They say makeup is an art. The way an artist uses colours on a canvas, makeup cosmetics are used to camouflage or emphasise facial features and thus, enhance the beauty of the face. The secret of good makeup is contouring which helps to emphasise the plus points and play down, or camouflage, the flaws and minus points. In other words, one can create an illusion with makeup, by giving the face symmetry and camouflaging facial flaws. Most of us have some feature which we wish to change — plump cheeks, long face or a broad nose. This can be done with makeup cosmetics like bronzers and highlighters.
Today, several makeup tools and cosmetics are available to contour the face and add glamour and professional touches to makeup. The bronzer, for example, was never one of the basic cosmetics, like foundation, powder and blusher. But, today it is used to add a glow to a very fair and pale complexion. In the West, it is used to add a healthy, “tanned” look. In India, it is mostly used to contour the face. The main aim is to apply it subtly, to define certain features, apart from adding a glow. It is not to be applied on the entire face, but only on certain areas, where it helps to provide shading. A powder bronzer is easier to apply, although gel based bronzers are also available. You will also need a fluffy, broad powder blush, with a rounded top.
Since a bronzer helps to add a natural glow, you should select one that is about two shades darker than your normal skin colour. For very fair skin, go for a honey coloured bronzer. For medium colour tone, a rosy bronze may be better, while for dark skin, use amber. Avoid applying a single layer of dark colour and instead, apply several light coats. Dust off the excess from the brush before application. A good idea would be to apply the bronzer on the high points of the face, as these areas tend to become darker with sun exposure. These areas are the sides of the forehead, cheeks and jaw line. It can be used below the cheekbones to contour the face and create hollows, thus helping to slim down plump cheeks. Bronzing at the top of the forehead near the hairline, lengthwise, helps to play down a long face. Avoid bronzers with shimmer. Try to achieve a matte finish with your foundation, bronzer and blusher.
Highlighters, on the other hand, help to bring certain areas of the face into focus. They help to emphasise the plus points. The highlighter should be much lighter than the normal colour tone. Instead of going for stark white, choose very pale beige or pink, cream or ivory. You would, of course, need contour brushes and sponge for blending. Silver or gold may be used to highlight and add glitter for night makeup. For example, a highlighter may be used to lift the cheekbones by applying a line of highlighter, starting at the outer corner of the eye and going to the hairline. Highlighters are also use to bring a receding chin forward, by applying it on the chin and then blending it with the rest of the makeup. Highlighters are also applied under the brows, to define the shape of the eyes and add depth, as well as on the cheekbones, to make them appear more prominent. Blending is most important. The inner corner of the eyes can also be highlighted and then blended with a fingertip.
In order to redefine a particular feature, it may be necessary to work on other features too, like the brow bone, in order to create the right illusion. All said and done, good makeup is actually an art that is mastered by a great deal of experimenting, as well as trial and error. Makeup artists master the techniques with professional training and also use their own taste and colour sense.