What is the difference between bronzer and contour?
Let us be honest: we may use the words (and the products!) all the time, but sometimes we do not really know what they effectively mean. Bronzer and contour. Two makeup products or interchangeable ones? It is time we find out for good and then possibly go on pretending we had always known. Are you ready?
Well, let us start by saying that the two makeup applications are entirely different techniques and that not all the bronzing products can be used to contour and not all the contouring products can be used to bronze your face. Many tend to do so but the results are often not ideal. Now let us have a look at why that is happening.
What is bronzer?
It is not completely wrong to assume that bronzing and contouring are the same makeup techniques after all, as both tend to add depth to a makeup look and, thus, they do – sort of – aim at achieving the same effects.
What does a bronzer optically do to your face? Bronzing warms up your face, adding darker shades of colour where the sun would normally do naturally. The technique is supposed to create a natural-looking warmth rather than shadows. If done properly, bronzing is making your skin look as if it has just been sun-kissed while on a tropical getaway.
What is contour?
Contouring is a makeup artist’s favourite and a nowadays’ trend that seem to never cease to get out of style. The main purpose of contouring is adding structure and shadows to your face with the makeup. The contouring products are applied to specific areas of the face to create the illusion of a more defined face shape. Contouring can be used to draw a sharper jawline, a narrower-looking nose or more prominent cheekbones and it greatly varies depending on the face shape and what we would like to accentuate.
Applying bronzer vs contouring: the main differences
Now let us have a look at the different two techniques and see what steps we need to follow to create the best effects for both.
1. Applying bronzer
First of all, pick a bronzer that is at least two shades darker than your skin tone: remember that you are trying to give yourself a natural-looking tan effect!
To apply the product, you can use a damp sponge blender for cream or liquid products, while you should opt for a fluffy brush for powders.
When applying bronzer, a little tip is just to remember to accentuate the areas where the sun would hit your face the most and then follow all those lines. Start from the temples and connect them by sweeping along your hairline. Then, twirl your bronzer applicator of choice on the apples of your cheeks out to the corners of your face and then blend them thoroughly and in circular motions. Do not forget that the bronzing technique varies depending on your face shape!
Do not forget that the best way to finish your bronzing technique application is with blush. A blush gives colour to your cheeks and helps complete the natural, flushed effect you would really like to go for. You may want to try our super handy compact bronzer and blush palette!
Applying contour means giving structure to your face, so how you do it really depends on your face shape, on what you want to emphasise and what you try to minimise.
The contour product of choice should also be a couple of shades darker than your skin tone and you could use a damp sponge blender that would work perfectly for liquid or contour wet&dry products, while a contour brush works miracles when applying powders.
When it comes to contour, we can suggest a couple of products that would perfectly suit you needs:
• the contouring palette, offering a soft texture that builds and blends easily for looks ranging from natural to intense. A practical, comfortable application for an instant colour payoff;
• the sculpting cream stick, that is, a contouring stick with a matte finish whose soft and creamy texture ensures great coverage and excellent blending potential. It is pleasing to the touch; application is easy and precise. The product enables you to sculpt the face, creating plays of light and shadow.
You will mainly need to emphasise (or minimise) three areas of your face: the forehead, the jawline and the cheekbones. Let us start with the forehead: you should apply the product on your temples or hairline depending on your face shape. Then, sweep the product on the hollows of your cheekbone to give them more definition. Finally, you would contour your jawline by swiping the product just along the edge of your jawline in a forward motion.
Once you have finished contouring it is when the fun part begins! It is time to blend those lines seamlessly into your face and with the other products.
For more tips, read our complete contouring guide!
Hightlighting: yet another technique?
And what about highlighting? How does it differ from contouring? Well, while contouring is all about using shadows to create the effect of shadows and to add definition and structure, highlighting helps liven up your face and tends to mimic what the glow a light – like that of the sun – would shine on your face.
Also, most of the times, due to the different results the products aim to achieve, the contouring products tend to have a matte finish, while the highlighters often contain a bit of shimmer.
The two techniques are definitely not mutually exclusive: contouring makes part of your face stand out or look slimmer and more structured while highlighters accentuate the existing glow on of your skin.
Make sure you pick a highlighter, like our highlighter powder, that create a both soft and gliding touch to your skin.
To conclude, it is important for you to know that contouring and bronzing are two different techniques and may involve different products. Once you have found what suits you, your face shape and the occasion the most, follow our useful tips to make sure you achieve the best result possible!