To Contour or Not to Contour (and How the Hell to Do It)

Whether it’s an ad in Vogue, a photo on Pinterest or a how-to video on YouTube, we’re all thinking the same thing: How does drawing brown lines around my face make me look beautiful?

f5c6e89f8eb9e8472f5451799e3b55faThis on-trend beauty craze known as “contouring” is all the rage from the runway, now, to everyday. While it seems counterintuitive to streak your face with shades of brown, pink, and white, contouring is actually a subtle trick that plays up the definition of your facial structure.

Although I was a skeptic at first, I decided to try my hand at it. With a few strokes of a brush and some dabs with a sponge it’s really easy to do, and quick, too (full-on contouring kit optional)!

Strokes of Genius
You’ll need the following:
Angled brush
Blush brush
BeautyBlender Sponge or Foundation Brush
Concealer brush
Kabuki brush


Started from the Bottom…

To kick things off, I always start out with my three holy grail products: moisturizer, primer, and foundation. This sets up a nice canvas and the combined primer and moisturizer action ensures that every bit stays put.

My favorite moisturizers are Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer, Dior’s Capture Totale One Essential, or Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan oil.
As far as primers go, my go-to’s are Dior’s Airflash CC Primer or Smashbox’s Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer.
Finally, for foundation I use Dior’s Diorskin Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup SPF 15.

Beauty Grammar Schoolb3ca109536ba548e6b84bda01862ffad

It’s time to contour. There are three steps to it, and it all comes down to placement and shape. I found what works best is to go straight back to grammar school math class: geometry, that is.

I like to start with highlighter/concealer (Dior Hydra Life BB Eye Créme, Benefit Boi-ing, and NARS Concealer are three terrific ones to try) and draw three upside-down triangles: one dead center between the eyebrows, and one on each side underneath the eyes.

Blend up and outward with either your fingers or a concealer brush— this prevents dragging and pulling of the sensitive, thin skin around the eyes and helps to better direct the light.

Next, the brown stuff. If you prefer powders, BareMinerals’ All-Over Face Color in Warmth is perfect, but if you prefer creme sticks, my good friend Lauren over at GritStyle recently introduced me to the amazing Sonia Kashuk Chic Defining Contour Stick (only $11 at Target!). Both work beautifully.

With either, trace lines along your hairline, jawline, cheekbones, and nose. It looks dark at first, but not to worry– it’s time to blend!

Using the BeautyBlender sponge (or an angled brush if you used the powder), stipple the product up and outward into your skin, taking care not to stray too far from the original lines you drew.

As soon as that’s blended, add a nice rosy flush with a blush of your choice. Some favorites include Tarte’s 12-hour Amazonian Clay Blush, BareMinerals’ Blush in Laughter, and Nars’s The Multiple Stick in Orgasm. Blend up and outward on the apples of your cheeks.

Screenshot2015-01-17at113013AM_zpsfd34a3e0Finish off with a translucent finishing powder and you’re good to go!

(If you want to get really fancy, you could even upgrade to a full-on contouring kit, like Laura Mercier or Anastasia Beverly Hills. Let me know how those work out!) Either way, you’re sure to rock it like Kim K.

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