Best Kept Secrets For Contouring Your Face

We’ve all seen the before and after pictures of makeup transformations and contouring. It seems like magic when you compare the differences. Often the changes are very slight, but create a huge impact overall. Contouring is a technique that is easy to master but few actually do on a regular basis. Contouring looks very complicated, but it’s easy to do with these makeup artist secrets.

Contour under your foundation

A lot of tutorials will instruct you to contour over top of your makeup using bronzers and highlighters. While this certainly does work, it requires a lot of blending to look seamless. Contouring first before you apply your foundation allows you to seamlessly blend the shadow and highlights along with your final makeup step.

bareminerals concealer brush

bareMinerals Concealer Brush, $20

Use creams instead of powders

Powders are fine for bronzers and blushes, but a cream or liquid is what you need to contour like a pro. Liquid formulas blend better, last longer, have higher pigmentation and won’t dry out your skin. If you have oily skin, there are plenty of oil-free liquid makeups that won’t leave you greasy.

Brushes work best

If you don’t have any makeup brushes at all, you can contour with your fingers, but it will be harder to get the look you want. Invest in a good contour or concealer brush. If you’re really strapped for cash, you can actually use a paint brush from the hardware store that has the same brush shape as a concealer brush.

Highlights should be bright and shadows dark

Don’t be scared when you’re applying your contour that it looks too bright or dark for your skin – that’s the point. Your highlight should be at least two shades lighter and your shadow two shades darker than your skin tone. Also, once you put your foundation over top, the severity of your dark and light will disappear as you blend.

Blend, blend, blend

This is the most important (not-so-secret) secret of all makeup artists and pros. There should be no harsh lines as you contour.The dramatic colours of your darks and lights will tempt you to leave bold lines, but for a realistic and beautiful contour, the edges of each shadow and highlight section should be soft and blended well into each other.

Start small and simple

If you’re intimidated by all the shadows and contours and highlights, start with one aspect of your face. Try just highlighting the bridge of your nose or shadowing the hollows of your cheeks. By mastering pieces at a time, you’ll soon understand how to contour your own face for its own needs.


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