Should You Use Contour or Bronzer?

Should You Use Contour or Bronzer? | Everyday with CEA | Contour and bronzer tend to be interchangeable in the beauty world - but they actually have different purposes. Which one should you use?

For a while, contour seemed like a trend but now it seems that it’s here to stay.  Probably because we’ve learned of its magic powers for creating definitions and sculpting our faces. Personally, I didn’t use to use contour. It seemed like an extra step and I didn’t want to take the time. I loved bronzer and that seemed like enough for me. But, since using my Seint cream makeup, I’ve been contouring and love the way both products complement each other. Application with the Seint makeup is so easy and quick that it doesn’t feel like a whole extra step. Plus, I love how it looks on my skin! If you haven’t been introduced to the magic that is Seint Beauty – more on that in the future (or visit my Instagram account for more!). But, for today – should you use contour or bronzer?

Contour or Bronzer

First, what is the difference? The terms tend to be interchangeable in the beauty world,  but they actually have different purposes. 

Contour is generally a cooler, ashier tone used to sculpt the face by creating shadows where it is applied. Where it’s applied depends on face shape and personal preference, but typically along the jawline, cheekbones, temples, and the sides and tip of the nose. This is the trick people use when they say give themselves a nose job with makeup – contour along the sides creates a shadow which causes the nose to appear slimmer. 

Bronzer is generally a warmer tone used to add warmth or a sunkissed glow to the face. It used to be suggested to apply bronzer in the shape of a 3 on the side of your face – so forehead, cheekbone, and jawline. But, more recently I’ve seen it suggested to apply where the sun would naturally hit the face – like the middle of the forehead, bridge of the nose, and cheeks. Honestly, I like this better. Especially if you also contour, you don’t need to put both products in the same places. I also like to use a bronzer down my neck a bit to even out my skin tone, especially after self-tanning. It can also be used on collar bones and chest – wherever needs a little warmth.

(contour shades are on the left, bronzer shades are on the right)

Which to Use

So, which one do you need, contour or bronzer? It depends on your preference. You can definitely use both, or one or the other. Lately, I’ve been using a contour but not a bronzer. But, maybe tomorrow I’ll want some extra warmth as my self-tan fades. 

If you want to have a sculpted look to your cheekbones – use contour.

Center of your face to look sunkissed? Use bronzer.

If you want both – use both. There’s not a rule – it’s whatever look you like!


Just contour in the left picture, just bronzer in the right picture


Bronzers can be cool-toned as well – but they are still meant to add warmth to the skin. Maybe you want to be a bronzed goddess but prefer cool shades with your skin tone – a cool-toned bronzer could be perfect.

This is where marketing and packaging on products can be a little confusing. I’ve seen contour palettes that have a warmer product that will not create the shadow we are looking for.  So, just be sure you are using the right product for your desired effect. Some bronzers have shimmer, some are matte. Again, it’s a preference.

If a product is too dark, it can look muddy on the skin. If you notice this happening try a lighter shade. A general rule is 2 shades darker than your skin tone.

If a product looks orange, it’s too warm. Try something more neutral. 

Always blend, blend, blend whether it’s contour or bronzer. If you apply the product near the hairline – make sure to blend it into the hair so it doesn’t noticeably stop and create a line. We want you to look flawless and blended!

Do you use contour or bronzer?