The Basics of Contouring

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Contouring has been a makeup trend for a while now thanks to the Kardashians and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon. Initially a must for drag queens and makeup artists, it is now a technique that everyone’s aware of, so what is it?

Quite often when using foundation alone you lose the natural dimensions of your face because using one shade of colour makes your face flat. In reality no one’s face is just one shade, and contouring and highlighting rectifies this. Whether you are after a dramatic look or a more natural finish, contouring can really bring a look together if it’s done right.

To contour, you take a product a shade or two darker than your skin tone and apply it to areas of the face to create the illusion of a slimmer shape using shadows. These are typically areas where shadows would naturally fall such as below the cheekbones, sides of the nose and temple.

You can’t talk about contouring without mentioning highlighting too. Highlighting is the opposite. Take product a shade or two lighter than your skin tone and apply it to the areas of the face that light naturally hits – the highpoints of your face. These are the forehead, bridge of the nose and under eyes. The two draw attention to each other.

Using powder or crème products alone will give a more subtle “every day look”.  If you have oily skin I would opt for powders whilst people with dry skin may find crème products easier to work with. For a more dramatic look, layer powder product over crème product.

5 Tips For Flawless Contouring

1)   Opt for a cool tone colour to contour, especially under the cheekbone and along the sides of the nose. Warm colours are for bronzing, and so used together the contour can sometimes look “muddy”.

2)   Start with a little product and build the colour up as you see fit. Especially when working with crème products, they can set and wont move once they do. Once you have too much product on your face it’s very difficult to fix, and again you have the tendency to look “muddy”.

3)   Using an angled brush is very helpful in giving a more natural look and blending out product simply because the shape of the brush means that more pressure is applied at the base of the brush so more product is deposited there. Also, smaller brushes give you more control and fluffier brushes give a softer look.

4)   If you take the handle of your contour brush and press gently underneath your cheekbone you will be able to see the area where you should apply your cheek contour as it will sit in the hollow of your cheek.

5)   Blending is key. You want to create seamless shadow – you shouldn’t be able to tell where your contour starts and finishes.

I used crème contour to make it is easier to see the placement of the colours. If you opt to use a powder contour (which I do most of the time) apply the colour in the same places. I didn’t have a powder the same colour as my highlight so I used translucent powder to set those areas, however a coloured powder would make them stand out even more.

By Amara Lawrence

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