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What’s the difference between contour and bronzer?

I get this asked a lot so below I’ve listed the main differences between the two.


What is it used for and how

A bronzer is used to give your skin a sunkissed effect and is applied where the sun would naturally hit the face. It gives the illusion of a healthy glow without having to sit in the sun for hours (always a good thing for your skin)

There are usually two types, matt and shimmer.


Shimmer bronzers look great applied to the décolletage and shoulders, it looks amazing when the sun hits these areas. Applying it to the face is a bit trickier as the shimmer can disperse giving a shiny, greasy look to the skin. A way to avoid this is to use it with a smaller brush rather than a large fluffy brush this will ensure the colour placement is specific and only on the areas you want shimmer.


Matte bronzers are great to add depth and colour to the skin. They are easy to use and can be applied with a large fluffy brush to add sunkissed  dimension to the face. If the shade is right it can also be used to contour but you need to be careful as they can sometimes have an orange or red undertone. If you like the look of matte but still want the effect of shimmer an alternative is to use a highlighter containing shimmer after the matte bronzer, this can give a striking finish to the skin.


What is it used for and how?

Contour is used to shape and sculpt the face and body. If used correctly it can help push back areas you’re not happy with by casting a shade. The most important thing with contour is the colour selection. It needs to have a grey undertone to it, just as your skin would look when you’re in the shade, that’s the sort of colour you need for your contour.  

Types of contour


Cream contour can be can be applied after foundation yet before powdering. Its applied with a brush to specific areas of the face such as cheek bones, nose and jaw line. Cream contour does require a lot of blending to avoid any sharp lines. I always recommend to powder after as the cream can move around the face if not set correctly. If you have very oily skin powder contour may be a better option as it will  not slide around the face throughout the day.


Powder contour gives a more subtle yet defined look. Its easy to build and blend and very beginner friendly. The finish is quite soft but you can go as dramatic as you like. Powder contour is far more forgiving than cream so if you make a mistake its easier to correct. Its always best to tap off any excess when using and build in thin layers.

The great thing about both bronzers and contour is they can be doubled up as an eyeshadow and are perfect for a brown smokey eye, so if you make the wrong colour choice, no problem just add it to your eyeshadow selection.

I hope this has helped give a better idea of how the two differ, again if you’re stuck give me a shout. Im always happy to talk make-up.


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