September 3, 2014

How to H.A.C.

H.A.C.= Highlight & Contour! Highlighting and contouring is a great way to enhance some of your best features. The goal is to make your cheekbones pop, slim your nose and subtly sculpt and bring slight to your face. Here are 9 tips and tricks to successfully H.A.C. your face without painting on an entirely new one!

1. Use the Right Products
For proper HAC-ing, all you need is a matte bronzer and a highlighter. Creams are great because they have a more natural finish and you can use your fingers, but many of us are more comfortable with powders. If you go with a powder, pick a sheer formula for less harsh lines. Feel free to use either cream or powder, but make sure all of the face products you use are the same formula so that they blend seamlessly and don't look cakey. 

2. Don't Use Glitter!
Highlights should not contain noticeable glitter, as it looks chalky and unnatural. They should be close to the color of your skin with a touch of luminosity. Pearly shades work well for fair skin, while a warm golden highlight will make medium and dark complexions glow. Another highlighting tip is to try liquid highlighters as they mimic the skin's texture to look more natural.

3. Tailor to Your Skin Tone
If you're fair-skinned, stick with a bronzing shade that's just one shade darker than your skin tone. Anything that contrasts your skin color too much will look obvious. Another tip for pale skin is to find formulas with a grayish undertone instead of bronzers that are too orange or red. 

4. Get the Right Tools
For cream formulas, use your fingers. The product will warm up and melt in your hand which will make it blend easily into the skin. With powders, try to find a fan shaped brush with soft, natural bristles. The fan shape is perfect for correct placement of highlighters and bronzers, and a brush that's too dense can pack on too much product and make you look overdone. 

5. Know Where to Shade
One of the biggest goals of contouring is to make your cheekbones look exaggerated. To do this, suck in your cheeks to find the hollows, then blend the bronzer from the tops of the hollows inward, stopping about one inch from the corners of your mouth. Another popular way to contour is to slim the nose by blending two lines of bronzer from the start of your brows down the sides of the bridge of your nose with either your fingers or a small shadow brush.

6. Highlight Sparingly
The purpose of highlighting is to bring light to certain areas of the face, but it shouldn't be used everywhere. It should be used lightly along the tops of your cheekbones, above the cupids bow, under the brow bone, on the inner corners of your eyes, and on the tip of your nose. 

7. Know Your Face Shape
It's important to know what your face shape is and how to HAC accordingly. For round faces, contour under the cheekbones to make the cheeks look smaller. Narrow faces should instead shade along the top of the forehead and slightly on the chin to soften the angles and round out the face.

8. Don't Forget Blush!
While blush isn't part of highlighting and contouring, per say, it's important for brightening the skin tone and keep you from looking like a vampire. Fair skins pair well with soft peaches and pinks, and soft plum looks great on darker complexions. Avoid super-bright blushes as this can look unnaturally doll-like. 

One of the top rules in makeup application, blending is an important thing to remember when highlighting and contouring. Blending can soften harsh lines from too much product and really work the product into your skin. 

Going for the glamorous Kim Kardashian contour? Check out this video from GossMakeupArtist that shows you exactly how to do it!

Lastly, here a few awesome, inexpensive products to try that are great for HAC-ing!

Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Bronzer ($8)

NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator ($8)

Revlon Photo Ready Cream Blush, Pinched ($10)

Maybelline Dream Sun Bronzing Powder ($5)

Covergirl Clean Glow Blush ($7)