Can You Use Contour And Bronzer At The Same Time?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

If you’re confused about the difference between contour and bronzer, you’re not alone! It’s extremely common for the two to be lumped together and thought of as interchangeable.

While it’s true that both add depth and enhancement to a look, there is indeed a big difference between the two.

One of the big questions I frequently see asked is can you use Contour and Bronzer at the Same Time?

In this article, I am going to give you the rundown on the differences between contour and bronzer and how to use them. I’ll also go over how you can use contour and bronzer at the same time, as they are meant to be used.


What’s the Difference Between Bronzer and Contour?   

While contour and bronzer have some things in common, they also have some distinct differences.

Both come in liquid, cream, or powder form. Both are also designed to add depth to your face, but they are meant to be used in different ways.

Contouring and bronzing differ in color and finish. Bronzer tends to be more orange or golden-toned and can have a shimmery finish, while contour is more neutral, usually with a matte finish.



When using contour properly, the goal is to add structure and shadow to create the illusion of a more defined face shape.

By applying it strategically to certain areas of the face, it can be used to give the appearance of a slimmer face, more prominent cheekbones, a stronger jawline, a smaller nose, fuller lips, and more.

Here are a few contour choices to get you started on your journey.

Is Contour Supposed To Be Lighter or Darker Than Your Natural Skin Tone?

With contour, you want to go 1-2 shades darker than your natural skin tone. Going any darker will result in more of a Halloween costume makeup effect than a chiseled glow, which is probably not what you want.



Bronzer is meant to create natural-looking warmth by adding color where the sun would naturally hit.

By knowing where and how to apply bronzer, you can make your skin look as if you’ve been vacationing on a tropical island, soaking up the sun—even if you’ve spent the better part of the last 18 months sitting on your couch watching HGTV!

Here are a few of my favorite Bronzers.

Is Bronzer Supposed To Be Lighter Or Darker Than Your Natural Skin Tone?

It’s important when choosing a shade of bronzer to go for 2-4 shades darker than your natural skin tone. If you go too light, then you won’t see much of a difference. On the other hand, if you go too dark, it just won’t look natural.

The lighter your skin, the less of a difference in shade your bronzer needs to be. If you have a fair complexion then, going for a bronzer two shades darker than your natural skin tone is plenty. Also opt for more of a sheer, shimmer-free bronzer. It’s much easier to see streaks and blending mistakes on lighter skin.

The darker your skin is, the more leeway you have.

Can you use bronzer and contour at the same time?

Yes, you can use bronzer and contour at the same time.

Bronzer and contour can be used on their own. You don’t have to use both, or either for that matter! But they can most definitely be used together, at the same time.

While bronzer will give you a warm sun-kissed glow, the contour will help to accentuate (or minimize) your features. 

While bronzer will give you a warm sun-kissed glow, the contour will help to accentuate (or minimize) your features. 

How do you use Bronzer and Contour?

The trick is to not overdo it.

Bear in mind if you are using other cosmetics, like moisturizer, foundation, concealer, and other beauty products, then layering two more cosmetics on top of all of that, you’ll want to go easy.

You don’t want to end up looking cakey.

It’s like when you’re cooking – you can always add more salt if you need it. 

Liquid bronzer and contour are by far the trickiest to use and are more difficult to get right. There are some professional makeup artists who prefer the liquid versions. But if you are a relatively newbie with bronzer and contour, I recommend using the cream or powder forms of both, rather than the liquid, for a few reasons.

  1. A lot of the liquid bronzers have to be mixed with your moisturizer or foundation. You may not necessarily want to wear either, and trying to figure out the right amount to mix to get your perfect color will take some trial and error. 
  2. If you have dry skin, liquid bronzer and contour can look patchy and uneven.
  3. If you use a lot of skin care products and cosmetics and are looking to add contour and bronzer into the mix, using both your contour and your bronzer in a powder will probably get you better results as it’s much lighter, you will have better control over the amount of color and it will be easier to blend.   
  4. If you don’t wear a lot of other cosmetics, contour in an easy to use cream stick will be much easier to apply and also easier to control the amount of color, than using a liquid. 

Does bronzer or contour go first?

Apply your contour first, then your bronzer on top for a radiant-looking glow.

Apply your contour first, then your bronzer on top for a radiant-looking glow.

Here’s how to use contour and bronzer together.



For a basic contour application, find a contour shade that’s about two shades darker than your natural skin tone.

If you’re using a contour powder, use an angled contour brush . For cream or liquid contour products, a damp sponge blender   will work best.

Next, you’ll need to play around and figure out where contouring will look best with your specific features.

Where do you put contour?

Start at your forehead and swipe your contour product along your temples or your hairline. Then, sweep the product down to the hollows of your cheekbones to make them look more defined.

To contour your jawline, swipe the product just along the edge of your jaw in a forward motion.

Once you’re finished contouring, you can use the sponge blender or makeup brush to seamlessly blend your contouring.


Bronzer Application

When choosing bronzer, pick one that’s just one to two shades deeper than your natural skin tone.

Like using contour,  a damp sponge blender will be the best tool for cream or liquid bronzers. For a powder bronzer, you can either use a bronzer/contour/powder hybrid fluffy brush .

Where do you put bronzer?

When applying bronzer, aim for the high points of your face, where the sun would naturally hit your skin.

Starting at your temples, sweep the product along your hairline. Then, swirl the bronzer onto the apples of your cheeks, and then swirl it back out to the edge of your face to blend. Be sure to blend in a circular motion so there are no harsh edges. 

How Do You Blend Contour And Highlighter – Brush vs Blender

Having the right tools for the job is key. Using a makeup blender and the right kind of brush is essential for getting a seamless, flawless look.

PRO TIP: Apply with a brush – blend with a sponge.

Some contour products come in a stick form  which you can apply directly to your face, but the other cream and powder forms which come in a palette will require a brush for application.

The reason you want to use a brush to apply your bronzer and contour is that sponges tend to soak up a lot of product and don’t deposit as much as a brush does. And of course that’s not to mention that you will waste a lot of your product in the sponge if you try to use it to apply.

You want to use a synthetic, fluffy foundation stippling brush  for application. Synthetic brushes won’t absorb the product and deposits what you’ve picked up, so it gives you better coverage and no waste.

Make sure your brush is fluffy and soft, because spiky-tipped brushes will leave streaks.

Makeup sponges  are better for blending, once you’ve applied the product with your brush.

Do You Blend Your Contour Up Or Down?

Always blend up. If you blend down, you will ‘drag’ your cheekbones down. Blending down also tends to make it all look a bit muddy.

Always blend up. If you blend down, you will ‘drag’ your cheekbones down. Blending down also tends to make it all look a bit muddy.

When doing your forehead and temples, also make sure to blend the contour up into the hairline. This will help to minimize a prominent forehead and ensure that you won’t have a telltale line where your makeup stops.

Take away

So, can you use contour and bronzer at the same time? The answer is a resounding yes!

Once you understand the difference between the two and how to apply them, contour and bronzer are the powerhouse duo that will help you achieve a chiseled glow.

See also:

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).