Try This Makeup Tip: Do Your Highlighting Before Contouring or Bronzing

Published in: Face, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

Clarins Splendours Summer Bronzing Compact K air quotes

T-rex Karen says, “Gaaar! Do your highlighting first, and then do your contouring and/or bronzing.” Actually…I was supposed to be doing air quotes in this picture, but I think it looks more like I have T-rex claws.

For starters, there’s going to be a lot of “and/or” in this post, so I apologize in advance.

Buuut, the next time you don your war paint, try this: if you do any highlighting and/or contouring and/or bronzing (see?) try doing your highlighting before your contouring and/or bronzing, because the order matters! It make a difference.


This is probably a good time to mention that I don’t go gaga over contouring, but I will do it every once in a great while. Bronzing, on the other hand, is an everyday thing for me. I am completely non-functional without a little bit of bronzer, LOL!

Anywho, for the longest time, I did my bronzing before my highlighting. I’m not sure why though… I guess it was just force of habit.

my five best highlighters

Speaking of highlighters, here are five I really like

But I went to another one of those awesome
Sephora makeup classes last weekend, the one called Contour & Highlight, the instructor suggested doing your highlighting first, before bronzer or contouring, because when you do it the other way around, it’s easier to go overboard with your bronzer or contouring without realizing it.

It’s like when you wear a bright lip and do your blush. It helps to do your lipstick before applying your blush, because that way you can use your finished lip look as a reference for how much blush you should use.

rimmel natural bronzer

That’s the remarkable, radical $4.99 Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Bronze, by the way

When you do your contouring and bronzing before you highlight, it’s harder to gauge whether you’ve used the right amount. For instance, if you contour first and you think you’re at, like, a level five, and then you do your highlights, you can suddenly realize, WHOA! — that’s actually contour level 10! I didn’t realize I did *that* much contouring.

So try doing your highlighting before your contouring (or bronzing) one of these days. You just might like the results. I know I do. It’s a whole new bronzing world! ๐Ÿ™‚

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Completely unrelated to highlighting, but how do you feel about banana bread?

Right now I’m all about banana bread, and baking in general, but especially banana bread. I made some last weekend for the first time in forever, and it brought a big smile to my face (and a lot of banana into my tum). I followed this recipe from for Low Fat Banana Nut Bread.

Banana Bread Ingredients

All this makes two loaves…or one loaf and some muffins

This recipe results in uber-dense, flavorful banana loaf, so it’s not light and fluffy, but it is hella filling and delicious. One slice makes a tasty breakfast.

If you’re a banana bread goddess, hook a girl up! What’s your recipe? Unless it’s a secret…and if it’s a secret, can you just bake it for me, and send it overnight by FedEx, so I can have it for breakfast tomorrow, haha!

Totally kidding. Sort of.

(PLEASE!) Let them eat cake

OK, the other reason I’ve been into baking lately is this show I’ve been watching on Hulu called The Great British Baking Show.

Babe. Seriously. This show will make you want to eat an entire three-tiered lemon cake, and by “you” I mean “me,” haha! It’s really fun.

british baking show

I ask again, can you please let them eat cake?

The contestants are all just a bunch of everyday people from the United Kingdom — none of them are professional bakers — and they have to bake different dishes in categories like savory, sweet, biscuits, breads, pies and traditional English, and then their creations are judged by a panel of judges that includes Mary Berry.

To be honest…I have no idea who the other judges are, because it’s all about Mary Berry. She’s a very stylish older lady whom I guess is a big deal in the British baking world, and I love her because she always has her hair did, her makeup on point, and she’s always dressed to the nines.



The competition takes place under a huge white tent in the middle of the English countryside, which seems kind of weird, but it’s very entertaining and rekindled my appreciation for baking and how difficult it can be, ’cause if you leave that cake in that oven for a minute too long, it’s game over, babe. Thank you for playing.

Interestingly, maybe it’s because it’s on PBS and not network TV or Bravo, the judges are always very respectful and polite, and they don’t rip into people the way they do sometimes on American cooking shows, where the contestants are viciously pitted against each other for the sake of drama. It’s a kinder, gentler reality competition…but with lots and lots of yummy-looking cake.


Off to grab a third slice of banana bread… ๐Ÿ™‚


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So far, 24 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Lauren Sutherland says:

    I LOVE the great british baking show! My mom and I always sit down and watch it together at her house and compare things I’ve baked to it. I’ve got them beat on macarons, but some of the stuff they do with breads amazes me!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lauren,

      I’ve never tried making macarons. Is it difficult?

      I hope you had a nice Monday! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Lauren Sutherland says:

        Hi Karen! They’re difficult in the sense that they are very fussy. The flours need to be sifted so many times to have the right texture, egg whites have to be just the right temperature and stiffness, and baking time varies from oven to oven on them. But oh so good when they are right! I baked 3 varieties for my wedding this summer: mango, lemon with raspberry buttercream, and raspberry with hibiscus buttercream. There wasn’t a single on left at the end of the night!
        It was a nice slow Monday for me. I’m waiting to see if I get calle din for jury duty (fingers crossed that I don’t). Hope you and baby girl are doing great!

  2. Arianne says:

    This is the best banana bread recipe I’ve tried. Super yum!!! I add pecans and dark chocolate chips.

  3. Kwmechelle says:

    I’ll pass on the banana bread, bananas don’t agree with me, but I totes agree on the highlighting tip. I always highlight first because it just makes sense to me. It also helps me gauge how much bronzer to apply. That cooking show sounds like fun. I enjoy PBS a lot & kind cooking judges appeal to me. No manufactured drama. Unless of course it’s LA Hair. Shameless, guilty, pleasure. With absolutely no premise or plot ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. If I ever do highlight/contour/bronzer, I will keep this in mind, but most days I just don’t bother.
    I just got into baking again last week. It was Mr. Locas 40th birthday, so I made marble cake (the traditional birthday cake in my family) and crumble cake (the traditional birthday cake in his family). Too much cake for the three of us, but delicious!
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … In for a surprise – Garnier Fructis 3 minute hair mask for curly hair

  5. Rachel says:

    Someone at my work said they add sour cream to their banana bread and it makes it so much better! Not sure the recipe but I’m sure you could google it. Other than that I’m all about the walnuts and maybe a few chocolate chips!

  6. Agata says:

    I usually contour before highlighting but I will try that tip. I just recently started putting on my blush after highlighting. When does the blush come in for you? Before or after contouring and highlighting?
    Agata recently posted … The shades of fall at your fingertips

  7. Thanks for the tip, Karen!

    I missed this year’s GBBO, but man I love that show! I always end up with a major case of the munchies every time I catch an episode, lol ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | LUSH Nightwing Shower Jelly, LUSH Yog Nog Soap + LUSH Magic Wand

  8. Jessica says:

    Ohhhh Banana bread! I have been looking for a good recipe! thanks!!
    Jessica recently posted … Mad ACEO: Birthday

  9. Fran says:

    It’s funny, I’ve been doing my highlight before contour/blush lately, and you’ve now explained to me why it’s a good idea!

    I made a super-yummy apple/cranberry crumble last weekend. I love crumbles ’cause they’re so easy to make. The cranberries really add a great zing!

    1 package (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
    3/4 lb. apples (I used Granny Smiths)
    1/2 cup apple cider
    1 cup sugar
    1 tbsp. minute tapioca

    wash and pick over the cranberries, wash, core, peel, and cut up the apples, mix those ingredients in a bowl and put them in a large casserole dish.

    for the topping, put:

    1 cup flour
    1 cup pecans or walnuts
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter
    1 tsp. cinammon

    in the food processor, and pulse it a few times until you get a crumble. Pour on top of the fruit.

    Bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour, turning the heat up to 375 for the last 10-15 minutes if needed to brown the top a bit.

    It’s great still warm (especially with some vanilla ice cream), but doesn’t completely set until it cools.


  10. Shannon says:

    Oh my GOSH does banana bread sound good right now. Nom nom nom.

    When it comes to quick breads, I have a thing for spiced zucchini bread…. I think I use the Martha Stewart recipe. Similar to banana bread in texture, but with a sense of fall <3 I ADORE the stuff.

  11. Rosemary says:

    Girl, it’s autumn and all about the Pumpkin Bread! Here’s the recipe I’ve been using for over fifteen years. Good by itself, or with butter, or jam, or honey.

    3 and 1/2 cups flour
    3 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon allspice
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 cup oil (I use Smart Choice)
    4 eggs
    2 cups canned pumpkin
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350. Mix/sift together (I just mix it up) the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, banking soda and salt. Add remaining ingredients and mix only until well blended. Bake in 2 well-greased loaf pans 50-60 minutes or until center springs back.

    My notes: this recipe makes two loaf pans. You can put one in the freezer for later if you like. I never end up doing that, though, because this goes fast at my house. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Also, watch the timing. You don’t want to overcook as it becomes dry. Every oven is different. Start checking it at 50 minutes.

  12. Kalli says:

    I LOVE the Great British Baking Show! I just marathoned what was on Netflix a couple weeks ago and have caught up with the current season on the PBS website/Roku app. I agree with everything you said plus the fact that there aren’t any corporate sponsors tied into the challenges (make a cake incorporating these five ingredients from McCormick’s!). And everyone is just so dang nice to each other!

    Also, I feel great about banana bread especially since my mom gave me a loaf she baked this weekend. I’m still munching on it.
    Kalli recently posted … 90s Grunge Inspired

  13. Rachel R. says:

    How funny, my hubby has been on a banana bread baking kick the last couple weeks. We all love it at our house, so no one is complaining!

  14. Erin says:

    I always bronze first too. Gotta try it the other way!

  15. Fancie says:

    I always do my contour first but I think I’m going to try highlighting first next time. I usually end up softening my contour when I highlight anyway so I’m gonna save myself the extra blending to mesh them together. I need to sign up for one of these Sephora classes. You’ve been sharing some really great tips!
    Fancie recently posted … A Night out with the Disney Villains Collection

  16. Katie says:

    I’ve never tried highlighting first! I get the feeling I’ll love this technique, since I love highlighting but hate how it can look like a harsh stripe if I’m not careful.

    Also, off topic, I know you (and zillions of others) are a fan of the Becca pressed powder highlighters, as am I. I have Opal and I just noticed cracks appearing in the powder. I treat it incredibly gently, literally just keep it on my desk, never travel with it, I never even tap the brush against the compact to remove excess, so I have no idea where the cracks came from. The same thing happened to me last year with my pan of Moonstone, and after a few days the whole thing shattered ( :'( RIP). Has this happened to anyone else?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katie,

      I’ve noticed that one of my pans (I think it might be Opal) has a hairline crack too. I’m not sure why this happens but I’m guessing it might perhaps be related to the product getting more fragile with age? Or maybe some aspect of the moisture content? In any case, I hope that your pan holds up!

      • Katie says:

        I looked up more about the actual product itself and it’s ingredients, and the pressed powders have a pretty high amount of liquid binders, which makes them so creamy. So maybe they’re not as tightly packed due to this. Glad to know I’m not alone!

  17. Polarbelle says:

    Do the highlight first???!! I’m going to try it!! I can’t wait to see how it differs….and why is something so simple a thing that we’ve never thought of before. I kind of sit in the makeup chair in autopilot with some of the parts of my face.
    Polarbelle recently posted … Phuse Beauty Hydration Head Case Shampoo And Repairman Conditioner Review For Healthy Shiny Hair!!

  18. Mrsweitzman says:

    What a great idea!! I actually tried this out last night. I use becca shimmering perfector in the shade moonstone. I have very fair skin and this shade moonstone works beautifully on my skin. I have noticed if I do the contouring before I do highlight it affects the way the highlight on my skin, it can look a little Cakey. Thanks again !

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