Contour 101: What is it and how to do it?

Dec 19 2017, 1:35 pm

Contour, contour, contour. That’s all us make-up lovers have been hearing lately! Pictures like the one above make the thought of contouring seem so daunting. So what is it, why do people do it and more importantly, how do we do it?

What is contouring?

The concept behind contouring is quite simple actually. By using dark and light colours to absorb and bounce light, we can alter the appearance of someone’s face to varying degrees. The ideal face shape is an oval and more often than not people will contour in order to create that shape

Why do people contour?

People contour in order to sculpt their faces and create the illusion of certain areas being smaller and thinner and make other areas of the face look higher, more pronounced and defined. The most common areas to contour are cheekbones, jaw-lines and noses.

What do I use to contour?

I would suggest using something like the Smashbox Contour Kit which includes a matte ash brown powder (contour shade), a bronzing powder and a matte light yellow powder (highlight shade). These powders blend beautifully and are incredibly user friendly!

As far as brushes go I would recommend using a small angled brush like the one in the Smashbox Contour Kit or a small dense brush and fluffy blush/powder brush to achieve this look.

How do I contour?

1. Placement is key! When you go to do your cheeks, use the top of your ear and the corner of your mouth as a guide. Dip your angled brush into your ash brown contour shade and pack the colour right under the highest point of your cheekbone.

2. Slightly blend the colour up into your temple and then (using directional blending) drag the colour down towards the corner of your mouth (this will take 10-15 swipes downward so be patient!). If you look head on into a mirror after you do this you will notice that your cheekbone will look a bit more lifted than the un-contoured one.

3. Take your fluffy blush brush and pop the bronze shade right on top of your contour to bring some warmth back to your skin and you’ll see the look slowly come together.

4. Next, take your matte yellow shade and place that on top of your cheekbone. This will allow light to bounce off of it and lift your cheekbone further.

5. You could stop at this point but, if you want to further define your features, you can pop your contour shade on to the corners of your forehead and your jawline – just be sure to push the colour behind your ear to avoid any harsh lines.

6. Go back in with the bronze on top of your contour shades.

7. Lastly, sandwich your yellow highlight between your cheek and jawline, the centre of your forehead and the centre of your chin.

Keep in mind that this is a basic how-to and therefore may not work for every face shape. If you have any questions about contouring and highlighting be sure to comment below or tweet me @NavanArtistry. Happy sculpting!


Image: Contour/Highlight