Reddit just cleared up one of the most burning beauty questions

Emily Ratajkowski the difference between bronzing and contouring

Prepare to be confused no more

You’ve been following the same makeup steps forever and think you have it all pretty down pat. BUT we’ve come bearing bad news – you may actually be doing it wrong. Well, part of it anyway. 

On Reddit’s Makeup Addiction subreddit, a Redditor who goes by the name of broro117 asked fellow users, “Someone clear this up for me once and for all – when wearing both bronzer and contour, where do you put them? Or do you wear each one separately for different looks? Even after years of watching beauty videos, I have yet to find a definitive answer to this.”

We. Hear. You.

The difference between bronzing and contouring is pretty vague for most of us and sometimes you just never really know if you’re doing it right.

Fellow Redditors concurred that they too were unsure what the difference was between contouring and bronzing with one saying, “It confuses me too. The conclusion I come to is that contour is more defined at the cheekbones and bronzer can be applied on the actual cheeks and more liberally on the forehead than contour.”

It seems the general consensus on the thread is that bronzing and contouring are almost the same – but not quite. While it’s true that they both work to accentuate your features, there is, in fact, a bit of a difference.

A Redditor called lipstick-warrior explains that bronzing is about warming the skin, while contouring is about shaping and defining the structure of your face. “I would distinguish them by their purpose,” says lipstick-warrior.

“Bronzer is to make you look a little bit sun-kissed, so you want to apply it where the sun would fall on your face. Contour is used to make your bone structure look more defined, so it should be applied in the hollows of your face, the curve under your jaw, etc. (kind of the opposite of where the sun falls on your face).”

We feel like we’ve been totally schooled.

Another user named icantblend_in adds, “For bronzers you'll want warm tones and for contour you'll want cool tones to create shadows.”

More excellent advice.

Another key trick we learned is to not overdo it. Redditor bodyfitnow explains, “Unless you have a light bronzer it's usually not necessary to use both together but if you do then I'd use contour before applying bronzer.”

Bodyfitnow adds, “The contour goes on the top of your forehead by the hairline, in between your cheek and jawline (pucker and make fish lips to apply in that area) and underneath your chin on your neck. I think it's important to use illuminzer when contouring to brighten up the upper cheekbone, under eyes and a little on the nose, chin and above the eyebrows.”

How does the rest of your makeup routine stack up? Check out this article to see if you can spy any common makeup mistakes you could be making.

What do you think of this contouring vs. bronzer advice? Any other niggling makeup questions you need answered? Let us know in the comments below.

Main image credit: @emrata

Erin Docherty is a Contributing Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.