Contour and Highlight like Kim Kardashian: Tutorial

How to Contour and Highlight like Kim Kardashian

Whether you love her or hate her, I think we can all agree that Kim Kardashian’s face always looks flawless. Some of her makeup is over the top (her lashes are usually way too big and distract from the rest of her eye makeup), but I think we’d all like to be able to achieve the defined, sculpted face Kim is known for. Here’s a tutorial on contouring and highlighting with creams for those of you who have ever wondered how Kim goes from what you see below on the on the left (no makeup) to what you see on the right.

Contour and Highlight like Kim Kardashian

Using cream products to highlight and contour your face before you apply foundation builds dimension into the base of your makeup.  You get such a beautiful effect with this technique. Hard features are softened and vice versa for a really sculpted and feminine yet natural look.


    1. A cream highlight
      Some products to check out: Ben Nye MediaPRO Creme Highlights, MAC Pro Sculpting Cream in Accentuate (limited edition, still available)
    2. A cream contour
      Options include: Ben Nye MediaPRO Creme Shadows, MAC Pro Sculpting Cream (limited edition, still available), Tom Ford Beauty Shade & Illuminate (this comes with two shades, use the bottom one for contouring. The top shade has too much shimmer to use for this method of highlighting, but it looks amazing along the tops of your cheek bones)
    3. A cream concealer or full coverage foundation that matches your skin tone well
      Any foundation will work, but a full coverage cream concealer tends to work best for me. It won’t look heavy or caked on because you won’t need to apply very much.
    4. A basic foundation brush
      Whatever you have will work. I like this pointed foundation brush by Real Techniques.
    5. A damp sponge
      I’m obsessed with Beauty Blenders.

P.S. If you’d rather not buy products specifically made for contouring and highlighting, you can always use foundation. Get one several shades darker than your skin to contour with and one several shades lighter than your skin to highlight with. Just make sure there is a noticeable difference between the shade of your foundation and the shade of your highlight. If you’re pale like I am, it can be hard to find foundations light enough to act as a highlight.


Contour and Highlight like Kim Kardashian: Tutorial

  1. Use a foundation brush to place highlighter in the center of your face. Don’t worry about blending the product, just place it.  Use the photos above as a guide. Place highlighter: in an inverted triangle in the center of your forehead, in a line down the center of your nose, at the tip of your chin (but not below it), around your nose and mouth. Sweep product below each eye from the inner-corner toward the end of the eye brow, then extend in another inverted triangle toward the bottom of your nose.
  2. Clean your brush and use it to place (but don’t blend) cream contour on your jaw line, down the sides of your nose, beneath your cheek bones, and around the perimeter of your forehead.
  3. Pick up some concealer (or whatever you’re using as foundation) with a damp sponge. Bounce the sponge over each area on your face to blend the products. Pick up more concealer or foundation as necessary and make sure to keep the sponge damp — it shouldn’t be soaking wet.  If you feel your makeup looks unnatural or heavy, you’re not done with this step yet. Keep blending!
  4. Set with translucent powder, even if you normally skip this step. All these cream products need to be set.
  5. Finish your makeup however you want to!

Here’s a look I did using this technique to contour and highlight my face. The rest of the makeup is classic and simple, but I did use gigantic, Kim inspired lashes (it’s actually two pairs stacked). I’ll post a (scary) before picture too.

Contour and Highlight like Kim Kardashian: Tutorial


FACE: Ben Nye MediaPRO Creme Shadow in Neutral, Ben Nye MediaPRO Creme Highlight in Ivory, Benefit Boi-ing Industrial-Strength Concealer 01 Light, MAC Buff BlushKevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium, RCMA No Color setting powder

EYES: Smashbox trio in Vanilla, Champagne, Brazilian bronze (discontinued), Three Custom Color Light Clarifier Pencil, Mally Volumizing Mascara in black,  Eylure DL 205 lashes, Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash, Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Granite

LIPS: NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Plush Red, Illamasqua Sangers (reviewed here)


Contour and Highlight like Kim Kardashian: Tutorial


Interested in recreating Kim’s signature nude lip or smokey eyes? Read my reviews of Kardashian Beauty products (created by the Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe) here!

  • sam

    I don’t normally leave comments either but just tried this method and absolutely love it, used foundations as high lighter and contour and the ‘bouce’ blended them really well. Thanks :)

    • radiancereport

      I’m so glad this method worked for you! Thanks for commenting Sam!

  • Maria Fernanda Lima

    I normally don’t leave comments on blogs cause i’m lazy, but you deserve one. You explain how to do this contouring like no one else has… Showing different types of material do to so and you’re the only one that actually explains how to blend it properly. I’m at Dubai International Airport and thanks to you i’m going back to the duty free area and spend some serious cash in makeup. I’ll let you know how i go doing it myself. Thanks and congrats!

    • radiancereport

      That’s so great to hear, Maria! I used to have so much trouble adding cream products over foundation without just removing the first layer, so I’m so glad that this tutorial is helpful to you! So excited to hear which products you end up using!

  • radiancereport

    I like translucent powder because it sets cream products without adding any pigment (it won’t diminish the effect of highlights by making them appear darker for example). Any loose or pressed powder will work though!

  • sheila

    thank you! thats very helping..

  • Catherine

    This is a really great tutorial! I didn’t think to apply the cream contour etc before foundation. I apply foundation then apply contour, then blend. I may try it this round round:)

    • RadianceReport

      Thanks Catherine! For me, this way is a bit faster!

  • threecustom

    Thanks for using Three Custom Color!

    • radiancereport

      Three Custom Color is the best! Thanks!