How to con­tour with ease

Clau­dia Renford seeks ex­pert ad­vice on how to put your best face for­ward by adding light and shade to high­light your favoured fea­tures.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

It’s been a make-up artist’s se­cret weapon for years, and now the world of con­tour­ing has be­come an in­ter­net sen­sa­tion. Many on­line tu­to­ri­als show us how to en­hance our fa­cial fea­tures through the art of sculp­tur­ing with shadow and light, but they of­ten look quite daunt­ing. So is there an easy way to mas­ter the art of con­tour­ing? We asked ex­pert make-up artist Owen Al­li­son for his step-by-step, easy guide to con­tour­ing.

“I think women may have been very con­fused by the con­cept of con­tour­ing, and have of­ten dis­missed the idea of even try­ing, sim­ply be­cause the im­ages they see on the in­ter­net or on tu­to­ri­als look very com­pli­cated and scary – but it doesn’t have to be,” says Owen.

“When blog­gers or make-up artists are do­ing these step-by-step tu­to­ri­als in front of a cam­era, they of­ten use darker shades than they, you or I would nor­mally use in our ev­ery­day make-up, and that is what I think scares peo­ple – see­ing heavy, dark strokes of shaded colour on the skin.” But just as a cam­era has been known to add a few ki­los, it also soaks up colour, which is why peo­ple are of­ten told to wear bright colours on film, or in this case, use heavy, dark shades of colour.

To elim­i­nate the scary, we show you a step-by-step guide to con­tour­ing, us­ing shades of colour you would use ev­ery day. As the re­sults will show, con­tour­ing can be sub­tle, yet still ef­fec­tive in ac­cen­tu­at­ing your fea­tures.

Step 1: Prep your skin

Prep­ping your skin is vi­tal for the smooth, flaw­less fin­ish you want from your base foun­da­tion, so prep your skin with a primer be­fore ap­ply­ing a good nat­u­ral-fin­ish foun­da­tion. Choos­ing the right foun­da­tion is crit­i­cal, as your con­tour­ing shades are re­liant on that – they should be two shades darker than your nat­u­ral foun­da­tion for shad­ow­ing and two shades lighter for high­light­ing. If you are un­sure of the foun­da­tion shade that best suits you, Owen sug­gests match­ing it to the colour of your dé­col­letage. He also rec­om­mends chang­ing your foun­da­tion sea­son­ally, as skin tones can dra­mat­i­cally al­ter between win­ter and sum­mer. If you are un­sure, seek pro­fes­sional ad­vice from your lo­cal beauty counter con­sul­tant.

Step 2: Shad­ow­ing

Con­tour­ing can also be com­pared to ‘Pho­to­shop­ping’ – it’s a chance to al­ter the things we don’t like and en­hance the ones we do. With the sim­ple place­ment of a pow­der or foun­da­tion, we can ef­fec­tively trans­form our fa­cial fea­tures to play up our best fea­tures and slim down others. “Start by trac­ing the out­side of your bone struc­ture us­ing the darker con­tour­ing shade and sculpt an ‘E’ shape to de­fine the face,” says Owen. “Sweep the shade across the top of the fore­head, down the side of the tem­ple then un­der the cheek­bone and down along the jaw­line.” This re­duces and sculpts the face. “In essence, we want to make the ‘in­te­rior’ pop and the ‘ex­te­rior’ pull back.” If, for ex­am­ple, you want to re­duce a larger nose, you can use the darker shade along the sides and tip of the nose, or if a dou­ble chin is your con­cern, try us­ing the dark shade along the jaw­line as be­fore, but also just un­der the chin line. Then ‘fill in’ with the high­lighter.

Step 3: High­light­ing

Now that you have ‘re­duced’ or pulled back and de­fined, the next step is to high­light or bring for­ward your fea­tures. High­light ar­eas such as the mid­dle of your nose, cen­tre of the fore­head, cupid’s bow (top of lip) and un­der your eyes. “Eyes will pop when you ap­ply a lit­tle high­lighter to the top and bot­tom of the brow bone, after you have ap­plied eye­shadow,” says Owen. If pig­men­ta­tion, red­ness or un­even skin tone are a con­cern, then stip­ple your high­lighter into place and press the shade in, but don’t rub or wipe – then you can come back and ap­ply con­cealer if needed. Don’t worry about be­ing too pre­cise in steps 2 and 3, be­cause blend­ing ul­ti­mately be­comes key to fin­ish­ing off this look.

Step 4: Blend­ing

“Once steps 2 and 3 are done, you will see two de­fined shades of colour. Blend these lines to­gether us­ing a blend­ing brush and blend, blend, blend,” ad­vises Owen. “It’s im­por­tant to pay at­ten­tion when blend­ing to ar­eas such as your hair­line (you don’t want to see pale­ness in the hair­line), tip of nose and the jaw­line. Of­ten, the spot we can’t see well, others can,” he warns. A beauty blend­ing brush or beauty sponge is a won­der­ful tool for press­ing foun­da­tion or pow­der into the ar­eas that can be hard to blend eas­ily, such as the corners of your eyes and nose. Or use your fin­gers – the warmth from them helps blend more seam­lessly. Ap­ply your eye­shadow, mas­cara, blusher and lip­stick to com­plete your look. Set with a fin­ish­ing pow­der. “This method is ideal for ev­ery­day con­tour­ing,” says Owen. “For a glam­orous evening, don’t be afraid to go heav­ier with your ap­pli­ca­tion.”

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