Have you ever stared in wonder at the sculpted cheekbones of your favorite celebrity on the red carpet and wished you could replicate that look at home? We hear you! The world of contouring may seem like a maze of techniques and products that only professional makeup artists can navigate. But we're here to let you in on a secret — it's not as daunting as it might seem.
Contouring is a transformative beauty technique that accentuates your natural bone structure and enhances your features. The key to mastering this popular makeup trick? It's all in how you blend it.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a rigid, unblended contour. It’s the quickest way to put all of your hard work to waste. So let’s talk about the best practices to nail your contour so you can put your best face forward.
What Is Contouring?
The technique of contouring is not a newfound trick in the beauty world — it's been a backstage staple at fashion shows and a favorite in Hollywood makeup rooms for years because it’s the best way to emphasize your features and expressions … and when done to extremes as it is when done as a part of stage makeup, you can see your cheekbones from the rafters!
Contouring uses shadows and highlights to sculpt and define your facial features. It's all about playing up your assets — think prominent cheekbones, a defined jawline, a slimmed-down nose, and a generally balanced face.
Contouring is not about hiding your features, but enhancing what you already have. That said, you can also use it to minimize aspects of your features and draw out others, depending on the look you’re going for. Whether you want to soften your square jaw or add some definition to your cheeks, contouring has the answer.
But the true magic lies in blending the contour perfectly so it complements your natural skin tone and doesn't look streaky or overdone. That’s what you have to get good at if you want a look that says “naturally gorgeous” rather than “stage makeup.”
How To Choose the Right Contouring Products
Now that you understand the power of contouring, it's time to talk about the most crucial part: the contouring products. The market is brimming with an array of contouring products, ranging from contour sticks to powders, creams, and even multi-shade palettes.
But which one is right for you? To help you decide, let’s break it all down.
Contouring sticks are great options for beginners. Contouring sticks are easy to use, thanks to their precise, pen-like design. They are perfect for creating sharp lines and are generally available in a range of shades to suit various skin tones. The key here is to go for a color that is two shades darker than your natural skin tone. Remember, contouring is all about creating depth and shadow.
Ideal for dry to normal skin types, cream contours blend seamlessly into your skin, giving a more natural and dewy finish. They are usually highly pigmented, allowing for buildable coverage. If you're after a soft and subtle contour, cream products are your best bet.
For those with oily or combination skin types, powder contours can be a lifesaver. They are typically less pigmented than their cream counterparts and give a more matte finish. You can use a powder contour to set your cream contour and amplify the sculpted effect.
They’re also great if you have any skin imperfections because they can help to blur your pores and blemishes and leave you with a smooth finish.
These are a mix of contour shades and highlighters and are great for those who want to experiment with different looks or have a flair for professional makeup techniques. It’s also a great way to get started on contouring.
Over time, you might find that a mix of shades, brands, and styles of products give you the best contour for your skin and preferences, but if you’re just getting started, there’s nothing wrong with a one-stop shop.
The MegaGlo Contouring Palette from Wet n Wild is a great way to get the two halves you need to really sculpt and highlight your features in one convenient package. It’s the perfect duo of complementary contouring powders to deliver a flawless complexion in no time, leaving you at your hashtag-no-filter best, even if you’re on the go.
How To Contour Your Face: A Step-By-Step Guide
Once you have your preferred contouring product in hand, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty of contouring.
While there’s nothing wrong with a dramatic look if that’s your jam — in fact, we’re all about it — we’re going to focus on how to contour in a way that looks natural and fluid, hence the importance of blending.
1. Prep Your Skin
2. Foundation First
Apply your regular foundation to even out your skin tone. This creates a base for your contouring. We recommend using a blending sponge to get a smooth, full-coverage application. The sponge will help you get your foundation into every nook and cranny of your skin for a flawless face more easily than you’ll be able to achieve the same look with your fingers.
3. Identify Your Face Shape
Contouring isn't a one-size-fits-all process; it should be customized to your unique face shape. Look into the mirror and determine whether your face shape is oval, round, heart, square, or diamond. This helps you know where to contour.
4. Map Your Face
With your contour product, draw a line along the temples (if you have a broad forehead), under the cheekbones (to add definition), and along the jawline (for a sharp look). If you want to slim your nose, draw two lines along the sides. It’s okay if you look or feel a little silly after this step!
5. Blend, Blend, Blend
This is the key to natural-looking contouring. Using a contour brush or sponge, blend the product into your skin until there are no harsh lines. If you’re using a sponge to blend your contour, you’ll want to wet it first — not so it’s saturated and causing running, but just enough to give you a smoother blend.
You can also use some setting spray (unorthodox, we know) on your sponge for an added bit of hydration to smooth everything out and get a flawless finish. The contour should feel like an extension of your skin, not something sitting on top of it.
6. Add Highlights
To balance the darker contour, apply a highlighter above your cheekbones, on the brow bone, the center of your forehead, and down the bridge of your nose.
You can also use a concealer that’s slightly lighter than your skin tone for a natural-looking glow that lifts any dark spots or blemishes with ease. We like the Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer for brightening that stubborn under-eye area.
7. Set With Powder
If you're using cream or liquid products, it's important to set your makeup with a translucent powder. This will prevent smudging or creasing.
What Are Some Common Contouring Mistakes To Avoid?
As you delve into the world of contouring, it's easy to get carried away. But with these tips in mind, you can avoid some common pitfalls.
Not Blending Enough
The most common contouring mistake is failing to blend adequately. If your contouring looks streaky or patchy, it means you haven't blended enough. Always blend upwards for a lifting effect and ensure there are no harsh lines.
Using the Wrong Shade
Contouring is not about using the darkest shade you can find. Instead, use a shade that's only two shades darker than your skin tone. Anything more can look unnatural and too stark.
Less is more when it comes to contouring, and unless you’re going for something a little extra, it’s good makeup advice in general! In fact, some studies have shown that heavy makeup may make you appear older.
Start with a small amount of product and gradually build up if needed. Remember, you can always add more, but it's harder to remove excess.
Ignoring Your Face Shape
Different face shapes require different contouring techniques. What works for a round face won't necessarily work for a square one. Always contour according to your face shape for the most flattering results.
Forgetting To Highlight
Contouring and highlighting go hand in hand. Forgetting to highlight can leave your face looking flat and one-dimensional.
Blending It All Together
Mastering the art of contouring makeup is all about practice and understanding the nuances of your unique face structure. Contouring is not a one-size-fits-all process — it's the art of customizing and accentuating your natural bone structure to highlight your best features.
By following our expert guide on how to blend contouring makeup, you're well on your way to achieving that celebrity-inspired sculpted look you've been dreaming of. No matter your skin tone or type, blending contour makeup like a pro is within your reach.
It’s about using the right products, applying them at the right spots, and, most importantly, blending to perfection. With a dash of patience, a pinch of practice, and the magic of Avenue B's contouring product range, you can create your very own red carpet-worthy look right in the comfort of your own home!
- Tags: Makeup