Featured Makeup What's the Difference?

What’s The Difference Wednesday

I’m one of those people who alllllways wants to know why. Call me a skeptic but I’ve never been so good at the “just trust me”s or the “because I said so”s. I want stats. I want photos. I want a reason.
So it occurred to me that I’m not alone in this. And as opposed to many other things that come with much more vague and less provable motivations, makeup is mostly visual and diffences can often be clearly demonstrated.
So I’m adding a new installment called “what’s the difference wednesday” where I don’t just give you a tip, I back it up with some evidence.

I presume some of you will think ‘hmm I don’t see a big difference’ (I imagine many of them will be subtle especially in photos). Or ‘I prefer the other way’. The beauty of that is there is no right or wrong answer. There’s a lot of taste and opinion involved in all of this stuff. But how can you decide if you like something or not if you can see what difference it actually makes. I’m kind of excited about it because I already know I’ll be learning a lot from hearing your opinions and assessments too. (hopefully some of you care about these little tweaks as much as I do haha)

If you want, check the photo out first to see if you can spot it! This is my beautiful sister and co-worker (she’s a marketing and beauty genius) Randi.

tancontour tipWhen you are using contouring to enhance and chisel out your features I recommend using a cool toned (ashy) color, I used Ash. It appears like a shadow would. You can then warm things up with blush or bronzer in the apples of the cheek if you like

When you are contouring to warm up the complexion and look sunkissed use a warm toned color. While it won’t necessarily create a shadow it will add a healthy glow.


opinionI prefer to use contouring to enhance bone structure. When I look at this photo the left hand side looks more natural, I don’t even notice the contour if anything I just notice the cheek, hers is beautiful. On the right side the makeup stands out more to me. I notice it. I think one reason for that is that naturally the sun wouldn’t hit the hallows of our cheek nearly as much as it would hit the apples so for someone to be most tan in the areas they are getting the least amount of sun is backwards.

So, what do you think? Do you see a difference?

And if there’s any tips you’ve gotten at any time of your life that you’d like to see in action PLEASE share them, I’ll take all the ideas I can get!


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  • Reply
    Susan Iseman
    April 27, 2016 at 4:25 am

    I think the left side looks more natural, so I agree with you!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Would you share what you used for contouring on the left side?

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 5:56 am

    I noticed a difference right away. I think th the left side looks more natural too.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 5:56 am

    I can’t figure out what an “ashy” tone is. When I think ashy I think gray-but there’s not gray makeup so I know I’m missing something. (Maybe this is a baseball makeup tip cause I feel like I should know this. ) can you help? ❤️

    • Reply
      April 27, 2016 at 7:05 am

      Sephora has a grey contour powder/blush called tranquil. It’s a Sephora brand product so it’s affordable. Check it out if you’re looking for a good ashy contour color.

    • Reply
      April 27, 2016 at 7:43 am

      In my opinion, “ashy” is the opposite of a “warm” tone. A lot bronzers are warm, which would be nice for someone with redish under tones, but I’m so pale this can be a struggle. My skin has blue undertones, so I need a contour shade that is “ashy”. I’ve been happy with Too Faced’s Chololate Solei line, but I’ve also seen many women with this issue use eyeshadow to contour instead of bronzer.

    • Reply
      April 27, 2016 at 7:48 am

      Ashy = gray or green undertone. Which sounds super weird, but it’s the color of a shadow that would naturally fall on your face. So, taupe = ashy. So is platinum blonde hair. Basically, the opposite of a warm, sunny golden color.

    • Reply
      April 27, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Think of a bronzer as a brown with some orange mixed in, and a contour as a brown with some gray mixed in. It’s easier to see the difference when the two are right next to each other. Check out a contour kit that has bronzer and contour right next to each other and it’ll be obvious. (I have the Smashbox Contour Kit. Not sure it’s worth the price, but it’s a good example of warm bronzer/cool contour…check it out online or the next time you’re in a Sephora-like shop.)

  • Reply
    Sarah D
    April 27, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Both sides are pretty, well, because she’s pretty But the left side “makes sense” and seems less heavy-handed. This was helpful and interesting. More please.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 6:09 am

    She is beautiful. I agree. The right side looks to made up. I have a question about using white or pearl on the inner corner of the eye. I have seen this in the past but not sure if it is a trend that has passed or still being used. Thanks! I love your Make Over Monday’s and think this will be a great addition.

    • Reply
      Sara Green
      April 27, 2016 at 11:01 am

      I did that before it was a trend, and will continue to put a dab of light on the inner corners of my eyes. It opens them up and makes your eyes big!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Agreed! She is pretty on all sides, but I prefer the cool toned side. More “natural” and appealing. Yellow toned can leave us looking orange-ish. Important consideration. Would love more “difference” posts.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 6:36 am

    This is an awesome post idea Cara!! Thank you!! I like the left side the best. The right side looks so pretty and beachy too. Best tip I. Have learned lately was from Allure magazine. Using a paper towel to blot your hair decreases drying time by a lot!!!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Cara your family is really, really, ridiculously goodlooking 🙂

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Great topic idea. I agree that orange/warm bronzer looks more noticeable and unnatural. (Think Johanna Gaines from fixer upper)
    FYI: please proof read above though. A posed –> opposed, I to I’m, I to it.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I totally agree that an ashier contour is best. That’s why I love your products! It’s so hard to find ashier contours!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I agree, the left side stands out to me. Can you post a video (like the old ones you used to do) showing step by step how to do that look along with the products you used? I so miss those videos!!!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I prefer the cool-toned contour. Looks more natural


  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Love this idea! The LEFT (cool toned contouring) looks better to me, too!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I think the choice cool vs warm/yellow depend on your skin color, if you have cool undertones choose cool make up to look more natural. If you don’t know which color you must choose, look at your wrist, are your veins blue or green? Blue = cool, green = warm. Choosing colors of your right tone assure you to look more natural.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I love the idea for the new installment!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 10:36 am

    This isn’t a tip just a general request – how is it that Keira Knightly’s face can look sort of flat and square and 2D in some pics and then, like in the party scene in Pride and Prejudice, it has so much dimension? I read somewhere that they basically just used lip gloss in that movie but that can’t be just gloss and good lighting?? I always think of her face in that movie when I think of contouring. She’s totally gorgeous either way, just curious!
    Thanks Cara!

  • Reply
    Heidi J
    April 27, 2016 at 10:47 am

    I agree that the left side looks more natural! I currently have an unused refill of stone… should I exchange it for ash if I want to get that look? I’ve been using stone and after looking at the picture I feel like I end up looking more like the right side.

  • Reply
    Robyn Wise (@WiseRmama)
    April 27, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I have both Ash and Walnut. I prefer Ash to contour and Walnut to bronze. I agree with you. The sun doesn’t hit under your cheekbones naturally, so why would we put bronzer there?

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Looks beautiful! What color of blush did you use on the left?

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    I didn’t notice the difference until you pointed it out but then I couldn’t stop seeing it. The cool toned contour really did look super natural and enhance her check bones. I’m excited for more of these posts because I learn so much!! 🙂 I love makeup, but I feel like I only have scratched the surface when it comes to tips and tricks and all that good stuff.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Left side! You always have such fun ideas! I am very visual, so I love the side by side comparison. Miss you!!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    This is brilliant, I definitely see a difference and it’s good to know what the different contours achieve. I definitely prefer the left side, especially cooler tones for myself as I have quite a round face. YOU look gorgeous either way, both suite you really nicely! Loved this! XO -Kim

  • Reply
    Melissa Scottorn
    April 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    That was a fun little makeup exercise!
    I noticed immediately that it changed the shape of her face. The cool contour created a defined cheek bone and more of an oval shape where the warm contour rounded her face out. I couldn’t stop staring. It was like an optical illusion….cause it is.

  • Reply
    Lilly Tanaka
    April 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I thought it was the blush! Haha. But I definitely like the left better.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    I like this concept for a weekly post!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Love this idea!! You just solved my current makeup dilemma. I’ve been using Stone to contour instead of my usual Bahama Mama, and I’ve felt like my face has seemed “full” lately. Bingo!! It’s a warm color, and I should be sticking with the ash! As usual, you rock, Cara!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 1:56 am

    This is a brilliant idea! I’ve always thought that I prefer more of a warm contour, but now looking at the photo the cold tone looks so much more natural and beautiful. xx


  • Reply
    Megan Lash
    April 28, 2016 at 10:33 am

    When I looked at the picture, I said one side has pink blush and one side has peach blush – shows how much I know, haha. I love this idea for a series, no matter what topics you choose to cover, but maybe you could throw in color correcting for redness and dark circles, ie, here’s a cheek with green corrector under the foundation and a cheek with just foundation. A purely selfish request since I have rosacea 🙂

  • Reply
    Vicki pet
    April 28, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Out of curiosity, is the placement of cintour also different on the right? It seems like it is on the cheekbone as opposed to underneath. Also, this post inspired me to start using my ash contour over my stone until summer comes and I’m tan again 🙂

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    This is great to have a visual. The thing I really noticed is how the contour on the left “lifts” her cheek, while the contour on the right drags her cheek down. The left side is beautiful and youthful. So pretty!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Yes! I have been feeling this exact thing using Walnut and I’ve wanted more contouring. Do you suggest Ash or will it be too dark for my fair-ish skin?

  • Reply
    April 29, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I really like your new casual, more approachable but still as gorgeous (new) blogger photo and that you switched the theme entirely. I like the side bar on the right better 🙂
    I really appreciate your contour tips here. I will be using them more effectively next time I use my IIID pallet.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Love this as a new series! However I’m a little confused. Do you still recommend using the contour/foundation color (I use Stone) for general contour (along chin, a little down the neck, and around the face depending on face shape)? And then going back with the ashy color under cheeks and nose only? Or does the ashy color go along the chin/down neck too? That doesn’t seem right and doesn’t look it in the picture.
    Just makes me think I need to use my Ash color more! I’m always afraid it looks like dirt on my face and need to be careful to avoid being heavy-handed

    • Reply
      May 6, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      I am also confused now as I use walnut for the contour part due to my skin tone and I follow the face diagram included with the makeup — so I contour under my cheek on the hollow with the walnut color. I am on the fair side and have never gotten Ash since I am not olive toned. Soooo does this mean I need to contour below my cheek bone ( in the hollow) with Ash instead of Walnut regardless of my skin tone? Or am I acheiving this look ( from the lefthand side of the picture ) just by using your makeup line and using my correct contour shade of Walnut.
      Cara please clarify this!!! 🙂 As I love this post and want to acheive this lovely look on a daily basis as its so fresh and lovely!

  • Reply
    May 1, 2016 at 4:32 am

    I too like the left side. Fun idea for future posts! It almost looks like the right side is ‘heavier’ and drawn down, and the left side is uplifted. Crazy how different colours and shades can do that!

  • Reply
    Emily Travis
    June 14, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    How about curled eyelashes? I never notice a difference… Also cat-eye wing placement! I never know where to do it exactly… Finally – adding bronzer to a contoured look – where should it go?

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