Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mini Contour/Highlight Tutorial with NARS Multiples

I remember a few milestones in my makeup-loving life. The first one was when I was finally satisfied with my way of drawing a natural eye brow (took a couple of years) and the second was when I figured out what contouring entailed. Before that, the word "contouring" itself was so daunting because I didn't know what it meant. I was watching video tutorials of people sweeping bronzers "in the shape of a 3" around the sides of their faces, but I never knew why they were doing what they did, only that they did it to "look better/slimmer." 

It was a long time before I understood that contouring was about mimicking the (most flattering) way light would fall on your face. Since I recently acquired three NARS Multiples in hues that were made for this purpose, I thought it might be helpful if I demonstrated how I've been using them as a cheek contour/highlight. 

Products used:
  • Eyes: NARS Grand Palais Duo, Chanel Le Crayon Yeux in Berry, Maybelline Volum'Express The Falsies Flared in Very Black

Here's how I look after applying Peau Vierge and shading in my eye brows, just to demonstrate that I really have no color on my face.

To find out where to apply the contour color, suck in your cheeks like in the picture below. Use a stiff brush to pick up the color and apply it in even strokes following the line where your cheeks sink in. 

My best friend calls this the Dory face

Note: I applied it extra dark on the image above to show you approximately where the colors should go. That is not the amount I used.

Your contour should look barely noticeable, like a shadow below your cheekbones. If you find your lines are too harsh, soften it by blending with your finger.

Next, use a finger to dab Maui onto the apples of the cheeks and bring it all the way to your hairline. The placement of the blush color should be right on top of your contour color. Be careful while applying so as to not blend away your existing contour color.

Finally, with a clean finger, dab Luxor onto the top of your cheekbones (generally this will be just above where you placed the blush color) and once again, bring it into the hairline.

The idea of contouring is playing with light and shadow to accentuate your features. That's why you're literally trying to create "light" and "shadow" above and below the cheekbones, to mimic the way light would fall (in the most flattering way) on the face.

Finish up the rest of your face with eyeshadow/liner/mascara and lip color of your choice. 

I applied two very different lip colors just to show you how drastically the color of your lips can affect a look.

Burberry Lip Mist in Feather Pink

NARS Train Bleu Matte Velvet Lip Pencil

I love the stark contrast of the dark lip paired with nude hues.

If you don't own or don't like the Multiples, you can always substitute them with other products in the same color family. Remember to make sure your contour color is not more than one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone.

NARS relaunched their website a few days ago and is offering $20 off any $100 purchase for an unspecified period of time. Head on to and enter code "NewWebsite" during checkout to receive the discount. You also get to enjoy free shipping on any order, no code required.


  1. Everyone makes it look so simple (especially you!), but I haven't gotten this technique down yet.. (ashamed). I love the photo of you with just contour and your bangs framing your face. So pretty. ^^

  2. Thanks for sharing this~ you look lovely. ^^

    I still am new to the whole contouring idea, but I think with practice and the right shade of bronzer for my skin tone...I'll eventually get it!

  3. I have just discovered your blog and... God I love it! I'll be following you!!! Thanks so much for this beautiful site!

  4. Great post! Really love how you show the products in action!

  5. Gorgeous and great tutorial. Thanks!

  6. This is just stunning with the deep lip color!

  7. Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! Love your pucker face and loving The Burberry lipstick on you! Great tutorial!

  8. Wow, awesome tutorial. I've never quite understood how the contouring thing works. Also, the Train Bleu looks very striking on you.

  9. Very useful tutorial if I could just get past Step 1 without looking like I fell face down in a mud puddle :P Practice makes perfect I guess :) Thanks for the tips!

  10. I am so happy I stumbled across KarlaSugar's link to your blog. Xiao, you are absolutely stunning--were you/are you a model? I love your sense of fashion and the detailed photos you take. I've added you to my reading list and GoogleFriendConnect--looking forward to reading more from you!

  11. @reene Thank you! :) I know the adage is overused, but practice does make perfect. I took over two years to learn how to draw my eyebrows and I'm still not entirely satisfied!

    @tiffyama thank you, and yes! I think once you get the hang of it you'll love doing it :)

    @Material Girl Thank YOU for your lovely words!

    @productdoctor thanks :)

    @Alex Kay Thank you!

    @Martha Thank you! I wish it didn't apply so patchy on my lips, though :(

    @PerilouslyPale Hahaha! Not one tutorial goes by without me making weird faces <3

    @Kit Thank you! It's actually quite interesting. If you study portrait pictures, you can see where the light/shadow falls on the face. It's a similar concept

    @Paris B omg hi! I read My Women Stuff - honored you came for a visit :)

    @Dame Durden Thank you for your kind words and for following me! I'm not a model (if only, though :P)

  12. What a great look! Thanks for the tutorial.

  13. That deep lip color is amazing on you! I can never seem to contour correctly- it always looks wrong on me- you make it look so easy. I will refer back to your tutorial. Great blog you have here. ;P

  14. Thank you for this so much. I just happened to be perusing BestThingsInBeauty this afternoon, and she recommended we read your site here. So, I'm "new" to you ... but I'm HOOKED!! You're wonderfully beautiful and I look forward to more ... xo Beth in Pgh ;-)

  15. @makeup merriment thank you! I hope my tutorial helps :)

    @Jamilla Camel dark lips usually does it!

    @lizzybee Aww thank YOU! Welcome to Messy Wands and I hope you enjoy reading!

  16. Okay, you are officially the most beautiful beauty blogger out there. : ) Keep the tutorials coming, I love how you wear your makeup.

  17. @Emily Thank you for your mighty kind words! :)

  18. Beautiful tutorial. I rarely see bloggers break it down this clearly, with gorgeous photos to boot.

    I've always preferred powder products for my contour & highlighting, but this summer I discovered the beauty of creams: Tarte Sunkissed for contour, and NARS South Beach for the highlight. The ease of working with these sticks is astonishing!

  19. Thank you for such clear pictures and thorough explanations! :)

    I have a question: Whenever I use the Peau Vierge in shade 2, my face looks a little too glowy for my taste. Any suggestions for making it look natural?

  20. Excellent tutorial! I have looked at the Multiple in St. Barts, but feared it would come off as too doesn't appear so in your pictures. I wonder if Copacabana would work as well for a highlight as Luxor appears to. Hmmm. Nice work!

  21. HI
    I am looking at the Nars Multiples
    You Used St Barts- I was looking at getting Laguna- Any suggestions

  22. Train Bleu looks absolutely enchanting on you! I just tried it in store yesterday and purchased it online today. I think it is absolutely gorgeous however all the swatches I've seen online of it are way too light! This is the only one that is identical to how it actually looked. I love the nude and dark lip contrast, fantastic!

  23. This is super useful! I'm definitely going to integrate this - currently I just WING IT!


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