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Can You Use Bronzer and Contour at the Same Time?

by Lorraine Jones


Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels


Every cosmetic in our bag of tricks has its purpose. The mystic powers of items such

as contour and bronzer can be transformative. When you think of a full face of makeup, these two products are always included in the lineup.

Bronzer melts on the skin to add warmth to your complexion. Spread this product over places on your skin where the sun naturally hits to achieve that sun-kissed and tan appeal. To create a wash of sunshine, blend bronzer to your nose, chin, temples, and cheekbones to create that natural glow. Typically a shimmer powder, these flesh tones are often used for a ‘natural’ makeup look by giving the illusion of sunshine hitting your face.

On the other hand, contouring your face has the opposite effect. Break out the contour for a more dramatic look. Although the use of this popular cosmetic can be intimidating, when done correctly, a star is born. Contour is used to sculpt your face, adding depth and definition to the structure of your shape. This method of beauty creates dimensions and symmetry. Typically cool-toned matte items, contour slims the face, sharpening under the cheeks, chin, and jawline by creating the illusion of your natural shadows. By drawing strategically placed shades slightly lighter and darker than your natural skin tone on your canvas, you create the illusion of shadow and light effects, highlighting specific features. Contouring can differ depending on your face shape and skin tone but still gives off the same Hollywood glam aesthetic.

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When selecting a shade of contour and bronzer, use a shade darker than your complexion.

An ideal contour would be two shades darker than your foundation base and one shade lighter than your highlight. “Contour and bronzer are great for all skin tones. The more pigment you have in the skin the less you would need either one. Pigmented skin already has a sun-kissed look and if you have very dark pigmented skin, highlighting can be used to contour as your natural skin tone can be used as a contour,” said Theresa Novicky, a makeup artist of ten years and licensed esthetician out of Raleigh, NC.

One of the main downfalls of makeup is knowing how much is too much. No one wants caked-on makeup that’ll draw in the wrong kinds of looks from people. So, can you use bronzer and contour at the same time? Although these two beauty techniques have different purposes and won't interfere with each other if done with proper technique, both of these products can exist cohesively in the same soft natural or dramatic glam look. “It is a great idea to use bronzer and contour at the same time. If done well, the combination creates a flawless-looking complexion. Contour before using bronzer, and don't overdo it,” said David Gray, beauty expert, and owner of Talking Tan. If done correctly, both products can be used simultaneously to achieve gorgeous skin while still having a natural look appeal.

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Novicky recommends using a cream contour with a powder bronzer on top if incorporating both beauty trends into your makeup look. “I love to use a concealer for contouring. I like to use Maybelline instant age rewind, I’d use a shade two to three shades darker than your skin tone. As far as a powder contour, I would use ABH. I love benefit cosmetics powder bronzer. A great drug store option is Milani Baked Bronzer or Butter Bronzer by Physicians formula,” said the beauty guru Theresa Novicky. Another top recommended bronzer is the Liz Rettiz Cosmetics Face and Body Bronzer.

When mixing and applying such a complex array of makeup, a proactive skincare lineup is essential when maintaining the state of such an important canvas. “You can have a good skincare routine by having the bare minimum essentials: cleanse, tone (not an astringent as it shouldn’t have alcohol), moisturize, and apply SPF daily. A good skincare routine will help the makeup look better and apply better,” said Novicky. A good base to start with makes all the difference.

Contour and bronzer are staples to any full face. These powerhouse duos are by no means mutually exclusive. The most important thing with makeup is to not overdo it. Be generous but concise with your cosmetics. Be mindful of your application and pin down the perfect brands and shade for the job.

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