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The Art Of Contouring

Updated on April 10, 2015

Contouring is the new craze sweeping the make up world, although contouring in itself as been around for many years in the film industry, on the catwalk and in fashion magazines. However with people like Kim Kardashian posting pictures of themselves midway through their makeup regime, beauty and lifestyle blogs and ‘YouTube’ tutorials becoming more popular online; more and more people are using this technique to achieve stunning results with their everyday look.

Why Contour?

The whole point of contouring is to highlight, enhance and define areas that you want to stand out with makeup.

What Do You Need Get To Start Contouring

Firstly, you will need to decide whether you are going to use a cream/liquid based contouring product or a powder based one. Cream/liquid based products are often a lot easier to blend, so if you are new to blending techniques or are not confident with achieving a flawless look, contour colours that are cream/liquid based a probably the best for you.

Many makeup companies have their own contouring products, so it is now easier to find the perfect shades for you. When going for a more natural look a general rule of thumb when picking your contouring colour use a colour 2-3 shades darker than your natural skin tone and 1-2 lighter for your highlighter. If you want a more dramatic look, a contouring colour that is 3-5 shades darker can be used; whatever look you are going for blending is necessary.

Some people use a bronzer as their contouring colour, but this is not advised if you do not have tanned skin. Avoid anything shimmery for your contour; contours should always be matt, save the shimmers for your highlights.

Where possible use natural products such as mineral powders or liquid mineral concealer as they are better of your skin especially if you have problem skin, and they are easy to blend also.

Brushes are very important if you want a flawless look. A fluffy eye shadow brush will help apply the product precisely and helps to avoid putting on too much. A fan brush also helps with precision but also gives an airbrushed finish to your look. You can also use an angled foundation or concealer brush and a beauty blender if you wish, however, be sure to moisten the beauty blender before use, as it will blend better.

Where To Contour

Before you start contouring, you will need to decide where you want to contour. If you already have sharp cheekbones you will not need to contour them, so concentrate on the areas you want to accentuate. Maybe you want your nose to look slimmer, or you wish to sharpen your jawline or you may want the illusion of a smaller forehead. Remember the darker shade essentially ‘hide’ areas by creating the illusion of a shadow whereas the light shade highlight and make areas more prominent.

How To Start Contouring

Always contour after you have applied your regular concealer and foundation; if you are contouring the whole of your face follow the instructions below, if there are parts of your face that do not need contouring follow the parts that pertain to you.

To start with take the lighter (highlight) shade and apply it to your under eye area, the tops of your cheeks, under the brow bone, the bridge of your nose, in an upside down triangle on your forehead, your cupids bow and chin. Blend well into the surrounding areas.

Next apply the darker shade along the hollow of your cheek bone, along the nose, under the chin, along the hairline and temple area. Blend the edges gently into the surrounding area one section at a time.

If you are using a cream/liquid based contouring product, set it with a translucent setting powder, this can be the white or tinted powder which ever is your preference.

End Note

So to recap, for the best contouring results, pick the right product and shade for your skin, and for the overall look you wish to achieve. Decide where you need to contour, use the right tools for the job and finally, blend like your life depends on it and you will achieve flawless results every time.


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