I How To

Tips On How To Contour

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1. What is contouring?

Contouring is a technique that is used to ‘sculpt’, shape or enhance certain features or structural elements of the face. Previously reserved for runway models and photo shoots, they have become part of daily routine for many women. The purpose of contouring is to enhance facial features just like spotlights or professional lighting would do.
Use a contour powder or a matte finish bronzer for best results, and follow the steps below:

2. Choose the right color

As with all other make-up items, choosing the right contour color can make the difference between a perfect look and a cakey finish. Use contour powder or bronzers that will compliment your skin undertones; avoid orange bronzers which look unnatural and give you a ‘tanning salon’ hue.

3. Assemble your tools

Use a contouring brush if you choose to use a contour powder or powder bronzer. Brushes are easy to use in order to create a sculpted effect that is subtle but flattering.
Use a makeup blending sponge when applying liquid bronzer or bronzer lotion; apply thin layers and blend in smoothly.

4. How to apply step by step.

1. Contour your cheekbones

  1. Using an angled contouring brush, dip it slightly into the bronzer or contour powder and tap off any excess. Pucker your lips in order to find the hollows of your cheeks.
  2. Gently apply the powder into this concave area, in thin layers, and blend up and out away from the face. It is always best to apply several thin layers than to correct darker layers. Extend the powder up and out towards the temples and into the hair line.
  3. Always blending upwards, make sure you blend evenly, for a natural result.

2. Contour your forehead

  1. If you want to round off your forehead or make it look smaller use an angled brush to apply contouring powder along your hairline, at the top of your forehead and to the sides. Blend until smooth and subtle.
  2. For an elongated, sleek face effect, shade your temples. Using a matte bronzer, apply a bit of powder and blend over the temples and up into the forehead (just above the brow bone). This will have the effect of a natural shadow on your face and create a more elongated facial structure.

3. Contour your nose & eyes

  1. If you want to make your nose look thinner, use the tip of an eye shadow brush and blend along both sides of the bridge of your nose. Sweep the brush down the sides of the bridge and out, in order to create the illusion of depth.
  2. Use the powder especially on the middle third of your nose, without going up too far, as powder on the bridge of your nose will look unnatural and even dirty.
  3. To contour eyes, apply contouring powder over your eye crease, but not in the crease itself. Apply powder along the crease line, starting from the highest level of your eye ball.
  4. Apply the contouring shadow into that area and onto the sides. Blend out the edges so that the crease looks natural.

4. Contour your jawlines

  1. You can also contour your jaw line with the same technique and tools: dip your angled brush lightly into the contour powder and apply on the underside of your jaw. Do not blend upward, rather, follow the jaw line on to the sides.
  2. Blend downward onto your neck with a large brush, in order to create a believable shadow under your jaw and maybe even decrease the appearance of a fuller chin.

5. Last step – Blend any harsh edges

For the most natural results, it is important to blend thoroughly. After applying the contouring powder or bronzer, check all the areas and make sure there are no harsh edges. Check your face from different angles, in order to make sure your application looks like naturally occurring shadows or facial features.

—Susie Wang

Read more of MBS’s Advice column over here.

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