How to Contour and Highlight Dark Skin


If you want your makeup to look its ultimate best, you need to do some serious highlighting and contouring especially if you have dark skin. Indeed, it’s amazing how, with just a few makeup products, you can instantly change the way your face looks. You can go from looking so-so to looking elegant in just a matter of minutes.

Before and After of a dark skin model

how to Contour Highlight Dark Skin

While there are tons of transcripts and video tutorials detailing how to perfect contouring and highlighting, unfortunately, many of these fail to address the question of how to contour and highlight the face of women with darker skin. Perhaps it’s because finding an appropriate contour color is somewhat difficult. Moreover, most highlighters are often too light and applying it on the dark skin would seem awkward.

Nevertheless, here are some tips on how to make the process of contouring and highlighting dark skin easier:


1. Choose a contour shade that is two shades darker than your base color. If you don’t have an actual contour powder you can temporarily try a dark taupe or brown eye shadow or even a dark bronzer. Eventually after a few practice you can use an actual contour powder / cream.

2. Swirl an applicator brush in the product but make sure to shake off excess powder. The last thing you want is to apply too much of the contour color and end up with dirty looking skin.

3. Next, imagine a line from the top of your ear to the corner of your mouth.

4. Determine the midway point; you would have had a perfect line by then.

5. Suck in the insides of your cheeks; this is the fish face technique. You would notice hollows on your cheeks. Start dusting on the contour color on the most prominent point of the hollow and blend upwards.

how to Contour Highlight Dark Skin

6. Carefully swipe a small amount of the contour powder using a medium angle brush from the temple area making your way down the jaw area.

7. Then glide a small angled tip brush on the sides of your nose to create accentuation on the bridge of your nose. Use a blending brush to blend away any harsh smudges.

how to Contour Highlight Dark Skin

Now you have a visibly slim and more angular face.


1. Golden on Silvery tone works well on dark skin as a highlighter.

2. The areas to apply highlighting are: the top of your cheekbones, under your eyebrows, and on your Cupid’s bow (that sexy curve on your upper lip). That way, you’re practically enhancing your face’s natural structure.

how to Contour Highlight Dark Skin

The photo above gives an example of the 3 areas that you can add eyeshadow to make your eyes pop. Adding highlights under your eyebrow and outer corner of your inner eye is the best area while adding a neutral shade in the middle is recommended.

The photo below is an example of a beautiful look achieved with contouring and highlighting.

how to Contour Highlight Dark Skin

If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to let me know. Until next time! xox

You might be interested to read: ❝ How to Contour and Highlight Fair Skin

7 Responses
  • Dhadha
    August 24, 2013

    Even if I always see / hear the term ‘contour’ whenever I read / watch videos of makeup tutz on Youtube, I don’t really know it’s exact meaning. LOL. Napasearch agad ako kay Google ng meaning. Hahaha. Anyway, contouring is kind of cool pala cause it enhances an existing feature on your face. 🙂

  • Chubskulit Rose
    September 4, 2013

    It’s amazing how makeup can make our skin look so flawless!

  • Marms
    September 5, 2013

    It’s pretty neat. I like the facial shape of the model.

  • mommy Peachy
    September 8, 2013

    It’s amazing what make-up and contouring can do for one’s looks!

  • Lovegoddess10
    May 3, 2014


    Great work! What color lipstick is she wearing in the after shot?

  • meble dziecięce
    June 11, 2014

    Very good article. I really find your post very helpful.

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