Skip to main content
United States

Bronzer vs. Contour: How Should You Use Them?

Bronzer vs. Contour: How Should You Use Them?

At RMS Beauty, we love a good makeup tutorial, but we also understand that the first few times you try to use a new product, it usually doesn’t turn out perfectly, leaving you frustrated and wondering what went wrong. As a brand led by a master makeup artist, we’re here to make the every day process of makeup application a breeze for the everyday you.

Today, we’re honing in on bronzers and contours. Use these products correctly, and you can create a sunkissed glow in the middle of winter and sculpted cheekbones with just a few sweeps of concealer. 

We’ll tell you everything you should know about using them, including when to use them, how to use them, and even what not to do.

What Should I Know About Bronzer?

Bronzer is a really unique product — bronzing products help create more than just glowy skin; they create a sunkissed glow, and there’s a big difference. 

Products like highlighters and luminizers give skin a dewy, luminous look of radiance, while a bronzer can make your skin look as though you’ve just spent a week on the beach. 

Who It’s For

Anyone can use a bronzer, no matter the skin tone or type. If you have oily skin, you can still use a bronzer and give it better staying power by applying a primer underneath to give it something to grip. 

Darker skin tones can look especially radiant with a bronzer — it helps give darker skin a gorgeous glow that lights up your complexion. It’s also perfect for fair-skinned people thanks to its ability to add color and shimmer without redness — because fair skin tones tend to show redness more prevalently, especially after sun exposure, the subtle glow and depth from a bronzer is welcome. 

When and How To Use Bronzer

You can use a bronzer year-round, but we love to focus more on them in the winter when skin becomes dry and dull. 

  • For summer use: Focus on using the bronzer in coordination with your natural color. Apply a small amount to the tops of the cheekbones, middle of the eyelids, bridge of the nose, and center of the lips. 

Keep your makeup light, and use the bronzer to play up your natural summer beauty. Avoid piling on layers of bronzer, which can make your skin look ruddy or orange. The goal is to use bronzer to highlight your slightly tanned summer skin, not cover it up. 

  • For winter use: Apply bronzer as the final piece of your makeup look. After you’ve prepped your face and applied face makeup, blush, eyeshadow, and lip color, come in with bronzer to add a slight hint of sun-kissed color. 

Keep it light; it’s winter, and it needs to look believable. If you’re feeling especially ghostly, it can be tempting to sweep bronzing powder over your entire face. However, this can end up looking muddy and messy rather than goddess-like. 

Add bronzer to the tops of your cheeks and a little on the bridge of your nose. You can also add a little shimmer to the middle of your lips and still keep it looking natural. 

Rose-Marie Tip: Bronzer should be applied where your skin naturally tans, which means you’ll never apply it on your cheeks in a contoured diagonal. Sweep it directly over the tops of your cheeks and blend using a blush brush. You can also add a few sweeps across your forehead, directly above your eyebrows, but go gently here. Too much can look sunburned or heavy. 

Why Bronzer Doesn’t Work for Contouring

It’s simple; you don’t tan in the areas where you’d be applying a contouring product, so there’s no reason to apply bronzers in those areas. Contouring is different from adding a bronzed kiss to your skin, and you typically won’t want any shimmer in a contouring product. 

What Should I Know About Contour?

Contouring is tricky business, and you probably already know this if you’ve ever tried it. A technique used by makeup artists, you can harness the power of contouring with a few tips and tricks. 

What It Is

Contouring is a process that creates sculpted, defined areas on your skin, like the cheekbones, nose, and chin. While bronzing your skin focuses on the high areas like cheekbones, contouring will typically fall into the shadows and hollows of your face, adding deeper dimension. 

You may also be using a contouring method to fade out features you want to be less noticeable.

Who Can Use It?

Anyone can use contouring products, but not everyone needs to. Contouring works great for:

  • Sculpting cheekbones. Contouring can give you higher-looking, more defined cheekbones. 
  • A more narrow jaw. If you have a prominent jaw, you can use contouring to essentially “blend away” a portion of it and make it look more sculpted and less noticeable. 
  • Define brow bones and give the look of a higher arch, increase the depth of your cupid’s bow, or even elongate the eyes. 

For most contouring applications, we like to use concealer, although you can use a foundation too. You’ll want a color that is slightly darker than your natural skin color or a shade darker than the foundation or concealer you usually use. 

How Should You Use Contour?

After you’ve applied your foundation and concealer, take your contour shade and an angled foundation brush and focus on the areas you want to contour. 


Cheekbones. Using your contour color, go in underneath the cheekbone (in the hollow of your cheek) with a single sweep of contour color. This should be applied in an angle and blended like crazy to ensure there are no visible lines. 

If it’s not dark enough to create the lift you want, you can always add more of your contour color, but we recommend avoiding darker colors, which can look harsh and give your skin a patchwork look. 

Finish the look by applying blush on the apples of your cheeks and sweeping upward and outward, but avoid putting blush on your temples or near your eyes which can look dated. 


Nose. Keep it simple when contouring your nose, and avoid trying to mix light and dark shades, especially if you are a beginner. Once you’ve applied your foundation and concealer, use a small, brightening brush to contour the bridge of your nose. 

Make a vertical line from the inner corners of your eyebrows down each side of your nose to the very tip. Use a beauty sponge to blend the color outward (not inward) to create a more elongated nose.

As you get more comfortable with contouring around your nose, you can begin using a lighter color of contouring product down the center or bridge of your nose and on the tip of your nose. 


Contouring your jawline can help slim your face and sculpt a more defined jawline, which can also draw more attention to your lips. However, because contouring product for the jawline is usually placed under the jaw, it is incredibly important to remember to blend. 

Once you’ve applied foundation, apply a small dot of contour color directly under your jawbone (about an inch and a half away from your ear). Place another directly under your jaw, using the extreme outer corner of each lip as a guide. 

Using a beauty blender or a brush, blend the two dots toward one another to create a slightly dark shadow under the jaw that helps recede this portion of your skin. 

For Brows and Lips

The brows and lips are some of the easiest places to add contour and really get noticeable results. In fact, if you aren’t sure about contouring but want to give it a try, these are the two places to start. 

  • For brows: After you’ve applied brow powder, use a brow brush to come in directly underneath your arch with your contour shade all the way to the outer edge. This should be a very thin line that you can blend easily for an instant brow lift that is noticeable and natural. 
  • For lips: If your cupid’s bow isn’t very defined, you can easily add definition with contour. A small dot of your contour color directly above your cupid’s bow (on the skin between your nose and lips) is all it takes. You can use your finger to blend it in, and make sure to use a liner to add more definition to the edges of your lips. 

You can master these contouring techniques in about five minutes and work on incorporating the others as your skill increases. 

RMS Beauty: You’re Favorite Go-To

At RMS Beauty, we create products that are the cleanest and greenest in the industry, so you can trust that the beautiful bronze or amazing contour you’re adding to your skin isn’t just safe, it’s nourishing. So go ahead, get glam with RMS Beauty. 


EWG Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG

How to Contour and Highlight for Your Face Shape |

Non-Toxic Bronzers | Because Health

Thanks for contacting us! We'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for subscribing Thanks! We will notify you when it becomes available! The max number of items have already been added There is only one item left to add to the cart There are only [num_items] items left to add to the cart

Change Shipping Country