Do you suspect that your makeup routine needs a refresher course? Maybe it’s time to consider the benefits of facial contouring.
Contouring is a makeup technique designed to make faces look more angular or slim by creating contrasting, shaded areas. Think about pictures taken in studio lighting; one reason they’re so flattering is because good lighting creates shadows that accentuate the shape of the face.
Contouring in its most basic sense is all about highlighting and low-lighting your face—creating shadows with makeup. Doing this helps create higher cheekbones, a stronger jaw, a thinner face, and even a slimmer nose.
Contouring will involve a few things you might not already have in your makeup bag. In addition to the foundation you already have, you will need to purchase a matte foundation three or four shades darker than normal. Try to stick to the same types of foundation—if you normally use powder, find a contouring shade in powder (same for cream and liquid). Mixing types can make everything cakey and hard to blend.
To highlight, pick a foundation only one or two shades lighter. It can be matte or shimmery.
You will also need a few applicators. For everyday application, a medium-sized foundation brush and a high-quality sponge blender will work. A kabuki powder brush is very helpful if you choose powder foundation.
Step 1: Always start with a clean, moisturized face. Apply your foundation as usual.
Step 2: Find the hollow of your cheeks by sucking them in (make a fish face). This is where you will create your first shadow.
Step 3: Start above your brow and move down in a C-shape (make a “C” with your hand and place it the “C” around your brow and bottom of your cheekbones). Now you have the general shape.
Step 4: Load your brush with some of the darker foundation and apply it to your face in the shape your hand made. Make the bottom of the “C” that is in your cheek hollow a diagonal, towards your lips. Try to only use a little at first. It is much easier to apply more later if you want a more striking shadow.
Step 5: Make a “C” again, but smaller. Place the top in the hollow of your cheek and the bottom slightly above your jaw line. Apply the darker foundation here. As a whole, it should look like a capital “E.”
Step 6: Blend, blend, blend. You shouldn’t see hard lines anywhere.
Step 7: Time to highlight! Take the lighter color and apply it with a clean brush under your eyes and above your cheekbones. Don’t mix it with the contouring color.
Step 8: Blend, blend, blend again. NO hard lines. When using a powder, this is where that kabuki brush comes in handy.
Step 9: Continue with your makeup routine as normal, using a setting spray to make all your hard work last.
Congrats! You’ve successfully contoured! Be sure to play around with the techniques; practice until you have the exact look you want.