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To contour or not to contour?

November 9th, 2015 | by NUSU
To contour or not to contour?

Devoted to defined cheekbones

When your celebrity look-a-like is the moon emoji, contouring is your make up saviour. Contouring has been a big trend for the last couple of years, and if you haven’t heard of it, then where have you been? Essentially, contouring is using make up to sculpt your face and give it definition. It can be used to give the illusion of cheekbones on a rounder face, or alternatively can be used to shorten long face shapes. The placement of the contour product all depends on what effect you’re trying to create. Contouring became big through the likes of Kim Kardashian and her make up artist Mario Dedivanovic. Whilst contouring gets a bad press with criticisms that it’s fake and unnatural, there are more natural ways of creating the look and is an an easy make up skill to master that can be used day to day.

MAC groundwork, this product is the holy grail, it’s so versatile and as it’s a Pro Longwear Paint Pot it can also be used as an eye shadow or a base (and lasts all day). Its £16 but well worth the money, mine lasted me well over a year and I re-purchased it recently as its an essential in my make up bag. To apply this I use MAC 191 Square foundation brush, this is ideal as the square bristles allow you to be accurate when applying and blending. If a cream product is not what you’re looking for then MAC also have a great powder blush in the shade Harmony. MAC describes it as ‘muted rose-beige brown’, contouring shades should always be matte, save the shimmer for your highlighter; texture is key to creating the perfect contoured look. I apply this blush with the Real Techniques contour brush, the angled tip it works wondrs getting into the hollows of the cheek. Bronzer can be use to create a contoured look but it’s all about tone and shade. Bronzer tends to work better on dark skin. For pale skin Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer works well, but make sure you blend it out, the key to contouring is subtlety. In my opinion whether you love it or hate it, fight it or can’t live without it, contouring is a trend here to stay.

Clamp down on contouring

Contouring seems to have more hype than the Kardashian’s themselves, and with every makeup brand taking advantage of this fad with a DIY contour kit, it’s hard to decide if you want in on chiselled cheekbones. I’d argue to stay away from contouring unless you have mastered the art of painting your face; it’s very difficult to get the desired look you want so maybe it’s best to stay away. Makeup artist for InStyle, Pati Dubroff, insists contouring ‘suffocates the face’ and there is something to be said for the intense layers of makeup required. The build up of make up could even lead to clogged pores, hence you can weigh up if defined features is really worth the break out.

It may have just been Halloween but as women do we really feel the need to go to such extremes as contorting our faces beyond recognition? After the back lash against the level of Photoshop on celebrity snaps, how is this possibly any better? Painting your face in this level of disguise and shadowing away from your true beauty. Enhancing beauty is definitely something to be encouraged but contouring tutorials and tips are so often aimed on actually changing the shape of your most prominent features, leaving all us girls walking around as clones. Less is more and contouring seems to forget all subtleties.

The main problem with contouring is that whilst it can be very effective on camera it can be very unnatural in real life and from certain angles, obvious where the makeup has been harshly placed. When trying to change the shape of your face, you should always strive for a natural look. To achieve this through contouring is a real challenge. I’d recommend contouring’s less evil sister, highlighting. Whilst contouring can look unnatural because it creates a shadow, highlighting does not have that problem. By choosing a product with a highlighting function instead, preferably with a pearlescent sheen, light will bounce off your features creating the illusion of prominence where the product is placed. I have big love for Benefit’s ‘girl meets pearl’ which I apply on my upper cheek bones for a natural sheen. It can be worn on top of little or no makeup to still create the desired effect of chiselled cheekbones in a much more natural way. Highlighting is far more advantageous to a contour because it works with lighting so that as you move it catches the light in the same way a naturally high cheek bone would.

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