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Beauty 101: The Sephora Experts Tell Us About Contouring

Tips about contouring from the experts at beauty superstore Sephora
ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExperts
Wellness & BeautyPost Category - Wellness & BeautyWellness & Beauty

Want to know how to cheat your way to killer cheekbones and perfectly arched brows using your makeup? The Sephora experts spill all!

Contouring is a subtle way of enhancing facial features and giving shape to one’s face by using makeup. It’s nothing but adding dark shades to the outer lines of your features to minimise them, and adding light shades in order to make your best features stand out. If done correctly, contouring can make your eyes stand out, give you an arched brow, sculpt your nose and chisel your cheekbones.

1920s and 1930s makeup inspiration

What’s the history of contouring?

Sculpture glamour was first noted in black-and-white movies of the 1920’s and 30s staring German screen legend, Marlene Dietrich, who believed in accentuating the natural lines of her face with shading and shaping.

But it wasn’t until 1980 that one of Hollywood’s makeup maestro’s Kevyn Aucoin launched The New Nakeds (later renamed The Nakeds), a groundbreaking line that was a strong counterpoint to cosmetics available at the time. He worked to design makeup for all skin tones; the idea was to empower a woman by revealing her natural beauty and bringing out her best features, and not to cover her up with layers of product.

celebrities and contouring makeup

Who started this trend and who was it for?

Although contouring has been in practice among celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Campbell, and even Cher and Barbara Streisand for decades now, it wasn’t a common practice.

In 2012, Kim Kardashian tweeted during and after pictures of herself as makeup artist Scott Barnes applied contouring makeup to her face, creating the razor-sharp cheekbones and sculpted nose. Contouring has been a huge trend in makeup since then.

Makeup flatlays: contour

What are the steps to perfectly contour.

The method of contouring is not the same for everybody – it varies based on the shape of the face. Some people may need to use light shades to play-up some features while others may need to use darker shades to down-play features, based on the shape of their face.

  • Begin with choosing the right shades. Use a shade that is 2-3 shades darker than your original complexion to add depth. Trace the temples, and outline the hollow part of your cheekbones (make the fish-face to find the right spot). Make sure it is almost parallel to your jawline and reaches up to the hairline. Then contour your nose – you can go narrower at the tip or you can carry it into the brow to add length or width.
  • Use a blending brush or sponge to blend in the contour colour, merging it into your base foundation. This is important, as you don’t want obvious lines and creases across your face.
  • This is an important step to bring out your features. Use a lighter foundation (lighter than your actual complexion) to highlight the area under your eyes/cheekbones. Use a small amount on the centre of your forehead, bridge of your nose, and on your chin to highlight these areas. Blend well
  • Sweep on some blush on the apples of your cheeks and blend.

Why has contouring suddenly become so popular?

Contouring was earlier used only on the runway and for special photo-shoots, but now contouring has become an everyday-trend amongst women world over because contouring embraces the beauty of a woman. Unlike earlier, women now have more access to beauty products, tips and tricks. If imperfections can be temporarily corrected without going under the knife, then why not do it? After stars like Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez have been swearing by this technique, women world over have learnt to contour and look beyond beautiful.

How to contour: Products to use

What brand and products sell the best contouring palates and products?

The Sephora 101 contouring palette is stunning. Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Instamarc contour and highlight palette is another must have! We also love the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contouring Palette.

contour and strobing

What is the difference between contouring and strobing?

Contouring combines a mix of darker shades to chisel your features and lighter shades to highlight your features, while strobing is a technique that uses no dark shades but only highlighter to enhance your face. Contouring adds depth and makes your features appear sharper while strobing highlights your features and makes them appear bigger.

Which one do you personally recommend for clients and buyers?

In summer months, strobing gives you a healthy glow and at other times, contouring works really well, especially for a nice evening out. For newbies in the world of makeup, contouring is an art that needs perfection, while strobing is easier to master.

So there you have it mamas, time to get nifty with your makeup brushes – or pop into any Sephora store for a quick lesson/demo (perfect before a night on the town!).

Featured image via Pinterest, Image #2 via Pinterest, Image #3 via Pinterest and Pinterest, Image #4 via Pinterest, Image #6 via Pinterest

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