Your six step guide to flawless contouring

Contouring: a beauty technique that we all want to master, but few of us have! We all know the power of makeup and its ability to adjust our appearances, hide our flaws and enhance our best features. Contouring is able to achieve all that, and more. Yet no matter how many times you try your best to replicate Kim K’s look, it’s not quite so easy when you don’t have a team of professional makeup artists at your disposal!

If you’re struggling with contouring, here’s our step-by-step guide to mastering this art.

#1 Get the right tools

You have two options here: get foundation a couple of shades lighter and darker than your usual shade, or opt for a contouring palette to give you the shades you need. Remember that contouring is all about using dark and light to give an impression of depth and shape, so you need to make sure there’s a real contrast between the shades you use. If you have very fair skin and can’t find a lighter foundation shade, look for a light eyeshadow shade instead – and if you have very dark skin, look for a dark eyeshadow to act as your contouring shade.

You also need to have a couple of brushes ready – we recommend an angled brush for ‘sculpting’ your cheekbones, as well as your usual foundation brush. It’s also a good idea to have some setting powder ready to finish the whole look. Don’t forget to grab a makeup sponge or beauty blender, either!

#2 Know your face shape

You’ll want to contour differently depending on your face shape and the features you want to accentuate or detract from. This excellent guide from Cosmo will not only help you work out your face shape, but shows you contour maps for each face shape.

#3 Prep

Before contouring, follow your usual skincare routine and apply your foundation as normal. It’s important to start with an even complexion so that contouring and highlighting is at its most effective.

#4 Contour

Apply your contour shade under your cheekbones, along your jawline and hairline, and a little on your neck. Refer back to the contour map for your face shape, and adjust placement where necessary. You can also contour either side of your nose if you’d like to ‘slim it’ down. You can blend now, or wait until later.

#5 Highlight

Now that you’re done with contouring, move on to highlighting. This step adds yet more contrast, further slimming down your features and drawing attention to the areas you want to accentuate. Focus your lighter shade on your T-zone – your forehead, the bridge of your nose, and your chin. You should also apply highlighter under your eyes.

#6 Blending and finishing

Use a makeup sponge to methodically blend the different shades into your base foundation, using short dabs until you can no longer see the lines of product. Be careful not to move the shades out of place, otherwise you’ll skew the whole look. Double-check that everything’s blended – you don’t want to leave the house with a streak of the wrong shade of foundation on your face!

You can also lightly apply a layer of powder to secure the foundation.

Your turn

For contouring to look good, you need to take your time. Even the top makeup artists struggle with contouring when time’s short! However, this incredible technique is ideal when you have a little more time and really want to make an impression!

Everyone contours a little differently – do you have any tips for other Beauty Talk readers?


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