How to Contour and Highlight with Cream Foundation (aka BACON)

Notice: In-depth tutorial, lots of information. Feel free to ask questions!

I have mentioned last week regarding Cover FX cream foundations, and I did said that I was going to do a tutorial on contouring. So, today, my post is about how to contour and highlight with cream foundation. I, personally, don’t use this technique much on a daily basis for my own makeup (except for tutorials, obviously). Usually, I do this sort of makeup for brides, and their bridal parties. I don’t do this type of contouring/highlight on photoshoots, films, and fashion show since they, more often than not, ask for a no-makeup makeup, so this type of highlight/contouring is too much.

What does highlighting and contouring do to your face?

  • Highlight – brings light to your face, emphasize the areas that you want to stand out more.
  • Contour – remove light, creating shadow and the illusion of depth.

Cream foundations allow for a more natural finish, and easier to blend. I feel that using cream product is more forgiving if you can blend it properly. However, if you prefer to do a powder contouring, I’ve done it in the Subtle Contouring/Highlighting/Blush post. If you like using a crayon concealer, check my L’oreal Super Blendable Craon Concealer highlight/contour tutorial.

Keep in mind for the contouring color, I chose a neutral shade (Cover FX N110). If you can’t find this foundation, you can use a cool-tone brown shade (i.e. a greyish brown). Try to avoid a reddish brown since it can get too warm on your face (esp. if you’re fair or light-skin), making it look more like a bronzer or tan, and your face can end up looking too orange-y.

I don’t usually use bronzer as contour as most of the bronzers in the market has too much shimmer, which can bring too much light on the face (counterproductive to contouring). However, if you do want to use bronzer as contour, I recommend a matte, cool-toned brown bronzer such as Benefit Hoola, Rimmel Natural Bronzer, Tarte Matte Waterproof Bronzer.

Below on the left side, I have nothing on my face except for MUFE HD Elixir. On the right side, I have full on makeup. As you can see, the contouring and highlighting created some definition on my face (i.e. nose and cheeks).contouring for round face

Products used:

  • Cover FX G40 cream foundation as base.
  • Cover FX G20 cream foundation as highlight.
  • Cover FX N110 cream foundation as contour.
  • Maybelline Master Glaze in Make a Mauve as blush.

Brushes used:

  • Base – Cover FX Cream Foundation brush.
  • Contouring – Sigma Precision Angled brush, Sigma Precision Round brush.
  • Highlight – Sigma Precision Round brush, Foundation brush.
  • Blush – Sephora Pro Airbrush Blush brush.

For Sigma Synthetic Kit brushes, please check my review on my Sigma Brushes review.


1. I applied MUFE HD Elixir all over my face as a primer.

2. Then, I applied Cover FX G40 cream foundation all over my face using Cover FX Cream Foundation brush.

how to contour face

3. I applied Cover FX N110 Cream Foundation on the side of my nose using Sigma Precision Angled Brush.

  • I usually started out by contouring my nose. As you can see, I have a button nose – flat on the bridge, with no definition.
  • I don’t start at the top (near my eyebrows) because I don’t want 2 straight lines going down my nose. I want to create  a very natural illusion of depth, since I have a flat nose.

4. I blended down the contour on the sides of my nose using Sigma Precision Round Brush.

learn how to contour face

5. Using Sigma Precision Angled Brush, I applied Cover FX N110 cream foundation on the hollows of the cheeks and on the side of my face.

  • You can also applied the foundation on your temple and forehead if you want. I skipped this since I don’t have much area on my forehead (in the picture it looks big, but trust me, I don’t have much space on my forehead).

6. I created an imaginary line from the top of my ear to the corner of my mouth, and drew it using the cream foundation. Using whatever was left on the brush, I applied the foundation on the side of my face.

  • When I smiled, I have this natural smile lines below my cheeks (’cause you know, I have chipmunk cheeks). I just used the lines as a guideline.

Contouring asian face

7. I pushed the cream foundation into my face using Cover FX Cream Foundation brush.

  • I pushed the foundation into my skin to blend it instead of using a brush and swirling it around my face. If you use a brush in a circular motion to blend it, you might disperse the product all over your face causing it to get dragged too low or too high on the face. I like to push the products into my face so the area is concentrated right on the hollow of my cheeks. This is just my preference, obviously.

8. I applied Cover FX G20 Cream Foundation using Sigma Precision Round Brush as highlight.

  • I applied it on the bridge of my nose, forehead, under my eyes, on cupid’s bow, chin, and below the contour of my cheeks.
  • You can also applied it under and above the brows, but I’ve done it when I did my eyebrows, so I skipped it at this moment. If you want to find out how, please check my How-to Fill Eyebrows post.

how to contour asian face

9. Using a clean foundation brush, I blended out the highlight.

10. I applied Maybelline Master Glaze in Make a Mauve on my cheeks using Sephora Pro Airbrush Blush Brush #54.

11. Set everything with powder if needed. I set my face using Cover FX loose translucent powder and powder brush.

12. On my lips, I applied Clinique Chubby Stick in Bountiful Blush.


One of my instructors in makeup school back then used to say remember BACON when creating highlight/blush/contour sequence. Highlight (fatty part) at the top of the cheeks, blush (meat part) on the cheeks, and contour (crispy part) on the hollows of the cheeks. So remember, BACON!

For the eye makeup, I’ll post the tutorial in couple days! 🙂

Disclaimer: some of the links provided above (i.e. Sigma Beauty) is an affiliated link. I will earn profit should you click on the link and buy products from Sigma Beauty. The monetary compensation from the link is used towards the maintenance of this website.

Subtle Highlight, Contour and Blush

I was asked to show how I do contouring by a few readers as well as my clients. So, I’m going to show you how I do highlight, contour and blush placement. For the eyes, please refer to my previous post Rosy for the tutorial.

I do contour differently depending on the shapes of the face, but in general, everyone always asked to get the hollows of the cheeks contoured, as well as nose (esp. for asians), and sometimes the jawlines. The idea of contouring is to make the facial structure looks sunken in. On the other hand, highlighting is all about making your feature stands out.

In this tutorial, my highlight/contour/blush technique used powder products. This is a very subtle way to contour/highlight/blush the face. If you want a heavier application, feel free to add more products.

Below is the Before and After photo.

contour and highlight asian

Just let me mention that this is NOT the only way to do highlight/contour/blush. There’s so many different version, you just have to play around and find what you like and which version you prefer. I might do a heavier contour/highlight/blush with cream products next week 🙂

Below is the “Before” photo with bare face.

how to contour

1. I applied moisturizer (Clinique Dramatically Moisturizing Gel) and face primer (Smashbox Foundation primer) all over my face before I started out.

tips: For mature and/or dry skin, I probably would choose to use a thicker moisturizer like the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Elizabeth Arden 8hr cream, or Embryolisse  etc to ensure that their skin gets enough hydration before foundation application.

For pictures below, please note that I only applied foundation, highlight, contour and blush on one side of my face (the left side on your screen). The other side is kept bare as a to highlight

2. I applied  YSL Touche Eclat in no. 1.5 on the places where I want my features to stand out: bridge of my nose, under the eyes, on top of the cheekbones, forehead, top of the brow, cupid’s bow and chin.

3. Using your finger/sponge/brush to feather the highlighter out and blend to the skin.

how to contour

4. Using the handle of a fan brush, I placed the brush underneath the cheekbone. You should be able to feel a hollow area under your cheekbones. The area where you want to contour is from your ear to just before the corner of your mouth.

5. Using MAC Shadowy pro powder and the face fan brush, I applied the contour right at the hollows of the cheeks towards the corner of the mouth. Stop your contour about 2-3 fingers away from the corner of your mouth.

6. Use whatever is left on the brush to be applied on the temples and jawline.

how to contour

7. I used a fluffy angled brush and MAC Shadowy powder to contour the side of the nose.

8. I placed the brush in the middle (see photo below), and swiped it down and up. Blend the line down to the side of the nose to remove any harsh line.

how to contour nose

9. Using Benefit Hervana blush, I applied it to my cheeks with a blush brush.

10. I applied the blush to the center of my cheeks without smiling so that the blush doesn’t get droopy. This will help to create an illusion of a higher cheekbone. This will benefit mature women to create a face lift and look to apply blush

Below is the side view of what we’ve done in the steps above. Keep the highlight/contour/blush at an angled to create an illusion of high cheekbones.

how to highlight

Below is the After photo with both sides of the face completed.

how to highlight