhancements contouring can give can be a bit of a shock, so that’s one group where this look might not be a great fit.


What should I do if I want a contoured bridal look?

Contouring is an advanced makeup technique, so if it’s the look you’re after then I’d recommend using a professional makeup artist, rather than going it alone.

Ideally you should try to book a makeup trial several months in advance. Before you go, take some time to think about which features you really like.

It’s always easier when a client can say, “I really love my cheekbones and want them to stand out” or “my eyes are my favourite feature, can we make them pop?”

A great makeup artist will be able to help you decide the features you want to enhance and sculpt your face for you.

But the important thing to remember for a bridal look is that you’re trying to enhance your existing beauty, not completely change the way you look.


What if I want to do it myself?

For all but the most experienced amateur makeup artists I really would stress highlighting and contouring is a professional technique and recommend you go to a professional wedding makeup artist.

Even for the more advanced amateurs, you’ll still likely be better off going with a pro.

But for those determined to go it alone, here are some of my best tips for wedding contouring.


Practice, Practice, Practice

Highlighting and contouring is a hard technique to master. If you’re going to do it yourself, make sure you start trialing looks and practicing many months in advance.

Be prepared to spend a lot on products and makeup wipes.

Try multiple methods and watch as many tutorials on YouTube as you possibly can.


It’s all about the base

For contouring to work, you have to start with a flawless base.

Before you begin using lighter and darker shades make sure that you have applied your foundation in a way that gives you an even skin tone and matches your colouring exactly.


Don’t go overboard

For a beautiful, natural bridal makeup look it’s important to apply product slowly and gradually add layers.

This is even more important when it comes to contouring as it’s extremely easy to go overboard with it and apply far too much makeup.  

Add only a little of your darker and lighter shades at a time, blend extremely well and then decide if you need to add more.

It might make the application take slightly longer, but you’ll end up saving time in the long run as you won’t have to remove makeup and start again each time you go overboard.

It will also ensure you end up with a far superior look!


Know your face

A common mistake first time contourers make is looking at individual features first, instead of taking the whole face into account from the start.

Before you start, take into account what areas you’re trying to enhance and how that will affect the overall look of your face.  


Blend, Blend, Blend

Harsh lines will ruin a bridal look and draw attention to the makeup, rather than giving the impression of a natural look.

To avoid this make sure you blend extremely well. And take your time to do it.

I’d recommend using powder products when you first practice contouring, even if you’re planning on using a cream or stick concealer for your final wedding look.

This is because powder will be easier to blend which will make it easier to master highlighting and contouring techniques.


And finally…

Don’t be afraid to call in expert help in the end if you need it. Highlighting and contouring can really enhance your natural features, but it’s devilishly hard to master.

If you really want to try going it alone, that’s great!

But it’s OK to change your mind.

Either way I’m sure you’re going to have an amazing look on your wedding day!

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