The Kardashian effect
The origin of the contouring craze can be traced to one moment: when Kim Kardashian West posted a picture of herself with bizarre streaky makeup on Instagram.
Her makeup artist at the time, Scott Barnes, explains: “We were on a photo shoot, and Kim said, ‘People are always picking on me, saying that I’ve had plastic surgery. I think we should post that it’s all contouring. Everybody will go crazy over it.’ She was basically saying, ‘Haters, if you want to know what contouring is, this is what it is.’
It was just an iphone picture, and Kim was like, ‘All right, I’m going to press send!’ She posted it on her Instagram and, within 24 hours, the photo went viral globally. Everyone was like, ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!’ But contouring isn’t new. I didn’t invent the wheel. Back in the ’70s, it was the same thing. I’m really into skin that looks chiselled, lean and expensive, and contouring really does help in photography. Once I had done that on Kim, it’s funny how it all blew up and took off. It created a movement in cosmetics.”