Bringing Your Best Face Forward; Contouring and Highlighting Basics


Alright ladies, I’m going to level with you. There are women out there who, by some incredible combination of genetics, Divine intervention (and perhaps well placed facial implants) are blessed with prominent cheek bones and perfect noses. You know them and, unless you were childhood friends, you probably hate them. Hahaha! I’m just joking! It’s not nice to hate people because they’re beautiful! They have to be smart and rich too; then you can hate them and not feel shallow or petty. Razz Anyway, the point I’m really trying to make is that yes, there are women out there who were born with perfect features, but for the rest of us there is a simple technique to bring out the best we have and this technique is a combination of highlighting the good and contouring the not as good. You’ll note that I didn’t say bad and that’s mainly because I’m not quite sure who decided that oval was the ideal face shape or that almond eyes are the most perfect, but I am quite sure that I have seen some drop dead gorgeous heart shape faces (um, hello, Resse Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez) and deep set eyes (Jennifer Aniston, ahem-hem). I’m not talking about a totally face altering, extreme highlight/contour job a la Kim Kardashian, I’m just talking about a little play with shadows and light that can help bring your facial architecture forward in the most flattering way possible.

The way colour and light work, broken down into the simplest of concepts, is that lighter colours come forward and make things appear bigger while darker colours recede and make things appear smaller. You hear about this all the time when it comes to interior design; don’t paint  a small area a dark colour or it will feel smaller, keep your ceiling a lighter colour than the walls to make it seem higher and the room more airy. Well, the same principles apply to your face and makeup. Using a lighter colour, or even a shimmer which reflects light, can make a feature more prominent whereas using a darker colour, as well as a matte, can nudge a feature a little more into the background. Using these ideas and a few well placed (and blended) swipes of the right products you can make a difference in your appearance that’s subtle but still noticeable and completely fabulous.

Today we’re going to focus on cheekbones. Everyone’s got ’em, they’re just not always as obvious depending on your face shape. To find them, put your fingers on your temples and drag them down and in slightly. C’mon, do it. I’ll wait. Okay, you got it? There you go, those are your cheekbones. Alternately, you can suck you cheeks in an make a fishy face; I put the first option forward in case you were reading this in a public setting. Haha. Moving right along. The area under the cheekbone is the area you want to contour (darken and make appear to recede) whereas the cheekbone itself is the area you want to highlight (lighten and bring forward). The products you should be using here are blush, bronzer and a highlighting powder, stick or liquid. You can also purchase contouring kits which provide both contouring and highlighting mediums (so far, my favourite is the Make Up Forever Sculpting Kit). Blush should be applied starting on the apples of your cheeks and sweeping up towards your temples along the cheekbone. Next, a matte bronzer, or the right shade from a contouring palette (and by “right shade” I mean a medium tone that is about 2 to 3 shades darker than your skin tone but not so dark that it just looks like dirt) should be applied under your cheekbones. You can do the fishy face during application if it helps you get it in the right spot, or if it just makes you happy. Truly, there is no judgement here. Razz Make sure this shade is well blended so you don’t end up with what I lovingly refer to as “bacon strips” on the sides of your face. Finally, your highlighting powder, stick or liquid should be applied along the top of your cheekbone stopping just before you get to your temple. You can add a little to the apples of your cheeks as well to give a glowy, dewy finish, but I mean a little. There is a fine line between  dew-y and dew-not. Bazinga! Grin

If you’re interested in contouring and highlighting the rest of your face, well, I’m going to give you a visual aid that goes over all the face shapes rather than typing it all out. Of course, if you’d like some one on one instruction, you know where to reach me. Wink


Have a beautiful day,

Rina Smile


Image taken from

Image taken from


And the Winner Is…


It’s that time of year again, people. Award season is upon us, and two of the biggies, the Golden Globes and SAGs, have already passed. Yes, I realize I’m a bit late weighing in on my favourite makeup looks from these shows, but sifting through those images takes FOREVER and when you live your life around your 2 year old’s schedule (and are pretty much a professional procrastinator) blog posts don’t come so easily. Razz Anyhow, enough with my excuses, here are my top choices from the Golden Globes and the SAGs with a little breakdown of why I love ’em so darn much.

OliviaGGLet’s begin with the lovely Mama-to-Be, Olivia Wilde. While she would look good in almost anything, I particularly love the way Olivia carries off this incredible smokey eye (one of my all time faves). Well groomed brows, perfect skin, a hint of a golden glow on the cheeks and a creamy, nude lip all create the ideal backdrop for this dramatic look. I love the fact that, while the entire eye is smokey, the artist enhanced the shape of her eyes by adding even more darkness to the outer corners. The way the dark, charcoal grey fades out seamlessly into nothing just above the crease there is masterfully executed and the drop liner on the bottom is perfect; soft, smudgy and romantic but not smudged, messy and all over the place. Smokey eyes are my go to choice for steppin’ out. Looks like I’m in good company.


Moving right along to Reese Witherspoon, the picture of peachy perfection. First off, I am a HUGE fan of the colour of her super simple yet absolutely stunning gown and how beautifully it worked with her skin tone and hair colour. Two thumbs up to her stylist on this one! As far as her makeup goes, I think this look was one of the best of the night. Her entire look, from her gown to her accessories and hair, was streamlined and going with simple, unfussy makeup was definitely the right choice. Her baby blues don’t need much to make them pop, but rim them with some black eyeliner and then layer on some coppery-gold eyeshadow and they were bound to be the focus of this beautiful face. Using the same shadow to line under the eyes added brightness and took the pop effect to the next level. The pinky-nude lip is a classic pairing with eyes that, while not smokey, were definitely the focal point, and I like how they have a sheen but are not too shiny. To me, this look is so totally wearable and completely spot on.


Cate Blanchette is usually a class act, and this year was no exception. She kept things simple and yet was still super stylish and utterly beautiful in a very classic kind of way. Just a wash of shimmery shadow on her lids and lots of inky, black mascara was all it took to make her magnificent blue eyes shine. Smooth, even toned skin and a nice rosy, pink blush make her look young, fresh and virbrant. The fabulous pink hue on her lips isn’t so bright that it’s obnoxious, rather it’s just bright enough to be stylish and youthful while still entirely classy. I’m a huge fan of pairing a bright lip with blue eyes.  I find it tends to accentuate them even more and this is a beautiful example of me being a genius. Razz


Sandra Bullock is one of those Hollywood starlets I have a love-hate relationship with: I love her because she’s talented, affable and seems down to earth. I hate her because she’s so darned beautiful and seems to, almost literally, never age. The look she sported for the Golden Globes this year works well on a few different levels. Again, I’m impressed with the simplicity of this look, sticking with neutrals that were sure to work well on her soulful, brown eyes and lots of mascara. Bringing in some colour with a berry lip both brings out her eyes and pairs beautifully with her skin tone. The effortlessly chic, slightly messy, low pony draped over her shoulder is the perfect compliment to this paired down yet stunningly sophisticated look that any woman could carry off. Of course, you’d have to be Sandra Bullock for it to look exactly this good, but I digress.



 Special mention goes out to Julianne Hough and Amber Heard for two other looks I enjoyed. Both had a golden glow about them, impeccable brows, and soft lips that combined for two different variations on a theme: Hough’s black eyeliner,  messy beach waves and braid pulled off to the side had her looking like a stunningly sexy beach babe whereas Heard’s voluminous updo and rouched gown, the top of which is reminiscent of a toga, made her the modern day incarnation of the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Lupita Nyong'o SAG

Now, on to the SAGs. This look on Lupita Nyong’o is, quite possibly, my favourite of the evening. I have to start by saying that this is one of the most amazing dresses I have ever seen. The collar of flowers is so unbelievably, delicately, femininely gorgeous, I can’t stand it. The combination of the bright, sky blue of the gown with her deep, warm skin tone is absolutely stunning and she positively shines in this smashing ensemble. And that makeup! Oh man, that makeup! It takes guts to carry off blue eye shadow like this and she doesn’t merely carry it off, she totally rocks it! I love the way her eyeshadow is bright on the inner third, soft and light on the middle third and then dark and smokey on the outer third and blended together seamlessly. There is a soft shimmery sheen to the makeup rather than a garish, frosty sparkle and it works beautifully. Highlighter on the cheeks brightens her entire face and the pink lip is a fresh, young and warm compliment to the eyes. I absolutely love this look. Like, so, so, so much!!


If you ask me, Jennifer Lawrence totally missed the makeup boat at the Golden Globes; her eye makeup wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great but the lips were just totally off. While I lover her overall look – she’s cute as a button, has enchanting blue eyes and makes short hair enviable – that makeup was just…well…yicky. Seriously, I can’t think of a better word. It was yicky on her and I didn’t like it (sorry Jennifer, don’t hate me!).  And then the SAGs happened and she redeemed herself (or, rather, her makeup artists redeemed his/herself) in the makeup department. This smokey eye is amazing; it’s soft and subtle yet is doesn’t compromise on drama for even a second. The liner on the bottom is smudgy but very light on the inner corner so that, along with the heavier black liner on the outer corner of the top lid, her eyes are elongated and just picture perfect. The creamy, peachy nude lip and light dusting of blush finish this look off just beautifully.


Let’s not discuss what the expectant Kerry Washington wore to the SAGS, let’s just talk about her makeup. Because really, if we get started on how big of a miss her outfit was, I will never  finish this post. Like, ever.  As much as her outfit made her look like someone who hasn’t come to terms with her adorable, little belly and the fashion dos and don’ts that come along with it, her makeup brought out the pregnancy glow  in a way that was just stunnacious. First off, look at those brows. Bold, full, in a word, fabulous. The shimmery, silver shadow and false lashes frame out and highlight her incredible brown eyes in a way that walks the line between natural and over the top. Her skin is clear and radiant with a lovely, rosy pink flush (my favourite, you know) and her super incredible lips look amazing in a simple, natural, pink lipstick.


Now for the last 2 faces to make my list are near and dear to my heart JessChastainSAGbecause they are absolutely gorgeous red heads and they looked nothing less than red hot at the SAGs. Amy Adams, one of my faves since she portrayed Emilia Earheart in Night at the Museum 2 (can you tell I have kids?) put a super updated and current spin on a classic look by swapping out a typical red lip for a runway inspired orange in her homage to 1950s Hollywood glamour. This look is absolutely killer. And Jessica Chastain, the voice of Jia the Jaguar in Madagascar 3 (seriously, haven’t seen a grown up movie in a looooong time), is stunning in Alexander McQueen, also giving a nod to Hollywood but showing it’s more modern side. Cleanly defined eyes with just a swipe of gold shadow and lots of black liquid or gel liner pair perfectly with her strawberry red lips and luminous skin. She emanates beauty, grace, confidence and allure. Perfection on a popsicle stick, baby.

So there you have it, folks. And it only took me 2 weeks to write. Lol!  I’m going to bed now, we’ll dish celebrity makeup again soon. Wink

Have a beautiful night,

Rina Smile