September 17, 2020 3 min read

Understanding the difference will help to up your makeup game!

Bronzer and contour are often used interchangeably, although they are in fact two different products, used to create different effects on the face. Both products come in powder, creams and liquid formulas and they can be used together or alone depending on your personal preferences.

So what is the difference between bronzer and contour I hear you ask?

Well, Bronzer is used to add warmth to the skin – to create a sun-kissed glow! Think J-Lo, she is always beautifully bronzed. It can be used on any skin tone and has a much broader placement.

Contouring on the other hand is used to define the face, creating faux shadows in very specific areas to draw those areas in, sculpting the face. Remember those before and after pictures of the Kardashians? Perfect examples of contouring. When done right, it can have magical effects on the face, lifting cheekbones, chiselling jaws and creating a slimmer nose.

The tone of it makes all the difference.

Bronzer is a warmer tone as it is used in the areas the sun would naturally land on the face, therefore they’re often red or orange based tan shades.  Bronzers come in a matte or shimmery finish which both have their advantages: Matte is great for minimising the appearance of texture and shimmer creates a wonderful glow! Fair skin tones should opt for something more rosy and beige, only a shade or two deeper than your skin tone.  Medium skin tones can opt for more of an olive based tan shade to enhance their look and deeper skin tones need to keep in mind to use a more red-based or golden bronzer as some can appear ashy on the skin.

Contour products are usually cool-toned brown, picture them to have a hint of grey, like a natural shadow on the face, and not the warmth of a bronzer.  Contour is meant to go unnoticed on the skin and used to enhance the bone structure of your face.  Contouring can easily be achieved by using a foundation or concealer that’s just a shade or two deeper than your correct shade.  That way, it will blend seamlessly into the rest of your face makeup.

Placement is key!

It can take some time to master, but knowing exactly where to place your bronzer and contour to best enhance your features will make a huge difference to your overall look and to the time it takes to do your makeup routine. Bronzer is placed on the areas of the face and chest that would naturally catch the sun, so we’re talking across the cheeks and bridge of the nose, the centre of the forehead, centre of the chin and across the chest.  Contour is used on areas of the face that have shadows, such as under the cheekbones, under the jaw and can be used lightly down the sides of the nose for a slimming effect. Always make sure to blend the product well – if you’re using a powder, set your foundation with a translucent powder so that your bronzer and contour can glide seamlessly over the top. 

Just remember, practice makes perfect and learning what suits your face and your overall style is the most important!


Why not check out our shades of bronzer in our Second Skin Bronzer Collection? Each one has been formulated to easily give a tint of buildable colour whilst smoothing the skin.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.