Search anything about the LiveGlam Club, products, blog posts and FAQs.

Oops, we did not find any results for:

If you’d like, we have a dedicated team of Customer Happiness reps that are ready to help you out!

contour and highlight LiveGlam


Contour Me Crazy: History of Contour and Highlight

Posted by LiveGlam on Jun 27, 2016

The contour fad has gone a bit crazy in the last several years since Kim K’s infamous reveal of Scott Barnes’ technique for her chiseled face (not that we’re complaining–we certainly love a good contour!)

Kim Kardashian Contour by Scott Barnes
(source: Twitter)

Her tweet was the match that lit the fuse on the social media craze and amazement with this age-old makeup technique. You want defined cheekbones, a chiseled jaw, fuller lips? But how bout larger breasts, firmer booty, and the abs of your dreams? All of these desirable features are now accomplishable in your own home with the right balance of shading and highlighting.

Contour was first used, no surprise here, as stage makeup. What may come as a bit of a surprise is that contour and highlight techniques date as far back as the 1500s. Elizabethan theater used toxic lead-containing materials including kohl, ceruse, and vermilion to exaggerate facial features. Performers would even use crushed pearls or silver to create shimmery glow (talk about highlight!) Flash forward a few hundred years to the 1800s, an era where makeup was worn predominantly by performers and strippers. Toxic lead is replaced with pigments, powders, and grease paints (created by mixing pigments with lard–yum!) for a more natural look coming with the dawn of electricity.

Tamanna Roashan

Contour and highlight has continued on this trail of improvement, but still a magic trick used in theater, film, and photos by the professionals until we get to 2012 and the age of social media! When contour hit mainstream, it hit hard and took no prisoners. When we realized that contour and highlight is, in fact, not sorcery, but really just a trick of light and shade (and blending!), the thought that everyone can achieve the sculpted face of their dreams from their very own home was too appealing. So appealing, in fact, that fad took off like wildfire and now we’ve gotten to the era of butt contours and 6packs that require only a few brushstrokes (we’ll take that over crunches and squats any day!) Some of these wild new contouring techniques may not be the most practical for every-day wear, but are absolutely useful by industry professionals needing to photograph the most perfectly chiseled… foot? Hey, it could happen!  

What are you guys thinking about all the new contour videos? Drop us a comment or a tweet and let us know!

Also head over to our Makeup Class page (for members!) or on instagram if you’re still searching for the perfect technique to contour your elbows today! 😀 ♥




Jessica Seifert is a makeup enthusiast with winged liner sharp enough to slay her enemies. She spends her free time turning people into beautiful monsters & zombies. Learning about new makeup techniques and skincare is her passion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *