Your face over 40: How to contour and highlight with expert ease

Do you follow the latest make-up trends?

Image from my masterclass – The Beauty Club

Post written by Leanne Perilly

If you’re over 40, this can sometimes feel a little bit tricky.  How do you know which are the ‘right’ trends to follow?  You might be worried about looking silly, or as though you’re trying hard to appear younger than you are.

Contouring and highlighting is a case in point.  Should you bother trying to sculpt the perfect Kate Moss-esque cheekbones, or just leave all that to the youngsters? After all, contouring and highlighting can seem scary if you’ve never attempted them before.  They are fairly recent sculpting techniques that would not have been part of a staple make-up routine for somebody aged over 40.  Meanwhile, teenagers and women in their 20s and 30s seem to perfect it with ease.

However, don’t let any of that put you off!   

Contouring and highlighting are make-up skills that anybody can use and enjoy, regardless of age.  When applied well, they have the power to enhance any face, and the good news is that there are just a few simple rules to follow.

But first: why should you consider contouring and highlighting your face at all?

Our facial contours change naturally as we age.  You might have noticed a slight loss of fullness, particularly in your cheeks – in fact, your cheekbones may even appear more clearly defined than they did when you were in your 20s.  Done properly, contouring and highlighting will subtly alter the shape and dimensions of your face, to work in harmony with these natural changes.

I always recommend softer make-up looks for my clients who are over 40, and sculpting techniques are no different.  Less is almost always more, which means that powder products will need to be lighter and sheerer in both texture and colour to achieve the very best results.

We all tend to lose pigment as we age, which makes our skin appear duller and more pale.  Adding a touch of warmth to your face can make a real difference, and I will often begin with a matte bronzer, such as Benefit’s Hoola.

(While some bronzers may not be packaged specifically as a contouring product, most can do a very effective two-in-one job as a bronzer and a contourer…because there’s no reason why your products can’t work as hard as you do!)

Be wary of products that are too dark and/or heavy in texture, including cream or stick-type contourers.  These will not only require much more blending, but they can also over-emphasise the cheekbones, with the effect that you look gaunt.

Instead, I like to softly apply contouring powder or bronzer to the sides of the forehead, as well as under the cheekbones, to add a little warmth, glow and softness.

You should apply your chosen product with a soft and precise tool, such as a pointed brush, which will both contour and blend.  Remember, we’re not looking to apply brash stripes of product here.  We want soft curves which will ‘cup’ the cheekbones and softly sculpt the face.

Highlighting requires even more care.  Not all highlighters are made equal; there are many different degrees of glow.  You should look for a product that will add a gentle sheen, rather than a ‘hits you right between the eyes’ dollop of bling (something that really should be left to the teenagers!)

I recommend choosing a warm, soft cream colour, rather than anything that’s too white and bright.  Simply apply to the top of your cheekbones, paying careful attention not to emphasise any lines around the eye area.

And there you have it!  A subtle, gorgeously sculpted face…at any age.

Do you have any questions about contouring and highlighting, or making-up over 40?

A personalised make-up lesson could be just the thing to boost your confidence – simply get in touch if you’d like to know more.

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And that’s it!

If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


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