Women Today

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Improve cosmetic skills with highlighting and contouring

Many women feel that a few well-placed cosmetic touches can improve their appearances and highlight their best features. There are scores of cosmetics on the market, with entire store aisles devoted to foundations, blushes, shadows, and other cosmetic products.

Discovering which brands and products work best for your particular skin type may take some trial and error before producing winning results. But makeup lessons do not end with product selection. Learning the keys to proper application can help women make the most of their cosmetics.

Highlighting and contouring, often referred to as "HAC," has been perfected and used by professional makeup artists for some time. HAC has transformed the faces of many celebrities and is often the technique of choice to add dramatic effect to a woman's look. The technique employs the use of lighter and darker shades of makeup to add dimension to the face with the intention of drawing attention to particular areas while downplaying others. With highlighting and contouring, women can even create the illusion of more prominent cheekbones or a smaller nose without having to undergo plastic surgery.

Contouring involves adding shadows in certain places to define areas and enhance shapes. Areas that you desire to retreat from the eye for a more sculpted look should be contoured. Contouring can be done by using a concealer crayon that is a few shades darker than your natural skin color, a bronzer or a deep shade of blusher. Women also can purchase contouring kits to make the job that much easier.

Highlighting adds light to the face in key areas to make them more prominent. Highlighters may be sold as stand-alone products, or you can use a light concealer to achieve similar results.

Depending on the shape of your face or your goal, contouring and highlighting shades will be placed in select areas. In many instances, darker hues are placed around the hairline, as well as in the crease of the cheeks that forms when you suck in your cheeks. Contouring also is added from the inside corners of the eyebrows down the sides of the nose. Bronzer applied under the chin and down the neck can make your neck appear elongated and thinner.

Highlights typically are applied in the center of the forehead and down the front of the nose. Lighter hues can be used above the eyebrows and underneath the outer corners of the brows to define their shape. Apply a highlighter underneath the eyes stretching over the tops of the cheeks. Some women like to highlight the bow of the lips and the front of the chin.

Contouring and highlighting should take place after you have used concealer and your base foundation. This allows you to blend the shades together so there aren't any distinct lines in color. Use a blush color at the back of the apples of the cheeks to finish the look. Then feel free to play up your eyes and lips with desired shades.

Osceola News-Gazette