Contouring the face has been a trick used by professionals for a long time. You even unwittingly do it yourself when you apply your bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks making them appear deeper and your face, subsequently, appear slimmer! Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj have brought contouring to a new level with entire face re-shaping - and the trend is only getting more popular. So, what is contouring? And how do you do it?!..
Now that's the science over, let's get down to the technique...
Take a concealer (or cream foundation) that is a good 2-3 shades lighter than your own skin tone (lighter = more dramatic). Now highlight underneath your eyes and all the way along the top of your cheekbones (in a sort of 'V') and underneath your eyebrows along the arch. Now taking a thin brush, apply a line down the centre of the bridge of your nose to the tip, and up in a fan shape on your forehead (not too high or you'll make your forehead look bigger!) Also apply to the cupid's bow of your lip, a blob on your chin, and a line just abve your jaw bone.
Now - if you wanted to stop here, you could. You could take your sponge or your stippling brush and just dab, dab, dab at the lines you made until the obvious lines fade. This is one simpler way to contour (that's not so dramatic). This might be a good starting point if the whole idea scares you!
But if you're game.....move on to shading :)
Using your darker concealer/foundation/contour palette colour, apply a thick strip JUST below your cheekbones. Suck in your cheeks (make the ducky face!) if this helps to find the hollows of your cheeks, and fill them in from your ear down to a few cms away from the corners of your mouth. Apply a thin line of this dark colour on either side of your highlighted nose line, from your eyebrows down to the tip of your nose and across the end of it (to shortern the length of your nose). You can go one step further and draw a small circle in the dark colour at the end of your nose to give you a pronounced nose tip! Apply a stripe across the top of your forehead and into the groove of your temples. And finally, apply a dab of the dark colour to underneath your lower lip (to make this natural shadow bigger and subsequently make your lower lip look bigger also!)
This section should really be called 'Blend Like Mad', Take your sponge (or stippling brush) and just dab at the lines you've drawn. Don't drag the colour around or you'll end up with a muddy looking face! Just dab, dab, dab. It's tedious, but you'll slowly see the lines fading until there are none. If you feel that you need more highlighting or shading after this point, add some more colour and blend again until you're happy with the results.
Step 6: Powder
Using a light highlighter powder and a dark NON-SHIMMERY bronzer or dark pressed powder, go over the light and dark areas with the respective powders to set in place. For added pop, apply a shimmery highlighter powder (or any of your shimmery light eyeshadows) along the top of your cheekbones and along your nose. Et voila!
Common Complaints That Contouring Can Help...
1. Wide nose - keep the highlighted line narrow and the shading lines all along the sides wide and blend them down the sides of your nose also.
2. High forehead - apply a line of shading colour to below your hairline across your forehead. When blended, the highlighted fan in the middle of your forehead and the shadow above it will make your forehead appear smaller.
3. Small lips - apply the highlight colour just outside your lip line all the way around, as well as the philtrum (yup, google time!) and shade underneath your bottom lip in that natural shadow.
4. Wide/Round Face - keep the shading under your cheekbones good 'n' dark, and take the line more diagonally up and down than horizontally (think about it for a sec...it'll make sense!)
Still want more?? Apply your shading colour verically down your neck on either side of your windpipe to narrow your neck! Also, you can apply the shading to the hollows of your collar bone, and apply highlighter along your collar bone to emphasise them and appear slimmer. Wowzers!!
So go and have fun and try as many or as few of these as you want. If you have any questions or specific problem areas you want to ask about, please leave a comment below :)
Toodles for now!