Contouring has been around in professional makeup since the industry first came into existence. Using colors and textures to help shape a person’s face is an art form; you want to literally and figuratively highlight the assets a person possesses and use color and texture to camouflage flaws. This all began with Max Factor Sr., who worked on Hollywood starlets before they took to the sound stage, and in 1945, he produced the first-ever contouring tutorial.
Contouring has been around for a long time. Still, the average modern makeup user probably only heard of it in all its glory as drag performance became more publicized on TV and when the Kardashians hit our screens. These performers and personalities use color, light, shade, and texture to help achieve perfectly sculpted faces, necks, and décolletages that most people can only dream of. If this looks like something you’d like to try your hand at, we’ve got the perfect tips for you.
How to Contour Like a Pro
If you’re purchasing face makeup products regularly, you know that there are many of them out there. The idea of starting to contour can instill fear into the heat of a novice, but it’s not as complicated as it’s made out to be. You need to ensure, first and foremost, that the brushes and products you’re using are of high quality, that they’re good for your skin, and that they’re a good match for your skin tone. Your makeup look will only be as high a quality as the tools you use.
Now for the business of understanding tones. You need to understand what the tones of your foundation (a product that will cover most of the face) and contour (the shadow colors you will use to carve out the shape of your face) are. You also need to know your highlights — which are the lightest colors you’ll use to bring points of your face into the greatest prominence.
Understand Your Skin Tone
If you are still determining whether cool or warm tones will be better for your skin, ask the assistant at your favorite makeup store to help you figure that out because this will inform the colors you purchase and use. Cooler tones offer more definition, and warmer tones provide a slightly more natural look. If you are a beginner, cream contour is far easier to apply and learn with, and it is what we recommend above all other products. Choose a powder highlighter, setting agent, and blush to complement the cream contour base.
How to Apply Your Contour
Now we come to application — the real business of contouring. The cardinal rule is that less is more. Don’t draw huge, fat lines onto your face in your contour and highlight colors. Remember that you probably need less product than you think. If you’ve applied too little, you can always add more, but if you use too much, you might have to wipe it all off and start again.
Begin with your foundation product if you choose to use one — not everyone does, and some people prefer a lighter feel and less coverage, so only apply contour and highlight colors.
Start with highlighting – and by highlighting; we mean using a lighter concealer rather than a sparkly highlighter (that comes later).
Dot color under your eyes, onto the highest points of your cheekbones, chin, and the middle of your forehead.
Blend, Blend, Blend
Blending is the one action that takes contouring from face paint into natural-looking light and shadows.
Next, do the same with your shadow color: dot it under the highest point of your cheekbones at an angle that lifts the cheekbone up.
Dot into the sides of your nose to slim and shape it.
Dot underneath your chin, along your hairline, and at your temples.
Now it’s time to blend again!
Set It All in Place
Set all of the cream products you have applied with a powder foundation or translucent setting powder, depending on your preference for coverage. Next, reach for your powder blusher and dust over your shadow contour rather than just onto the apples of your cheeks. If you like a sunkissed look, brush a little lusher over the bridge of your nose. Apply a powder highlighter to the tip and length of the bridge of your nose, cheekbones, cupid’s bow, and a tiny bit on the middle of your forehead. Set once more with a setting spray, and you’re all done!
It helps to think of contouring as a color-by-numbers project. Specific numbers are dark, certain colors are light, and others are neutral: all you need to do is fill in the colors in the right places and blend them well, and you’re good to go.
Contouring is the way to the face of your dreams without costly and often painful surgeries. Contouring offers you a chance to become an artist and a sculptor and remake yourself anew every day! It’s artistry that you can learn and a craft you can hone until you execute it to perfection.