Does the thought of contouring your face make you think of stripes and patches? If so, you could be doing it wrong. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you contour correctly.
Contouring is all about creating depth with the illusion of a shadow. Your contour product of choice (powder or cream) should be cool-toned, even if you have a naturally warm-toned skin. The more cool-toned and fair your natural skin is, the more cool or grey your contour colour should be.
Shimmery products are best used as highlighters (this will be covered in a different post), as they attract and ‘lift’ an area. You’re trying to create a shadow and want the contour to ‘recede’, so the contouring products you use should be matte.
You can use various products to contour, as long as they’re a few shades darker than your foundation. You can buy specific contouring products or you can use what you may already have: bronzer, brown eyeshadow, brow powder, darker cream or liquid foundation, dark concealer, a chubby stick crayon or a brown-toned blush.
Your contour lines need to be anchored, meaning that they need a fixed end point and can’t just float in the middle of your face. If you’re contouring your cheeks, make sure you blend the one end of the contour line into your hairline or the start of your ear. If you’re contouring your forehead, blend the edges into your hairline. If it’s your chin you’re working on, make sure you blend the edges into your jawline and neck.
When contouring, you want to focus on the following areas: cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. Contour your cheeks by drawing a line under your cheekbones (suck in your cheeks, if you’re not sure where the line should go). Start the line about two finger widths away from your nose and anchor the line to the little bump in the centre of your ear, or to the start of your hairline just above your ear. Blend the contour line out to make it look blurry and more like a shadow.
Sculpt your nose by applying two lines down either side (anchoring the lines at the edges of your eyebrows), then blend the lines out before applying a little highlighter in the middle of the two lines (along the centre of your nose). If you have a long nose, contour the very tip as well.
Your forehead and chin will only need to be contoured if you have a high or square forehead (contour the outer edges and blend into your hairline) or if you have a broad or square chin (contour along the jawline). If you suffer from a double chin, you can contour under your chin, blending the contour up to the jawbone and down onto the neck, to minimise the appearance of your double chin.
Ultimately, contouring should enhance your features. Once you’ve blended the lines out, there should be no harsh stripes or lines, just subtle shadows. If you’re still new to contouring, it’s best to start off with a little product and a thin line and blend it out and then add more if you need to. It’s easier to add more and slowly build up the depth, than it is to try and remove excess product.
Contouring does take practice. If you have been a little heavy handed with the contour product, try going over the dark line with a cosmetic wedge (to absorb some of the excess) or apply a little foundation over the top to try and tone it down. Don’t expect to get it perfect the first time, but don’t give up either. Practice makes perfect. You will eventually get it right!