Pssst… have you heard about contouring? It was the editorial makeup artist’s best kept secret until recently, when Kim Kardashian catapulted the method in to the spotlight after uploading a selfie that showed her midway through the process. Ever since, the general public have been clamoring to learn more about this fantastic technique.
Until recently, you’d only find contouring on the runway or at a magazine photoshoot. It was used to add definition, sculpt cheekbones and enhance natural features under harsh lighting bulbs. Now you’ll find tips and tricks gracing the pages of magazines and beauty blogs (like this one!).
Although it’s recently surged in popularity, contouring is nothing new. If you look carefully, you’ll notice of contoured models and superstars on magazine covers dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.
First things first, which type of look are you trying to achieve? Are you opting for a natural, every day look? Or something more dramatic with fuller coverage (perhaps for an event, like a wedding or big night out?)
For the former, use contouring powders over your usual makeup base. They’ll give a light, wearable finish.
Full on ‘dramatic’ looks require liquid (also known as cream) contouring products. They’re typically heavier, but achieve a flawless finish. Perfect if you need to be photo ready.
We recommend: W7 Cosmetics “Catwalk Face” two colour contouring kit, £4.50.
There are plenty of top tips for contouring on YouTube, but we recommend the following method for beginners.
- Apply your base (primer, foundation, concealer) as normal
- Using the darker contouring cream or powder, trace the letter “E” across your face, sweeping the brush down from your hairline, across your cheekbones and then down along your jaw.
- Now, load your brush with highlighting cream. Draw a letter ‘C’ above your brows, ending on top of the cheekbones.
- Using a large face powder brush or beauty sponge, blend the two colours together thoroughly. Blend in a gentle circular motion.
- Finish your look as normal by setting your makeup with translucent powder.
- Add your blusher, bronzer, eyeliner and mascara as normal.
Top tip: Good contouring is all about illusion, so it is meant to be subtle. Ideally, other people should not be able to see you’re wearing it. Apply small amounts of contouring liquid or powder, and build it up gradually until you’re happy with the final effect.