Optical illusions

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Optical illusionHave you ever wondered how the A-listers manage to look so supernaturally perfect in their red carpet snaps? Aside from great lighting and some magical retouching, their skin’s benefit from some expert contouring, highlighting and other make-up artist tricks. Luckily it’s not too difficult to do it yourself, if you know how.

The best order in which to do things is: contour, highlight, then blend. Follow with foundation and blend again to ensure you have no visible contouring lines or spots, and continue with the rest of your make-up.


Where? You should be contouring areas you want to appear deeper – think the hollow under your (lack of) cheekbone, the sides of a wide nose, the underside of a double chin, the corners of an overly wide chin, the edges of a hard jawline, the outer corners of your forehead.

What? While you technically can use any product that is a couple of shades darker than your skin – be it foundation, concealer, bronzer or blush – you should make sure that the shade is right for your skin tone. It shouldn’t be too pink, yellow or orange – ideally you want something in line with your skin tone, just deeper. Bear in mind that you shouldn’t use powder consistency under liquid or cream foundation – I would advise investing in a cream concealer in the right shade for this purpose.


Where? On all areas you want to draw attention to – imagine your face is illuminated by candle light, and aim for those areas. Definitely highlight everything along the centre of the face – the length of the nose (but stop short of the tip if you’re prone to oiliness), a triangle in the middle of the forehead, the tip of the chin, and the hollow above the cupid’s bow. Also highlight under the eyes (you can do a figure 8 all the way around the eyes if you’re relatively wrinkle-free, otherwise stick to under-eyes and inner corners), and under the eyebrows – if you have flat brows, highlight under the length of the entire brow to create a lift; if you have an arched brow, only highlight under the outer half. Also remember the all-important highlighting on (or just above) the cheekbone.

Rather don’t highlight any parts with breakouts, wrinkles, enlarged pores, rough texture or scarring from cystic acne.

What? A light-reflecting product with some shimmer particles. Remember that you’ll still apply a foundation over it, which will greatly tone down the shimmer – so it works even in day time.

Apply your contouring and highlighting products on moisturised skin in rough lines and dots, and then blend in when you’re done. Follow with the foundation and concealer as usual, and if necessary, you can always add a couple of dabs of highlighter afterwards, and continue the contouring process subtly with blusher and bronzer.

And I have mentioned how important blending is, right?

Two great highlighting products to try: Yardley Radiant Glo Illuminator, R100, and YSL Touche Eclat, R445

Image: Shutterstock.com

Other articles you may be interested in:
Contouring with Elizabeth Arden

Written by

Chantelle loves the beauty industry and is a junkie for all things high-tech. A background in skincare therapy and a secret dream of becoming a copywriter steered her in the direction of beauty blogging. To read more of her writing, visit her blog NotAnotherPoppie.com.

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  1. Lex Gold

    This will probably take a lot of practice… but hopefully it’ll be worth it!

    5 years ago •

  1. Sue1N

    Yardley Radiant Glo Illuminator sounds amazing. Great article. Thank you!

    6 years ago •

  1. Queen Shai

    This is going take a lot of practice. Since practice makes perfect, I’m on it!

    6 years ago •

  1. de Vos

    I’m a little late, but my word this is the most fantastic article. I have learnt so much and I can’t wait to go and try it out!

    6 years ago •

  1. diamond

    I think I should start experimenting with these tricks

    6 years ago •

  1. SpiceY

    Lovely tips ….I also love the cream by Mac in color shell…great or cheekbones and under eyebrow

    6 years ago •

  1. Hess

    These are great tips – was searching for articles on contouring the other day, but this info works much better. So trying this tonight!

    6 years ago •

  1. Makeup Addict


    6 years ago •

  1. Lauren

    Great tips – will definitely give it a try.

    6 years ago •

  1. Nettie

    thank you for the great tips – so need to try this when going to a function or out for the night

    6 years ago •

  1. Azraa

    Thanks for the tips! There are some great youtube videos and contouring and highlighting!

    Love it!

    6 years ago •

  1. Larissa B

    Excellent tips!
    Even though applying makeup can sometimes seem like an arduous task, just 5 or 10 minutes can help you achieve that radiant, glowing red carpet look.
    I do use the yardley radiant glo illuminator mixed with a little foundation for makeovers and brides. it really does give a radiant glowing finish, it works amazingly.Another phenomenal product that i have worked with is the Clarins instant light complexion perfector especially uder the eyes as a concealor.

    6 years ago •

  1. Chocolates

    Great tips, you make it sound so easy.

    6 years ago •

  1. Pannack

    Interesting tips not sure if I would get it right though!

    6 years ago •

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