How to Contour

How to Contour

02.24.2014    |    
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I don’t know about you, but I’m missing that summer glow. My pale skin is in full force, and while I can’t help but embrace my Snow Whiteness, a little bronzy glow never hurt anyone. In fact, why not look like you just returned from the most fabulous vacation where the sun hit your skin in all the right places? Yes girls, I’m talking about a chiseled and contoured complexion.

‘How do you contour?’ is one of the most frequently asked questions I encounter. The art of shading and virtually changing your face using light reflecting highlighters and deepening bronzing products just sounds overwhelming. The reason it’s such a coveted skill is because it creates the illusion of a stronger jawline, a narrower nose, more chiseled cheeks and a slimmer face. After being asked by Stylecaster to write a contouring how-to, watching a number of YouTube tutorials and speaking with a fair share of makeup artists, I have learned just how easy this technique can be. Once you understand the fundamentals of contouring you can nail the process in minutes and be on your way to looking oh so St. Tropez.

These are the super easy steps to contour your pretty little face:

1. After you’ve applied your skincare and foundation (I’m using Dolce & Gabbana The Foundation, about) all over your face and neck, dip your brush (I only use Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Brush or Sonia Kashuk Foundation Brush, pictured) into your cream bronzer or foundation. I use RMS Buriti Bronzer because it’s super creamy and gives me the perfect sun-kissed glow. It contains wild crafted Buriti oil from Brazil, the highest oil in Vitamin A and Beta-carotene out there, so it’s actually good for your skin. The formula is denser than a liquid foundation so it’s easy to control. (If you used a liquid foundation, you might need to swirl the brush on the back of your hand to take away some of the excess before using again). Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate, Shade One is also excellent.

2. Next, imagine the letter E superimposed on your face. Start at the middle of the top of your hairline (my window’s peak) and begin to draw the letter E along the perimeter of your face (close to your hairline) down to your temple.

3. Suck in your cheeks to see exactly where your cheekbones are then continue down from your temple to just underneath your cheekbone (the middle prong of the letter E). Make sure that this middle prong is not as long as the top and bottom prongs. This step will elegantly accentuate the shape of your cheekbones and give you that Kate Moss-esque look.

4. Go back along the underside of your cheekbone to the ear then down towards your jawline. Finish the E by sweeping the brush just underneath the jawline. Use the brush to blend the bronzer down into the neck. The more bronzer you apply, the more pronounced your neck will be. I like to really blend away down the neck.

5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 on the opposite side of your face.

6. Next wipe off any remaining makeup on a tissue and dip the same brush into your cream or liquid highlighter ( I like RMS Beauty Living Luminizer).

7. I love luminizer so I like to apply it down the center of the nose, on the cupid’s bow, horizontally in the center of the forehead, on the eyelids and right below the eyebrows. To contour, visualize a C shape and, starting just above the brow, outline the eye down to the temple then around and under your eye just above your cheekbone.

8. Repeat step 7 on the opposite side of your face.

9. Spray toner all over your face and neck. THIS IS SO KEY because the added moisture is going to hydrate and illuminate your face and make the final blending so much easier. This is the step that is separating you from the rest of the pack. I die for Mac+ Fix and Caudalie Beauty Elixir. Everyone needs these.

10. Next, take a dry blush brush (Ulta Contour Blush Brush) or a beauty blender (which I prefer!) and go back over the E’s and C’s (and everywhere else you hightlighted) to really blend what you applied into the skin.

11. To deepen this look, finish by using a bronzer brush (Sonia Kashuk Large Powder Brush) and going over the E with bronzing powder (Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer) and the C with highlighting powder (Revlon Highlighting Palette Rose Glow). Voila!

So here you can really see the before and after. Notice I only contoured the RIGHT side of my face.

BEFORE (no contouring):

AFTER (contouring):

Remember the more makeup you add, the more intense of a look you will create, so go light for the day, and try for something a bit more intense at night. Complete the look with a few swipes of mascara (I’m using Mac Extreme 3D Mascara) and a glossy lip (like YSL’s newest).

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  • Lovely tutorial!!

  • Hi,
    Your hair is simply fantastic! A “how to” article would be nice! 🙂

  • Robyn

    Hi!
    I ordered the RMS bronzer right after reading this post and I have used it daily since it arrived on my doorstep. I have an issue with it though, it doesn’t seem to stay on for very long at all. How do I keep the bronzer from fading?? Thanks!

    • annie

      Great point… The packaging is so great, so you can really throw the bronzer in your bag, and apply with clean fingers on the go. The keep the look for longer, make sure you top RMS with a powder bronzer along the “E.” This will set the creme bronzer.

  • Very clever. Not relevant to the subject but what brand is your nail polish?

    • annie

      Its Zoya Viva La Nails!

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  • Liz

    Love this post! Which brush is the pink one in your photos?