If you have mastered the art of applying blush and want to take it a step further, here’s how to contour your face with makeup, with a few simple steps.
If you use contouring makeup to carefully sculpt your face, you can look as if you lost 5lbs in weight, but, on the other hand, if you do it incorrectly, it can look as if you haven’t washed your face for a week!
If you are beginner with makeup, make sure you get used to wearing blush before you try anything more complicated. See How To Apply Blush Properly for help with that. Otherwise here’s how to contour your face.
Choose the Right Colors
You can buy contouring makeup where you get highlighter, blush and shading all in one palette but chances are that one or more of the colors might not suit you, so it is better to choose separate items unless you can find a face contouring makeup set that is exactly right. The one shown above has several colors if you want to experiment. It’s by It Cosmetics and is called the My Sculpted Face Palette. You can buy it on Amazon.
If you’re choosing individual colors, they will need to be visible to have an effect but will also need to blend properly with your skin tone and base makeup. Don’t use blush to shade as it can make you look gaunt. Unless you want a gaunt look, blush is for adding a bloom of fresh color only. As a rule, use a foundation or powder slightly darker than your usual color for contouring the face.
Ivory skin tones need a soft pink for blush and a light beige for shading one or two shades darker than your usual foundation.
Pink skin tones need a warm peach for blush and again a light beige for shading a bit darker than your usual base.
Yellow skin tones need a peachy/coral blush and a honey color for shading
Dark olive and black skins can use a tawny or fudge colored blush and a bronze color for shading.
Apply blusher in the usual way to emphasize your cheekbones (or look as if you have some) by applying to the apple of the cheeks ready for blending. See How to Apply Blush Properly
Apply Shading Color
Apply your shading color in foundation or powder just under the blush in the natural hollows. (Suck in your cheeks to find them). Don’t apply all the way to the hairline or too low towards the jaw. Experiment to get the right effect on your face.
Blend And Blend Again
Now you have patches of color on your face and you will be looking quite strange. Blend the blush towards the temple and slightly into the shaded area. Blend the darker shaded area into the rest of your base (not into the blush area) and then blend again to avoid looking like you have smudges of dirt on your face. Be very careful to avoid “tide marks”. This will take some practice before you go out in public!
Highlight the top of the cheekbones just above the blusher (and not overlapping) with a small amount of highlighter. Blend carefully again.
Balance the Effect
You may need to balance the look with a touch of the darker shade at the temple (also at the jawline if you have a square shaped face with broad jaw area or a round shaped face).
Do You Need to Contour Your Face?
These are quite sophisticated makeup techniques used by professional makeup artists. When they apply contour makeup, they will adapt the application slightly to suit your face shape, adding more highlighting or blush to areas they want to emphasize and shading the areas of your face they want to recede.
In 99 cases out of a 100 you will look fantastic with a quick 1 minute blush application (done properly) and you won’t need to spend an extra 5 minutes carefully contouring your face with blush and/or shade color and making sure that your makeup is properly blended so that the telltale shading doesn’t show.
These more advanced techniques are more appropriate for camera work than for popping down to the local store for a pound of potatoes. Contour makeup looks great in the images you see in magazines because the models are already photogenic with cheekbones to die for and the face contouring just emphasizes what is already there. It is not creating cheekbones out of thin air.
If you practice until you have the effect you want with your own face you can make a difference, but, in many cases, if you wear all those products every day, you will look like you are wearing too much makeup and will be less attractive with the shading than without it. The amount of makeup doesn’t show up in images or on the catwalk of course because of the specialist lighting used.
I would never use contour makeup for a normal evening out and I’ve only included the instructions for completeness in case you want to experiment. After all, you never know when you will need perfectly sculpted cheekbones for a hot date with Brad Pitt! Normal guys on the other hand, so research shows, prefer you without too many layers of war paint. And maybe Brad does too if the truth be told so use face contouring at your own risk!