I have to admit, I am quite skeptical of this new highlight and contour trend. I think for most people on most days it’s too much. It’s taken to the nth degree with makeup that is much too dark, and highlighters that sparkle too much. Even makeup artists don’t recommend contouring and highlighting for the average person.

Step away from the too-dark liquid or creme makeup and try a powder instead. I personally love the Paloma blush palette by NARS. It’s wonderfully subtle and doesn’t become the focus of your face.

Using the NARS Paloma Palette to Contour and Highlight


Load up your contour brush lightly with the darker shade of the Paloma palette, and brush along the top of your forehead and vertically on your neck. Blend well. Take a smaller brush and lightly load with the darker shade and outline the nose. Blend. Load your contour brush again and apply into the hollow of your cheek. Blend well and go back and blend again. To find the hollow of your cheek, use your fingers to find your cheekbone – the hollow will be directly underneath.

Highlighting should be done of the high points on your face, versus contouring in the low points. Load your contour brush with the light color of the palette and brush along the top of the nose and into a triangle between your nose and forehead.

Highlighting and contouring with NARS Paloma

These colors are only used to guide you – under no circumstance should you use colors that are as dark as this or highlighting that is as obvious. Tread carefully.

Next, blend lightly along the upper lip (don’t forget to get in the cupid’s bow of the mouth) and along the dark contour in the hollow of the cheek. Load the brush again and blend well into the chin and on each side of the lips. Blend well.

Under the eyes is a spot that you should highlight regardless if you contour or not – it really sets the face off. With your loaded contour brush, blend alongside the nose and the top of your cheekbones and blend well. Go back and blend again.

I like to use a pencil under my brows. Currently I’m using the Boom Boom Push Up Brow Highlighting Pencil. I love it because it has one side that shimmers, and one side that is completely matte. Since the Paloma palette is all matte, I’ve been using the sparkle side to add just a touch of gleam.

Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks. This can be any color you choose – I’m a NARS Orgasm girl since way back, so that is what I will typically use.

Just remember that if you must contour and highlight at all, it should be very, very subtle. Keep your shades within one or two shades of your natural skin tone. The Paloma palette comes in three different shades, so pick the one that is closest to your natural tone. ¬†And remember: chances are you aren’t walking the red carpet or in a photo shoot, so your contouring needs to be on the light side and created with quality brushes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."