SO YOU'VE BOUGHT THE CONTOURING KIT.... NOW WHAT?
By Alina Anjum.
I know what you’re going through- looking at your contour kit, realizing for the first time how many different shades of brown exist - mocha, pecan coffee, cinnamon, chocolate (do brands purposefully name all their shades after dessert flavours, I wonder?), and feeling totally intimidated. You think to yourself, how do the pros flawlessly carve out cheekbones so sharp they can cut through glass? How do models look perfectly snatched, when us mere mortals end up looking like we smeared our cheeks with a line of dirt? Should you just head back to the makeup counter, and return this palette whose power you clearly aren’t ready to wield?
Of course not! Contouring is perhaps the single most useful skill anyone can have in her beauty repertoire- there’s a reason all the Hollywood big-shots swear by it - a little contour can go a long way, and you, girl, are going to be red-carpet ready once you learn.
Where To Begin:
O.K, so we’ve all seen those little diagrams where they show you how to contour, by demonstrating on an already chiselled face- well, forget what you know, because there is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to this. Sit in front of your mirror, and observe your face- what makes it unique? What are your best features? Pick what areas you think need the greatest definition, and what you want to emphasise. Contouring isn’t about changing your face- it’s about working with your natural beauty, and finding what works best for you with strategic brush strokes- kind of like a painting!
Finding your match:
Pick a matte shade (never shimmer) that is two to three shades darker than your natural skin-tone, to build your contour. If you have cool undertones, search for a taupe shade- and if you have warm undertones, search for a product with a reddish-clay colour. The key is to create the illusion of depth. For dry skin, opt for a cream contour- and as for oily skin, favour a powder contour instead.
This Makeup Revolution and Max Factor contour palettes are great for beginners as they give you plenty of colour options
How to Work It:
If you’re going for a dramatic look- layer your contour over your foundation, before blending it out with a fluffy angled brush. But- if you want a more natural day-time look, apply your contour on prepped skin, before blending it into your skin with a beauty sponge or clean fingers, before you apply foundation. This will create a more subtle shadow.
Good quality tools make all the difference, like this Morphe brush set or Real Techniques sponges
Where Do I Begin?
The most basic stepping stone for contour is starting below the cheekbone- trace its shape, and gently blend with upward strokes. You can also follow along your jawline and hairline. Other areas that can be emphasised are your eyelids, and the sides and tip of your nose - using a smaller, fluffy brush.
So, here’s a little 4 Step Summary of how to effortlessly add the neat little trick of contouring to your regular old makeup routine-
- Prep your skin as you normally would- moisturize, and be sure to use primer, to make sure your makeup lasts!
- Highlight your cheekbones, brow bone, and the inner corner of your eyes- and apply concealer or foundation. Blend it out with a brush, or a damp makeup sponge.
- Apply your contour as suits you- you can define your jaw, and add a subtle shadow along your cheekbones with an angled contour brush, and use a smaller shading brush for areas like your nose or eyelids.
- Finally, sweep some transparent powder over your T-zone, or use a setting spray to bring everything together. Happy Contouring!