I am always amazed at just how different me, you and everyone else can look after a full face of make-up has been applied. Everyday, in the tabloid gossip magazines (yes, just one of my guilty pleasures), pictures of the stars sans maquillage are published with captions that Shock! Horror! point out how different they look without their war paint. Why this is ‘news’ I do not know. If anything, it is testament to the fabulous skills of their make-up artists, those people who create wonderful looks for people who perhaps don’t always look that wonderful.
One of the make-up tricks that can have a massive impact on how you look is the art of contouring. Even without the use of heavy eye make-up and an obvious lip, contouring will change the shape of your face, giving you cheekbones, softening your jaw line and even changing the shape of your nose. How this is done really depends on the shape of an individual’s face and features but I’m going to share with you gals some basic tips so that before you know it you’ll have a soft feminine jaw, a slimmer nose (if you want one!) and cheekbones you can cut paper on! Remember, like all make-up, this really is a case of ‘smoke and mirrors’, of creating a fabulous illusion using light and dark shades on your face.
The first tip to remember: dark recedes, light comes forward. In other words, what you highlight will come to the front and what is darker disappears or fades to the back. That’s the basic principle of contouring. Then second thing to remember is that you need good lighting to do this because blending is important – you don’t want to end up with a stripey face! Thirdly, you need a couple of good brushes – at least a large angled one for the application of the darker shade and perhaps a slightly smaller one for the highlighting.
Now let me introduce you to the Queen of Contouring. Love her or loathe her, this lady knows more about how to change the shape of a face using just a brush and some shader than almost anyone else – well, except perhaps her make-up artist! Ladies, I give you Miss Kim Kardashian and in this video from Harper’s Bazaar, she demonstrates in rather a fun way the joys of contouring!
Contouring just using a highlighter, a blush and a darker shade is a great way to start to practice these tricks. You want to find a darker shade that still works on your skin tone and blends well with your blush. Often this product will be referred to as a bronzer but it may just be a darker blush. The best thing is to try them on or ask one of those wonderful make-up artists in any of the make-up stores to help. I have a couple of favorites that I use, one from Nars and the other from Mary Kay. The Nars combo I like is the Laguna bronzer and the Albatross highlighter. To add a blush in there, I use the Orgasm that comes in the same palette as Laguna. Yes, those really are the names of the colors! The pigments of these products are strong so remember to apply finely to begin – it’s easier to add color than take away! and for me these are my evening look as they have a little sparkle in them. All of them are available at amazon.com and beauty.com
The Mary Kay bronzer really is my go-to daytime product; I love the Sandstone bronzing powder that also comes with a highlighter. The main reason I like it so much, besides the price, is because it doesn’t have too much sparkle which is something you might want to avoid in the day. You don’t want to look like a disco leftover! This product is available at marykay.com but if you friend me on Facebook and buy products through me, there’s always discounts! These are the products I use on my skin which is a mix of Anglo-Saxon with a touch of Latin olive (not sure how that got in there!) but for you to get it right, I strongly suggest ‘try before you buy’ – go to a make-up store or counter or ask me how to get Mary Kay samples. I use Sandstone as my darker shade and Sunny Spice blush then I’ll either highlight using the lighter shade in Sandstone or for little extra shine I use Benefit’s ‘Watts Up!’, a soft cream highlighter that comes in stick form and is available on amazon.com.
Remember when applying these products, blending is key hence the importance of good lighting and a proper brush. The darker shade goes in the hollows of your cheeks – suck them in to see where they are! – and begin at the hairline. Then apply the blush at the top, near your cheek bones. Finally use a fine line of highlighter on the top of your cheekbone to finish and really emphasize the angles of your face. A little highlighter down the center of your nose and shader down the sides slims your nose down and a touch of highlighter on the bow of your top lip adds to your pout! The darker shade under your chin and down the sides of your face helps to slim it down too.
Getting this process right really is a matter of practice and also of knowing your face but you can use these tricks to dramatically alter your look. Once you have learnt these methods and have graduated from Contouring 101 class, you might want to check out learning to do something like this, a far more complex method using different shades of cream foundation.
Just a word of warning about this look – it’s a lot of make-up!! And if it’s not done well, with attention to blending, you may well look like you’re doing drag rather than going for a more natural look!
Ladies, I know it’s a lot to take in but you can do it! And you will look fabulous when you do! If you’d like to give me some feedback on my column, I’d really appreciate that and you can friend me on Facebook for more tips and great tutorials I post. Also let me know any beauty problems you need help with and I will do my absolute best to answer your questions.
Talk to you soon!