Contouring has been all the rage for quite some time now – we seem to be slipping out of the era of the extreme contour but (I think) a subtle contour will always be in style. Plus bronzer has been around for ages! The trend changes and sometimes we’re a lot more bronzed than others but we all love being at least a little sun kissed.
The problem is, if you’re fair skinned….you can turn into a pumpkin FAST. It’s not cute and I’ve been there so many times it’s embarrassing to admit. A little too much looks like a *lot* too much, whether we’re talking bronzer or contour so…today I’m here to help! After lots and lots of trial and error, I’ve found a few products that I simply cannot get enough of! So fellow fair skinned babes, this one’s for you!
First up, a few FAQs about bronzing and contouring for fair skin:
What’s the purpose of bronzer and contouring powder?
Bronzer is meant to “warm up the face” and can be applied relatively liberally on the face. Usually applied with a big kabuki brush, I like to sweep it along the outside of the face near the hairline and I also usually brush under my cheekbones too. Bronzer is usually more warm toned (not orange), more tan than grey.
Contour is meant to mimic shadows to help “chisel” the face by creating the illusion of a shadow. Most people apply contour underneath the cheek bones and the jawline, some people also contour the nose but that’s a lot of work, tbh. Contour is usually more cool toned, more grey than tan.
Do you use both contour and bronzer at the same time?
You can! I usually start with contouring powder, then sweep bronzer along the face (this also helps blend the contour powder more) and then follow up with blush and highlighter. Or you can use just one (or neither!) Whatever suits your fancy.
Loving this post? Make sure to read Highlighting 101 + Best Bronzers for Fair Skin!
What brushes are best for bronzing and contouring fair skin?
Ones that blend well! Kabuki brushes are awesome for bronzer, I like something a bit smaller for contouring. But you still want it to be something that blends so you don’t end up with a harsh line on your face! My favorite bronzing brush is the elf Kabuki Brush and my favorite contouring brush is from Pixi.
What’s the difference between bronzer and contour powder?
Bronzer is usually warm (more orange-toned) and sometimes shimmery. You NEVER want shimmery contour powder! Contour powder is cool-toned so it looks more like a real shadow. Tip: If you have fair skinned, you’re probably going to “pull warm” which means products will look warmer on you than they really are. For that reason, if the bronzer looks orange at all in the pan, it’s probably a bad option for you. Go for something that looks a bit more “neutral” than orange.
And now for the best products for bronzing and contouring fair skin:
This one is probably my favorite of the bunch because it’s SO easy to work with! Technically this palette is for contouring, but I use it as a bronzer. The shades are pretty neutral (not too warm or cool), which makes it very versatile. For bronzing, I typically start with the lightest shade on a kabuki brush and then gradually work my way up to the darker shades, building up the product until I get the desired look. This powder is sheer so it’s reallyyyyy easy to work with and super blendable. If you’re a beginner and/or if you’ve got the budget, I would recommend grabbing this palette! Click here to shop this palette.
Here I’m wearing the Fiona Stiles palette – see how it gives me major cheek bone action?! Hallelujah, amen. The rest of the bronzing didn’t really pick up on camera but it was there! Dramatic enough for me to see, too subtle for anyone else to see…the perfect balance.
If I’m going to contour, I reach for this powder. It’s *very* grey, which works surprisingly well for fair skin (especially if you have cool undertones). Just start with a very light hand and blend blend blend! I consider this to be more of a “high end” product but it’s probably more on the affordable side. Click here to shop this face powder (it’s currently on sale for $7!!!)
This blush is essentially a dupe for the Sephora blush. It’s a little more “red” than the Sephora powder, but don’t let that scare you away! At $6, it’s definitely worth a try and if you find it difficult to blend or work with, I would try the Sephora blush mentioned above. Click here to shop this affordable product!
First let me say the scent on this bronzer is STRONG, y’all. It’s seriously like applying tanning oil, thankfully it fades quickly but if you’re sensitive to scents don’t get this. Otherwise, I LOVE this product. I haven’t tried the sponge/brush thing it comes with because it looks awful and the packaging leaves much to be desired but the product is gold. The only problem is, it’s just one shade so it doesn’t offer the versatility of the Fiona Stiles palette so you have a little less wiggle room with it. It’s also a smidge warmer and definitely wouldn’t work as a contour product. Click here to shop this bronzer!
The thing to remember, is most of the time you don’t want anyone to know you’ve used bronzer or contour powder. You want it to be natural so that only your besties will say “Dang girl, killin’ it with that contour!” If you have fair skin, these products will get you chiseled to the gods without looking dirty or orange….so get to contouring and bronzing, babe!
- Have you ever had a bronzer or contouring fail? I sure have! lol
- What are your favorite products for bronzing and contouring? Share!