The Art of Shade and Highlight

Happy Friday Warpainters!

As the saying goes ‘It never rains but it pours’ This so is true at the moment, not only with our current glorious wet weather but with life in general. Things have been really hectic lately between my work and my fitness goals, hence why I’ve found it hard to find any time to even switch on the laptop and blog let alone get any time for some makeup play. So today I decided to root through my makeup kit during some downtime, practise some contour and highlighting before we head into the Jazz Weekend and create and blog a look suitable for any Jazzers, including myself!! This is what I call very rare ‘me’ time! Be prepared to see me ‘Au Naturale’ people!!!


^^^Everyone knows Kimmy K’s now famous highlight selfie^^^

This has been done time and time again by bloggers and makeup enthusiasts alike so I’m not trying to bust out any AMAZING new tips and techniques for you, it’s all been covered before. I, like you all am intrigued by this extensive contouring and highlighting and I was curious to try out this more detailed version. I’ve watched many tutorials on different techniques and the majority agree that cream products work best for seamless blending and most concur that powder products for this type of C&H can ‘dirty’ quite easily. In my usual makeovers, I use powders to shade, highlight and blush but product placement is more delicate and applied over liquid foundation ( a softer look overall). So, here goes……

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^^^Moi, ‘Au Naturale’ as pre warned. I used Studio Moisture Fix Lotion to moisturise and a mix of two Prep & Prime Fortified Skin Enhancers in Adjust (on the left – used around the outside of my face to even out the tone of my skin) and Illuminate (on the right – a slightly more lilac tone used around the inner plains of the face to brighten my skin)^^^

A good base is the first building block to a beautiful glowing skin so prep your skin well. I always teach clients to moisturise well, push the product into the skin so that it feels plump, ripe and doesn’t leave a film on the skin. It’s basically like giving your skin a mini facial. Then leave a minute or two breathing time before your primers. Now for the purposes of this tutorial I experimented with some of MAC’s Fortified Skin Enhancers which help to colour correct, illuminate and adjust the tone of the skin. I should have taken a picture previous to putting these on because they make quite a difference to my skin on their own!!

Ok, before I tackle the warpaint stage a few words of warning. I have found through research and through practising this myself that cream concealers can sit heavier on the skin so if this is a look you like to wear then that’s great, but I’m not really a fan of my skin looking so heavy so I will be holding this cream concealer look back for nights out and special occasions such as the upcoming Jazz weekend. Now for more everyday use, I do have a link at the end of my page to a tutorial by MAC Director of Artistry and makeup genius Terry Barber on contouring and highlighting with MAC Studio Sculpt Cream Gel Foundations which despite having a thick consistency definitely sit on the skin more naturally and give the skin a much dewier glow (hence their popularity among makeup artists at Fashion Weeks worldwide).

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^^^Waahey, check out crazy face!! Ok, on the left I used 3 different tones of concealer to shade, tone and highlight my face (NW35 to contour, NW25 to tone – this is a shade I use daily and NW15 to highlight). In the middle photo you can see I applied the dark tone to the naturally darker areas of the face and the lightest shade to the areas of natural highlight. One the right I then blended the two colours together with the toner shade and gently blended out the darker shades blurring any harsh lines^^^

So how do I choose shades? I have a peach undertone to my skin (that’s the professional way of saying I’m the proud owner of a big red face) so, in terms of MAC foundations, I am a Neutral Warm or NW tone. For those with a golden tone to their skin, in MAC terms they would be a Neutral Cool of NC tone. The tone of your skin fluctuates with the seasons or with your bottle of fake tan 🙂 , so the colour of your skin will darken with tan and so should your foundation. For today, because I don’t have much tan on so I’m using the tone NW25 as my normal foundation colour and NW15 to highlight and NW35 to contour. The concealer palettes that you see above are unfortunately from a MAC Pro store (can’t be purchased in Cork but they may be available in Dublin) but the colours can be purchased in individual pots in any MAC store, just pop into MAC Cork and ask the gang to recommend corresponding colours in Studio Finish Concealers.

As you can see from the pictures above I used the contour and Highlight concealers to block out the main areas of the face. I did this using a MAC #190 foundation Face brush. Once that’s done I used a MAC #188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush to blend in the third tone (my actual foundation colour NW25) and work out all the harsh lines or blur the lines between the darker and lighter shades!

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^^^After applying my base I use Studio Careblend Powder to lightly powder and set the concealer and apply Painterly Paint Pot all over my lid from the lash line to the brow. I then begin to shade my socket line with a skin tone eyeshadow called Wedge available from MAC^^^

So once your base is blended set it with your choice of powder. I love Studio Careblend Powder by MAC and I used Medium Dark, it doesn’t feel heavy, it doesn’t contain talc (talc whitens the face when a camera flash is used) and is a great compact to carry with you throughout the day for topping up with. Next, I used a Paint Pot as an eyeshadow base before applying my powder eyeshadows. These Prolong Wear Paint Pots are fantastic for providing longevity to eyeshadow and prohibit creasing (I swear by them!!!) Once all bases were applied I went to work on ‘contouring’ my eyes by basically using a skin tone shade of shadow called Wedge and a MAC #217 Blending Eye Brush and I blended from the outer corner of the eye up and around to about half way.

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^^^On the left, apply a matte cream or nearly white eyeshadow like Vanilla from MAC. Then its straight to the brows. For defined brows synonymous with a Pin-up look or a vintage look, I use a darker shade of brow pencil called Strut which has an auburn tint for redheads. On the right is the finished brows (another tip is to clean up the shape afterwards is to trace lightly around the brow with some of the NW25 concealer and a flat concealer brush)^^^

Matte texture eyeshadows stand out more hence why makeup artists favour them in a lot of applications. They also help open the eye and are great for a vintage look. For brows, if you want a softer look powders are great. Some good and reasonable brow kits and pencils are available from Essence and Catrice cosmetics. The brush in the picture is a #208 Brow Brush also from MAC and the brow brush is fab for softening and teasing the colour out and extending the brow down.

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^^^If you want to stop here, I’ve just added liquid liner, a few layers of mascara, soft pink blush and a clear lipgloss/lip balm^^^

At this point, if you want to keep the look soft follow these steps. I applied a few layers of MAC Prep and Prime Lash which is a white mascara-esque cream that contains long and short fibres. These fibres attach to the natural lash and once you’ve left the cream to dry, you can apply your favourite mascara over it. The mascara grabs the fibres as well and gives the illusion of thicker, longer, fuller lashes. I think this product is a must have for anyone who feels their lashes need body and volume. I swear by it!! After that, I applied liquid eyeliner (I use gel liner – Blacktrack from MAC). I’ll save my description of applying liquid liner for another tutorial! Add some clear gloss or lip balm and a soft pink blush and you’re good to go!!

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^^^So to add that bit of Jazzy fun to the look, I finished it off with some Cherry Pencil and drew in the entire lip with the pencil^^^

Finishing off the look, I added lip liner. A sharp pencil is essential to ensure a sharp outline and draw in the entire lip in with Cherry liner. I actually left it like this and didn’t apply any lipstick. I sometimes find the liner lasts longer and its easier to reapply. To amp up this look, add false lashes or if you are fearful of red lips go for a strong pink which modernizes the look!

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                                             ^^^ Et Voila!! There you have it! The finished product!^^^

So that’s that! What did I find out from today? It takes aaaaages to do all that, take pictures, put everything in the right order and then blog about it HA! But in fairness, looking at the pictures, I like the results and there are subtle differences I’d notice compared with my usual application especially with the light directly on my face in the last ones! (you can see now why Kimmy K always has her face chiselled to perfection if she’s being papped 24/7) It’s worth having a practise if you have the time but if you don’t, you know where I am!!

To conclude, cheers to all you Warpainters who stuck it through and read everything *Gold Stars* to you and I hope you enjoyed it. I, myself am extremely proud I managed to type this entire piece out seeing as I can barely move my arms after yesterdays Personal Training session with Ian at Womens Fitness Plus but that is another blog piece entirely! Watch this space y’all!

Have a fab Jazz weekend and don’t forget your brollies,


P.S. Here’s that link to Terry Barbers tutorial on The Natural Lift xx

2 thoughts on “The Art of Shade and Highlight

  1. Stephanie says:

    Once again Jennifer this is amazing. I’m starting to feel like a crazy stalker at this stage lol. Keep up the good work can’t wait to try this out


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