Contouring is key, but in a more subtle way rather than the overdone techniques made so popular by Kim K. and the alike. Even the no makeup look includes contouring of the face.

First, let me define facial contouring… Contouring the face is a technique of using a light highlighter and dark contour makeup in a cream or powder form on specific areas of the face to give the illusion of changing or improving that feature. Light highlighters will brighten and bring features forward, dark contouring will shade and draw features back.

Why do we contour? When contouring is done correctly it can draw emphasis on your natural beauty and give the illusion of reshaping unwanted facial features. Contouring can slim down a round face or make a full nose look thinner and create the illusion of a more lifted and fuller cheekbone. If you want your cheeks to pop and appear more rounded and full you would use dark shading under the cheekbone and apply a highlighter to the top of the cheekbone, both blended into your blush. But, be sure to keep the edges soft and without harsh lines. We still want to make an impact with contouring, but the days of the hard chiseled look are done.

Contouring takes practice. Choose a contouring pallet that comes with a highlighter, contour and blush combination in either a cream or powder form. Sit in front of the mirror and experiment with creating highlights and shadows on the face and see how it changes your appearance. Try creating a thinner nose by applying the dark contour all the way down the sides of the nose and across the bottom of the tip. Then, apply a thin line of highlighter straight down the top of the nose. This will look exaggerated and strange at first but after you blend the edges you will see a thinner nose in the mirror.   

If you are using cream contouring products you will apply them over your foundation using a foundation brush. Next, you will blend using a beauty blender or your fingers by tapping along the edges of the product and set with a finishing powder. If you are using a powder pallet, you will apply over the foundation using a fluffy angled brush and work in light short strokes. When selecting your brushes you will want a smaller brush for small areas like your nose, and a larger brush for bigger areas like your cheeks, forehead, along the jaw line and chest.

Contouring techniques can also be done using bronzer to give a pop of glow along the shoulders, collarbone and down the legs. If you want to master contouring for your specific facial features and body then consult with a professional makeup artist. I don’t see this trend going away anytime soon. Videos and diagrams can be very helpful and there are plenty out there to view. But, every face and body is different and each shape requires a specific technique. You won’t regret perfecting this technique and reaping the benefits of great contouring.

photo credit / Duke Morse Photography