How To Master Contouring

How To Master Contouring

Contouring: it’s an art form that paints a new visage upon the blank canvas of the human face, bending light and shade to mould features into new dimensions. Contouring is a tool of illusion, the magician’s kit of the beauty world, able to sculpt, refine, and even redefine one’s appearance with a few strategically applied brush sweeps. But as this makeup technique etches deeper into the mainstream consciousness, it’s essential to consider its relationship to our beautifully diverse, multi-ethnic world. This is not just about hues and shades that populate the cosmetics aisle; it’s about acknowledging and celebrating every distinct bone structure, skin tone, and cultural background to which they will be applied.

We have a kaleidoscope of ethnicities, with each group boasting its unique aesthetic and style. Over centuries, this rich tapestry has been woven with the threads of countless cultures and peoples, making the UK one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. This diversity extends to beauty, and makeup contouring is no exception.

Across cultures, contouring techniques and philosophies vary as greatly as the people they beautify. For instance, East Asian makeup often leans towards a softer contour to maintain the natural structure of their features. At the same time, African and Afro-Caribbean beauty trends often use stronger, more dramatic contours to highlight their naturally prominent features. Finally, the Western contouring style, heavily popularised by social media, leans more towards a transformative approach, seeking to create sharp, defined features.

As we delve deeper into the relationship between makeup contouring and multi-ethnic groups, we must remember that it’s not about replacing one form of beauty with another but about understanding and celebrating the complex, multitudinous forms of beauty that exist in our world. Furthermore, it’s about recognising that every ethnicity carries its unique contour, and beauty products and techniques must evolve to capture this richly diverse landscape.

Cheat Your Way To A Chiselled Look

Makeup contouring, the technique of using shading, can enhance and define facial features however you like. Beginners would be pleased to know that it is less complicated than it might seem at first and you only need two products. A highlighter, which should be two shades lighter than your natural skin tone, is used to brighten the skin area and make it more prominent. A shader, that is slightly darker than the colour of your skin.

Whether you decide to use a cream or powder product, the golden rule is to keep it consistent. Layering different textures can cause a caked-on effect and it will be difficult to blend. Select the formula based on your skin type and texture. If your makeup tends to settle into fine lines or you have dry skin, go with a cream contour. If you have an oilier skin type or you want a matte finish, use a powder.

It is important to arm yourself with the correct tools for the best results. If you are working with powder, use a brush for full control but be sure to tap it to remove excess product before application. For liquids or creams, it is best to blend with a dampened cosmetic sponge or use your fingertips to warm and melt the makeup for a seamless finish.
Master Contouring

First, prepare the skin with a moisturiser and a makeup primer followed by your normal complexion makeup, whether that is the foundation, tinted moisturiser, BB cream.  Your face shape and facial features will determine the best way to contour your face. The general idea is to shade the areas you want to sculpt and highlight those you want to accentuate.  The key to mastering the technique is to follow the shadows of your face. Typically, you should contour below your cheekbone, down the length of your nose on either side, around your hairline and along your jawline.

Master Contouring

Starting from your ear, shade just below the cheekbone on both sides of your face, towards your mouth at a 45-degree, stopping in line with your pupil. The widest part of the contour line should be closest to the hairline and the thinnest towards the end. It should look almost tapered. Blend, follow the line and add more product if you desire a more sculptured look.

Apply a highlighter along the tops of your cheekbones to accentuate. For powder formulas, use a flat brush as its packed bristles hold more powder and will distribute evenly on the skin.

To define the jawline and slim down the neck, apply the dark contour along the length of your jaw and around your chin. Blend downwards to create a flawless shadow. For a subtle sculpture, use an angled brush to hug the natural contours of your face and blend back and forth.

To make your forehead appear smaller apply the darker shade up into your hairline until fully blended. Using the same applicator, bring down towards your temples to create the illusion of a slimmer face.
To make your nose appear smaller, using a small angled brush, start at the inner corners of your eyebrows and paint a thin line down towards the tip. Repeat on the other side of your nose. Blend outwards. Apply the highlighter down the bridge of the nose to the tip.

Once you have fully blended your makeup, ensuring that you have no harsh lines, the final stage is to set your T-zone with setting powder and then mist your face with a setting spray.

Remember, like the lines we trace on our faces, the contouring journey curves back to its genesis: the individual. We’ve traversed the terrain of your face, charting the valleys, peaks, and planes that make you distinctively you. Yet, this journey is not solely about physical transformation. It’s about embracing your unique self, understanding the language of your features, and amplifying your natural beauty. Contouring is an act of empowerment, a testament to the infinite faces of beauty that exist within us all. It’s a narrative sculpted in light and shadow, whispering the tale of diversity and individuality. So, keep exploring, keep experimenting, and let your contour speak volumes. After all, every face is a masterpiece, waiting to be illuminated by the magic of contouring.


Main image: De La Renta –Imaxtree

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