How to contour: 7 Beauty Panel tricks for crafting a flawless complexion
Kim Kardashian’s style may be constantly evolving, but when it comes to beauty, she’s had her makeup routine on lock since day one. That flawless complexion and enviable bone structure owes a great deal of credit to the magic of makeup. But you don’t need a makeup artist to look like Kim—just a few simple contouring tricks can make all the difference in making your features pop.
Sure, the idea of contouring and bronzing can evoke flashbacks to high school beauty disasters: if done incorrectly you risk looking like a pumpkin or and ‘80s prom queen. (Not a good look for anybody!) However, the end goal is to highlight the different areas of your face, achieved only through seamless blending and proper colour choice—and it’s it’s not as difficult as you may think.
Challenge 49: How do you contour your face? See the answers now! »
All of our intrepid Beauty Panel members recognize the value of having a good base and properly blending, but a few had some contouring tricks up their sleeves. Jennifer Francis of Spiced Beauty extols the virtues of a multitasking eyeshadow as opposed to an expensive contour set. My Beauty Box’s Ellie Somfelean places top priority on having a great brush, as one specifically designed for contouring is best. While we can’t guarantee that having super defined cheekbones will bag you a rap genius as a hubby, we can guarantee that your face will look totally fierce and flawless.
Toronto | Bold n Beautiful Makeup
Contouring and highlighting can be very confusing for some. There is a lot to take into consideration when doing these two beauty tricks, such as face shape, bone structure and facial features. There are many ways to contour and highlight, however the best way to do it without becoming overwhelmed is to focus on the areas that the sun/light naturally hit. You want to bring those areas out more (with a highlight) and then contour (shade) the areas around the highlight.
Products used: Nars Creamy Concealer in “Biscuit,” Dermablend Cover Cream in “Toasted Brown,” Smashbox Photo Open Under Eye Brightener, M.A.C Blush in “Blunt,” M.A.C Mineralized Skin Finish in “Whispering Guilt”
Toronto | Beauty PhD
I don’t normally wear much makeup, but when I do — especially with some heavy contouring, I totally don’t look like myself anymore! You can highlight, shade and contour in many different ways. Some people like to use powder, cream or liquid. And you can do it more dramatic (think theatre) or more soft (think everyday look). It’s just a matter of preference. For this look, I applied a full face of foundation first, using a colour that matched my skintone. Then I applied a medium and dark cream based concealer on areas I wanted to accentuate, shade and contour for more dimension in my face. Typically you want to accentuate your cheekbones, nose bridge, jawline, temples of the forehead. Where to contour depends on your natural features though. If you don’t have a strong jaw, you may not need to contour that area. At first it looks kind of scary, but the key is blending! I like to use Make Up For Ever’s #100 brush for blending, while using some powder foundation on top to soften all the contour lines.
I used a lot of bronzer to bring my contouring up a notch. Sometimes drawing a number “3” on your face helps. For example, from temples, to cheeks, to jaw forms a number “3” shape. Heavy eyeshadow and strong brows that lead into the nose bridge contour lines help to make my features look sharper, and creates more depth. Drawing an eyeliner on the top and bottom of my eyelids also creates more shape to my eyes and makes them stand out more.
Products used : Guerlain Orchidée Impériale in “The Rich Cream,” Annabelle Colour Control Instant Perfecting Base in “Natural Finish,” Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in “#1,” Face Atelier Ultra Camouflage Duet in “Light” and “Medium,” M.A.C Studio Sculpt Concealer in “NW50,” Makeup Forever Pro Finish Powder Foundation in “#120 Neutral Ivory,” Annabelle Biggy Zebra Bronzer, NYC New York Color Individual Eyes Eyeshadow Palette in “#940 Central Park,” Annabelle Eyeshadow in “Ebony,” Sothys Graphic Kohl Liner in “#1 Noir Profound,” Rimmel London Scandaleyes Curve Alert Mascara in “#001 Black,” Nars Larger Than Life Lipgloss in “Gold Digger”
Winnipeg | A Pop of Colour
Ever since I learned the importance of a good contour and highlight, I have been addicted. Back in the day, I thought bronzer was just used to add some sunshine to your face on a summer day, little did I know that the dark powder can create shadows where there are none.
On special occasions I will go all full out with the liquid contour/highlight (a la my favourite Kardashian), but for everyday wear, a little powder contour and cream highlight goes a long way, plus once you got it down, it takes no time at all.
For a precise application, I love using a sturdy angled face brush, so I can get right into those crevices on my cheeks, creating some depth and shadows. I love using a matte bronzer and then building up the colour to get it just right. As for highlighting, I will use a concealer a shade or two lighter than my skin tone (which is pretty fair as it is), and apply it under my eyes using either my fingers (if I’m short on time) or a damp Beauty Blender, on the bridge of my nose, on the centre of my forehead, and then on my chin and cupid’s bow. To finish it up, I will swipe a powder illuminator on my cheekbones for that perfect glow.
Once you got the technique down pat, it literally takes seconds and really does become part of your face routine. It’s a must in my books! Plus, who doesn’t love sculpted cheeks? No one needs to know you got a little help…
Products used: Smashbox Bronze Lights bronzer in “Suntan Matte,” IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer in “Light,” IT Cosmetics Large Angled Radiance Brush, Maybelline Face Studio Master Hi-Light in “Coral”
Montreal | My Beauty Box
Heavy contouring while transforming your face can be way too time consuming and dramatic to be worn as day to day make-up. However, I do like to play up my features using a few makeup tricks I’ve learned over the years.
I love using the Real Techniques contour brush, as it’s small and tapered and so easy to use and create subtle shades under my cheekbones and jawline to give me a more chiseled look and push my cheekbones up. I use a matte bronzer for this. My favourite one is from Zuzu and it has a lovely cool undertone unlike most bronzers that tend to have red in them and often look unnatural and muddy when used in contouring.
I always finish with a sweep of my favourite blush above the contour shade, on the actual cheeks. I make sure I take my time to blend the two shades together, getting them to look as natural as possible.
Lastly I always finish with a generous sweep of highlighter on top of my cheekbones, just above my eyebrow, across the bridge of the nose (not down, as that would my nose look longer than it already is), above the Cupid`s Bow and barely touch it on my chin. If you are in a rush, a good highlighter can make all the difference in brightening the face and bringing out your cheekbones.
Products used: Zuzu Mineral Bronzer in “D32,” The Balm Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter, M.A.C MSF in “Petticoat,” Nars Blush in “Orgasm,” Real Techniques Contour Brush
Ottawa | Twenty York Street
The benefit to all the red carpet galas during awards season is the endless supply of beauty tricks and one of the most popular one is all about contouring. Celebrity makeup artists, YouTube vloggers and even Dr. Oz swear by the magic of contouring—and rightly so, as it provides the highlights and the lowlights in your face, much like a great colour job would do for your hair.
Since most of us will not be walking the Academy Awards red carpet next month, I opted for a more subtle contouring trick that’s perfect for day time or at work. Once you’ve applied your eye makeup and lipstick, smile and use a cream blush on the roundest bumpy part of your cheek or the apples of your cheek. Next, do a duck face (feel free to take a selfie at this point) and use a darker shade bronzer to create a contour under your cheekbones, this gives the illusion of a skinnier hollow allowing for your cheekbones to pop up! Although not as dramatic as Kim Kardashian’s countour tricks, this is one makeup tip that can give your face a lot of definition! Now that you’re done, go ahead, post that selfie!
Products used: Clarins Highlighter, Maybelline Colour Lift Blush, Annabelle Bronzer and Rimmel Bronzer in “Sun God”
Durham | Spiced Beauty
Contouring has becoming quite popular. You can totally transform your face with the right products. It’s crazy! When you have a deeper skin tone, you have to pick your products wisely. It’s quite easy to get an ashy result. No one wants that.
When looking for a contour shade my tip is to try a very dark brown eyeshadow. Yes an eyeshadow! No need to spend excess amount of money on a contour set which doesn’t even work for you.
Products used: Laura Mercier Eyeshadow Palette in “Espresso bean, ” L’Oreal The Infallible Blackbuster 8HR Liquid Eyeliner, Annabelle Pencil in “Jet Black,” Essence Cosmetics Eyebrow Pencil in “Brown,” Essence Cosmetics Metal Glam Highlighter, Cover Girl Bombshell Volume by Lash Blast Mascara and Maybelline Lipstick in “Nude”
Montreal | Gen In The City
Contouring and defining my face is probably one of my favourite things to do with makeup! Makeup is meant to enhance your natural beauty and you should be defining your favourite features with it. I don’t always have time for a full face of foundation so i often opt for a good BB cream or tinted moisturizer. I take a matte bronzer and I apply it in a “3” motion on my forehead, the hollows of my cheeks and along my jawline and chin. I go back and thoroughly define the follows of my cheeks and my jawline because I like to give my face a more chiseled and defined look. I also like to go in and contour the sides of my nose. Rosy blushes are my favourite for just enhancing my face and making it look more defined naturally. I also like applying a shimmery highlight colour right above where I apply my blush, down the middle of my nose, on my cupid’s bow and on my brow bone under my eyebrows. Another face-defining favourite of mine is filling in my eyebrows! It is an absolute must since eyebrows really frame the face and make all the difference in the world.
Products used: E.l.f Tinted Moisturizer in “Nude,” Lise Watier Portfolio Correctors Concealer, Annabelle Bronzing Powder in “Mattitude,” Wet n’ Wild Blush in “Berry Shimmer,” Lise Watier Jardin de Givre Illuminating Powder, Too Faced Natural Eye Palette in “Sexpresso,” Rimmel Lipstick in “700 Nude Delight”