It wasn’t long ago that contouring was merely a feature of topography and the only means of changing one’s bone structure was through plastic surgery.
Yet the art of contouring has emerged from the shrouded toolkit of professional make up artists as of late. It’s initial steps were choreographed by high-end makeup designers; the Kevin Acoin Sculpting powder, Charlotte Tilbury and Smashbox. But high profile Spring launches have flung the palettes and precision brushes onto the high street and into student budgets.
Everyone has the one friend who possesses this coveted ability; often the same friend who is a dab hand with false eyelashes and whose intimate knowledge of selfie angles and filters is encyclopaedic. The wizardry takes place and a gaunt emerges and cheekbones become pronounced, leading to club photos that are potential profile picture contenders. But how can those with just the one poofy brush and acquaintance with only one stroke navigate a contour kit?
So you have meticulously studied the images of models in magazines, acquired an appropriate palette and sit brush in hand. Yet consulting the video tutorials can prove intimidating and the image of Kim Kardashian’s cream contour routine looms in the memory. There appears some mystical stage named ‘blending’ where there is a sudden leap.
There are some tips to keep in mind when you pluck up the courage to remould your face;
- If there’s flash photography (i.e. nightclub photos) stick to powder contour. Cream contour can create a more flawless look but is liable to shine like a beacon in club photos.
- Blend with a clean brush. Once the initial sweep is completed, take a fresh brush and blend like crazy, small circular movements then broad circles repeatedly until it looks smooth. It may look too dramatic at first, you may even resemble Bambi, but stick with it and the aforementioned mystical blending stage should materialise.
- You need A LOT of make up. The likes of the Kardashians, Beyonce and Cara are often sporting flawless contouring but the reason this is so effective is because they have layered up with primer, foundation and setting powder. This is a lot of make up for everyday and is applied in the case of these women as they are being constantly photographed.
- Keep brushes clean. I know it can be a pain to wash up the make up brushes, and when one considers the length of time it has been it is easy to cringe, yet nothing is worse than painting a stripe of contour powder where it ought to be highlighter.
For the contour newbies and topographers in training I would recommend getting your bearings with a more affordable palette such as those offered by Nyx, Barry M or Sleek. As with many things in beauty once you have acquired the tools the only thing left to improve is to practice; contour yourself, your female friends or male friends, contouring can certainly help the latter group to achieve the sought after chiselled look.