Creating a Stylish (Yet, Practical) Contour and Highlight

How to turn BOLD looks seen on social media into ready-to-wear makeup for your everyday routine.

Are you having a hard time transitioning what you’ve seen on Instagram – hello, filters – to a look you feel comfortable wearing? In a time where viral vloggers are constantly giving makeup tips that require bold eyes and dark lips, heavy contouring lines and bright highlights to accentuate the face, you may feel the looks are a bit too much for you. Well, you are not alone!  

A simple Google search for, “Makeup Tips” will yield over 4 million video results, but many of the most popular ones seem to go a little heavy-handed for your everyday wear. According to Tangerine Stylist, and professional Makeup Artist, John Ball, girls are trying to mimic the exact looks they are seeing on YouTube and Snapchat from some leading vloggers, which is causing them to go way too heavy with their own makeup. Luckily, he has taken the time to give some expert tips at how to achieve a flawless look and still look daytime practical.  

One issue John often sees from social media inspired looks is the use of so many “attention grabbing” tricks, bold EVERYTHING. While this can sometimes work for evening looks or even in small doses during the day, he believes a more natural appearance is much more in-tune with what high fashion is bringing to the runways.  

contour and highlight makeup tutorial

John says that he likes to see a very natural, yet polished look in day-to-day makeup, which means not drawing too much attention to any one space. He suggests a very subtle palette of colors to deliver a smoky eye and restricted lip, enhancing natural features. His favorite product to finish this natural look off is Aveda’s Petal Essence™ Face Accents, which should be applied lightly to the apples of the cheeks, giving a slight glow to your appearance.  

A pro tip he gives is if you want to transition this look into more of an evening/night look or if you just need a bit more spice in your everyday look, simply pick one aspect to accentuate. You can jazz up the lips OR the eyes and achieve a more edgy, yet put-together look. Don’t be afraid to utilize a seasonal makeup trend and go for a bold lip in shades of crimson red, orange, or oxblood to draw attention to your pout. Or keep a neutral lip and play around with your eyeshadow. When utilizing color on the eye, make sure the colored shadows used aren't too bright. If you are unsure of how to apply it, remember that keeping the intensity of the color near the lash line is always a safe way to experiment and still give a more fun feel to your look.  

These viral trends are not just for the teens and early 20-somethings; John Ball has seen several clients 40 and over who come in wanting to copy some aspect of a makeup style they have seen online, but don’t know where to begin. His biggest tip for them is to avoid the harsh lines and creams used in many contouring tutorials, instead, opting for sheer washes applied with big fluffy makeup brushes to mimic the same strokes you see in the videos. This will still allow you to achieve the face-changing appearance of a heavy contour without giving you an aged look.   

Another secret to a youthful appearance is opening up the eyes! You can use Aveda’s Petal Essence™ Illumination Eyeshadow in the corners of your eyes to visually open the eye. Then fill in your brow with the Gobi Sands Eye Color Trio by using the transformer with the angled liner brush to fill in areas of the brow that needed more depth. By doing this, you create a more youthful looking eye, which in turn will liven up the face and add a sparkle to your look.

contour and highlight makeup dallas

Speaking of the eyes and brows, John Ball says that should be the most crucial part of any makeup routine.   “If you focus on the eyes, you can really wake up the face, without having to use too much makeup everywhere else.”  By simply dressing up the eye area, you can give off a polished look, without appearing as if you are trying too hard. If your eyebrows and lashes appear full, you automatically look like you are ready to take on the world. If you really work both of those, you do not have to rely on heavy makeup anywhere else to draw attention to you.  

Aveda has a new product coming in Fall that is meant to help grow out your lashes and brows; John highly recommends it for everyone. Another pro tip he wants to make sure everyone hears is that every brow is different. There is not a universal way for filling in your brow; pay attention to your natural hair growth in the brow area, taking note of the darker, thicker areas, and work to match those as you fill-in and shade.  

“Like with accessories, less is more. You do not need bold eyes, a bold lip, and drastic contouring all on the same face.”  

While using many techniques you see in online tutorials, John makes sure to keep his hand light and to not darken too much. – Pro Tip: a velour powder puff is a great tool to keep handy to buff and blend away any harsh lines or soften blush applied too heavily. – His motto for day-to-day makeup is that you should see the girl before you see the makeup. If you are looking for more tips by John Ball and the other stylists and makeup artists at Tangerine Salon, be sure to check out the newly launched Tangerine YouTube Channel.

This blog post was written in collaboration with Jerett Walters.

jarett walters dallas blogger

"If you love what you do, it won't feel like work, and I have been fortunate enough to turn my passion for writing into a career. As a copywriter and blogger, nothing is more rewarding than getting to use your words to promote brands and messages that you care about. Being asked to work with a company like Tangerine is one such honor for me. As a longtime client, I have always admired the business practices of this organization and their dedication to excellence."