e.l.f. Discovery

What's the Difference Between Bronzer and Contour?

By Jeanette Crutchfield

Bronzer. Contour. Contour. Bronzer. They both come in shades of brown. Some are shimmery, some are matte. Which one will make my nose thinner? Which one will make me look like I just got back from vacation? There’s a lot of confusion between bronzers and contours and it’s understandable as the products look similar. Both can be used on all skin tones. However, they are very, very different—both in how to use them as well as the result they can give you. Read on to learn the difference between bronzer and contour, and how to use them both.

Bronzer vs. Contour

Bronzer is used to give your skin a natural sun-kissed glow, like you just got back from a beach vacation. It will typically have a shimmery quality to it to give you that glowing finish. You can find bronzer in all sorts of formats, although powders and creams are the most popular and easiest to use. You apply bronzer everywhere the sun would naturally hit your face, so think cheeks, forehead, nose, chin- anywhere you would normally get a little color from the sun. You want people to see your bronzer and if you put it on right, people will complement you on your great summer glow.

Contour, on the other hand, is designed to sculpt and add dimension to the overall appearance of your face. Contour can help to change the appearance of your bone structure using shades of makeup that are darker and lighter than your natural complexion.

How to Apply Bronzer

When applying a cream bronzer, gently pat the face bronzer on to the cheeks, forehead, and anywhere else you want a kiss of bronze using the Putty Bronzing Brush. If you are using a powder bronzer, be sure to pat any excess product off of the brush before applying. The easiest way is to use the #3 method. You will be making the number three on your face starting on your forehead just above your temple. Then continue bronzing down onto your cheekbones and finish along your jawline, making the number 3 on the side of your face. Once you have your “3”, softly blend the bronzer up and out with your brush.

How to Apply Contour

Start by applying a liquid contour that is one to two shades darker than your skin tone onto the sides of your nose, along your jawline and below your cheekbones. Using a sculpting brush, blend up and out. Next, try taking a cream contour that is one to two shades lighter than your complexion (sometimes this is referred to as a highlighter) and swipe onto the places you’d like to pop a little more, like the top of your cheek bones, brow bones and the bridge of your nose.

Related Article:

  • Where to Apply Bronzer for a Sun-Kissed Glow

  • How to Apply Bronzing Drops