Danni's Beauty Box: Contouring

Contour. It’s a word that strikes fear in the hearts of women. “What does it mean?” “How do I do it?” “Help!” I hear you cry. Well, you need not fear this mystical, magical phenomenon any longer. Let’s sum it up: you know when you see a celeb with radiant, glowing skin, complete with cheekbones that could cut glass? Do not merely sigh, feeling yourself inadequate, resigning yourself to a cheekbone-less life. You think she of woke up like that? Oh no, she’s no Beyoncé. It’s contouring that made her flawless, and it can make you flawless too. Promise.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Celebrities like the Kardashians have widely popularised contouring with their accentuated cheekbones, sharp jawlines, and narrow noses, creating rumours of the development of their very own makeup line (named ‘Kontour’, of course). But don’t be disheartened by their chiselled beauty; you too can contour like a Kardashian. Contouring is all about accentuating your natural features. If you can see zebra-esque lines on your face, you’re going about it all wrong. Less is most definitely more.

True, there are makeup artists out there who demonstrate a maze of complicated lines, stripes and zigzags that you should supposedly draw on your face in order to achieve light and shade in all the right places. But, ultimately, it comes down to three easy steps.

What you’ll need:

  •  Bronzer* (or colour darker than your skin tone)
  •  Highlighter* (or colour lighter than your skin tone)
  •  Blusher (this can be any colour you like. Makeup artists suggest that a peach or coral coloured blush works well with all colourings and skin tones so, if in doubt, go with that!)
  • A blusher brush, or angled brush

*There are lots of brands out there that helpfully sell a kit or palette with both the darker and the lighter colour. Convenient, right? I’d personally recommend the B. Sculpted Contour Kit which is easy to use and pretty affordable too. It comes in three shades to choose from based on your skin tone; light; medium and dark. If you’ve already been initiated into the contouring world and are looking for something more professional, head straight to Smashbox; they have every variety of contouring method imaginable, along with tips and tricks.

(Photo credit: Smashbox.co.uk)

Ready? Here’s what you do:

  1. Contour. When people say "contouring" they mean shadowing. The basic principle of this is to apply a colour darker than your skin tone into the low points of your face. These are; the hollows of your cheekbones (to find these, suck your cheeks in so you look like a fish… Attractive!), along the bottom of your jawline, and along your hairline. Imagine a kind of ‘3’ shape along the side of your face. This accentuates and defines your natural bone structure. You can also apply a small amount along the sides of your nose, which will make it look slimmer.

  2. Highlight. Just as the dark colour is for the low points of your face, the light colour is for, you guessed it, the high points of your face. This means, at the highest point of your cheekbones (on the top of the bone itself), a thin line down the middle of your nose and a small amount in the middle of your forehead and chin. Essentially, highlighter goes where the sun would hit your face. So if you’re struggling, just remember a time you got really sunburnt and were left with an attractive, red and swollen under-eye-and-cheekbone type situation. Pretty.

  3. Blusher. There is a common misconception that contouring and blusher are mutually exclusive when, in fact, they are a team. True, blusher is not always necessary: if you have naturally rosy cheeks, you might choose to save yourself a few pennies and forget about this one product. If, however, like me, your natural skin has a vaguely sad, grey, wintery vibe about it, blusher is a quick fix. The last thing you’ll do in your contouring regime is to apply blusher to the apples of your cheeks. You can find these by smiling (cute!): they will be the roundest parts of your cheeks.

So there you have it, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! No longer will you tremble at the thought of the mysterious creature that is contouring. No more will you look hopelessly at your makeup-free face in the mirror and dream of to-die-for bone structure. You will soon find that contouring is a way of life, and I welcome you with open arms. Enjoy it!