Contouring for Dummies
I feel like contouring has gone bonkers amongst beauty buffs the world over. I had heard of the special art of creating cheekbones and slimming chins known as contouring a while ago, but rarely attempted it and I certainly didn't hear it discussed outside of beauty blogs/magazines/experts. Needless to say, it seems to not only have become my standard conversation starter of choice, but it's also formed a special place in my daily make up routine. Yes, not a day goes by when I don't reach for my sculpting brush and matte bronzer to powder my way to chiselled cheekbones a la Kate Moss.....the transformation isn't exactly as, well, transforming as I want it to be, but it's bloody good fun and no one can deny the pleasure of looking in a mirror and seeing your formerly rounded face sporting a pair of razor sharp cheekbones.
I've noticed a barrage of products designed specifically for contouring, but you know what? You don't need to buy stacks of different products, or splash out on fancy palettes designed for the task as chances are, you have all you need in your makeup bag already. Even if you don't, you only need two products for a basic contour....3 if you wanna get flashy and 5 if you are doing the whole shebang.
Number 1 - you need a contouring powder. Now, said powder needs to essentially put shadows where you don't naturally have them....i.e in the hollows of your cheeks. So the only two requirements for this product are that it's slightly darker than your natural base, and that it's matt....what could that possibly be?! Yes, I'm talking about a bronzer. If you are a bronze addict like me you will have several, some will be shimmery and have verious tones to them, some will be darker (for your summer skin) and you may have one that is a much lighter tone for, ahem pasty, skin. It doesn't matter wether it's powder, liquid or cream -- it just needs to be matte and darker than your foundation. Simple!
Once you have secured this elusive bronzer (see here for my favourite bronzers to contouring), you need a brush. A big fat brush won't work because you need to create cheekbones, not gaunt holes in your face. I use a Real Techniques brush which is the perfect size for my cheekbones and has a great slant. There are stacks of cheaper options out there, so you don't need anything too fancy....but if you want budget - I would personally only go for Real Techniques (you can buy them in Superdrug/Boots).
Once you have these two products and after you have applied your base (if your bronzer is liquid/cream don't apply powder before you put it on - you will end up with a funny mottled effect on your skin) swirl your brush in your chosen bronzer and lightly start building up a shadow under your cheekbones. (If you can't find them, this video from ViviannaDoesMakeup will help). Keep building it up until you are happy with the results and then blend, blend and blend some more.
It's as simple as that! If you want to leave it there, just add some blush to your cheekbones and be on your merry way.
If, however, you would like to take things a step further....just a little step mind.....then add some highlighter to the tops of cheekbones (stay away from your undereye though), temples, bridge of your nose and your cupids bow. I use a few different highlighters, and most of them are cream (I only have two powder highlighters!) and you get different effects with all of them so play about a bit and see what you like best. I personally like cream for daytime and only use powder of an evening as it's that bit harder to do subtly (when you are as heavy handed as I am anyway). Obviously you need a brush for powder - a small stubby, flat one is best.
If you are happy to leave it at that, Et voila! If not........
This is where it gets that bit more complex. I've heard that Naomi Campbell is an absolute whizz at doing this, and you'll notice that Beyonce and Kim Kardashian use this trick too....slimming the nose with contouring. By popping a bit of highlighter on the bridge of your nose (as I've mentioned above) you are drawing attention to the centre of your nose and slimming it anyway...but if you have a wider nose and want to go a bit further you can just take a (clean) eyeshadow brush and either use your powder...or a matte eyeshadow (Rodial and Mac both have amazing options) and sweep a very small amount either side of your schnozz.
Post contour cheekbones.....all an illusion. The pout helps too:)
Has this been at all helpful? Do you have any top tips or products that you like to use? Don't be shy - comment away!