MAC PRO Master Class: Sculpting The Face

I am sure most of you have heard of the concept of contouring and highlighting. Sure it may sound simple but when it comes down to actually doing it, it takes a lot more than just practice, which is why I attended my first MAC Pro Master Class, Sculpting The Face, by MAC senior makeup artist Victor Cembellin, to freshen up my skills and to pick up new tips.

Victor defines contouring as “using the principles of light and dark to create/enhance dimension”. Light colors will highlight features, make larger, emphasize and make more prominent, whereas dark colors will shade, create shadow, minimize, reduce/recede features and create the illusion of depth.

Areas To Contour:
* Under the cheekbones
* Jaw line
* Sides of the nose
* Socket of the eye/crease
* Temples
* Lips
* Sides of the forehead
* Contours of the body

Areas To Highlight
* Bridge of nose
* Center of the forehead
* High cheekbones
* Under the eyes
* Eyelid/ Brow bone
* Chin
* Lips
* Back of the jaw
* Highlights on the body

Below are some of the key tips from Victor:

* “Have purpose behind every brush stroke.” This is very important because every face is different and the last thing you want to do is contour/highlight robotically (as Victor likes to call it), i.e. following the so-called rules of makeup and contouring/highlighting features you are “supposed to”, instead of actually looking at the person and contouring/highlighting accordingly.

* Examine your face thoroughly from every angle. Just because your makeup looks good from the front may not mean it would look good from the side. Make sure you check your makeup from different angles before you step out the door.

* Mix warm colors with cool colors. Victor loves using a peachy/pink-based concealer with a golden-based foundation.

* Since lighting can change everything, you need to figure out how you or your subject will be lit.

Victor and his partner Dana also did two great demonstrations using liquid vs powder products. Stay tuned for the pics and more tips!

To see my haul from the Pro store, click here.

Read more about The Basics of Contouring and Highlighting.

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. Hi Phyllis! Are there general guidelines for certain facial types to follow? I’m Chinese and got a similar facial structure to you and I’ve noticed that the highlighting/contouring rules they use for faces of European ancestry don’t work for me.

  2. Hello Phyllis! I totally agree with Emily. Our facial structure is a lot different….i would love to hear more of your creative ideas on this area!

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