Woman contouring her cheekbone with a fluffy angled brush.

Face shading became a big trend in the 2010s with the astronomical rise of what was dubbed the “Instagram face.” Now, it’s back in the spotlight. Makeup mavens are dipping their brushes into bronzer and contour palettes to get that “snatched” look. Wait – what are the differences between bronzer vs. contour, you might ask? They’re like identical brown shades, NGL. But ahead, we’ll break down what each product is and, most importantly, how to use them correctly.

Bronzer vs. Contour: They’re Sisters, Not Twins

The simplest way to differentiate bronzer vs. contour is the former warms up the skin while the latter sculpts and defines the shape of your face. One is supposed to mimic how the sun hits the skin, whereas the other creates shadows to enhance bone structure. They may look similar but they serve different purposes.

Typically, bronzer has a warmer color than contour to deliver that . It doesn’t necessarily mean all bronzers have red undertones and contours come in only grayish hues. Both products have a range of shades that cover cool, neutral, and olive complexions.

As for the finish, contour is always matte since it’s used to bring depth to your face. You don’t want people to notice it outright. Bronzer, on the other hand, can be matte, dewy, and satin-like. Some products even add a small amount of shimmer for a natural-looking glow.

How to Use Bronzer

The most awesome thing about bronzer is its application is pretty straightforward. Sweep it around the perimeter of your face with a fluffy brush, then blend upwards into the hairline to make everything smooth.

You can also use bronzer as an eyeshadow (see: ) for a monochromatic look. If you want to fake a nice “I-spent-weekends-on-Boracay” tan, applying it to the tip of your nose and the hollows of your neck is another genius trick from pro makeup artists.

How to Use Contour

With contour shading, a light touch is all you need. It’s not as forgiving as bronzer, but the payoff is well worth the effort.

Different face shapes require different . But generally, the shadows are placed under the cheekbones, right on the jawline, and along the sides of the nose. Use a curved blending brush for the large areas on the face and a small precision brush for the smaller areas, like the nose, eyes, and philtrum.

Blend with a clean cheek brush or use your fingers to blur harsh lines. Then, buff a highlighter on top of the high points of your face to accentuate your contour.

Should You Use Both?

We’ve covered the deets on bronzer vs. contour. The next debate: Can you wear them together? Sure, you can put on both bronzer and contour, but there’s a technique to it.

First, with a toner or moisturizer and SPF. Creasing, piling, and completely ruin your look, so let's avoid that. Use POND'S UV Hydrate Sunscreen underneath your makeup. It has SPF 50 PA++++ to protect against UVA and UVB, plus hyaluron to keep your skin hydrated.

Apply contour before bronzing your complexion. A dusting of bronzer helps soften your contour, so you won’t appear too ashy. After that, and amp up the glow with a highlighter.

Of course, you’re free to choose between bronzer vs. contour (or neither!) for daily looks. But if you’re going for a total glam, there’s no better combo. Wear whatever makes you the most confident. You do you!