The Difference Between Contouring and Bronzing

The Difference Between Contouring and Bronzing

the difference between contouring and bronzing
A lot of women use bronzer and contour products interchangeably, but they should be used totally differently! Here’s some info you might find helpful:

What’s the difference?

In short, contouring adds depth to the face and bronzing adds warmth or a glow. Both add dimension to the face (which can look flat after foundation application), but require different products and application techniques!

Choosing the right Shade

Contour products are meant to mimic shadows, so you want to look for something that leans more taupe or gray than brown.
Try: Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium is my holy grail contour shade because it has the perfect balance of red, gray, and brown. Ben Nye MediaPRO Creme Shadow in Neutral is a similar cream product (it’s also cheap!).

Bronzer is designed to give you a sun kissed look, so think about the shade your skin turns with a tan, or even a sun burn. Like most people, my skin turns red in the sun, so my favorite bronzers have red undertones, which are much harder to find than yellow-undertoned bronzers.
Try: Bare Minerals Faux Tan for a red-toned bronzer or Benefit Hoola for a yellow bronzer. NARS Laguna is a great shimmery yellow-toned option.


The places you apply your contour will appear to recede. You can use this technique to slim or minimize contoured areas while accentuating the high points of your face. Most people contour under their cheek bones, but you can also contour one or both sides of your nose, along your jawline, and around the perimeter of your forehead for a more defined or slimmer look. I also love to add a contour at my temples.

You should apply bronzer wherever the sun would naturally hit your skin: the tops of your cheeks (not under them like a contour), down the center of your nose, the top of your forehead, and maybe a little on end of your chin. And don’t overdo it!

Use a big soft brush to bronze and a smaller brush with more firmly packed bristles to contour (it can be angled or domed) and blend until you don’t see any harsh transitions! Try: I like to use a Real Techniques Blush Brush to bronze and a Real Techniques Contour Brush to contour.

Want to take your contour game to the next level? Learn how to do it like Kim Kardashian here!