Since Kim Kardashian revealed the secret to her (too) perfectly chiselled face, beauty fans the world over have been going contour crazy, looking for the best bronzer or top technique to achieve those envious angles. I’ve been brushing up on my sculpting skills to deliver a foolproof guide to conquer contouring…
When more and more YouTube tutorials emerged last year of beauty buffs showing off how to manipulate make-up in this Hollywood style, my contour curiosity got the better of me and I took to my face with artistic brushstrokes worthy of (I thought) a gallery. However, I was yet to learn that the skills required for full Kardashian effect were a little more involved. My first attempt left me more Picasso than Monet… it was time to go back to the drawing board.
Contouring, put simply, is: using make-up to exaggerate and enhance the way shadows and light fall on your face in a flattering manner. There are tons of different ways to achieve this, and many in my opinion are best left to the stage. Kim K’s make-up artist uses multiple shades of foundation, which takes hours – time that most people simply don’t have. Since my early attempts at contouring, I’m happy to report I’ve perfected my skill through following these simple steps.
You’ll need a decent range of make-up brushes for this and it’s well worth the investment. Sets from Real Techniques – like the core collection from Boots for £21.99 – are great to get you started, and Mary Kay have a fab range that comes in a make-up scroll for safekeeping, which includes eye brushes too for £35. If you prefer the lighter coverage of a BB cream, then the ecoTOOLS brush is perfect at just £7.99 – and for pure cute appeal, the Vintage Cosmetic Company offer a range of beautiful tools, with the Airbrush Face Brush Set at just £22.50. Apply a primer to help the foundation glide on. I love Benefit’s POREfessional (£24.40, Debenhams) or for an oily complexion Murad’s Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15, £37.
Take your foundation brush and apply a thin layer of your usual product – this will give an even canvas. Now you need a foundation that’s one shade lighter. Brush a small amount to the areas the sun would naturally highlight: the bridge of your nose, between the brows, under the brow arch, the highest point of your cheeks and your lower jawline near your mouth. My favourite for this is Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation, which is available in 19 shades, £31.
Next, use a fresh brush to apply a small amount of foundation one shade darker to areas where you want to enhance shadow – your jawline from lower ear to mouth corner, stopping before your mouth, underneath your cheekbones, each side of your nose, temples, hairline, tip of the nose.
Use a cosmetic sponge or Beauty Blender £16, and start blending the areas together to create an airbrushed appearance, being careful to press onto the face with a stippling motion, to avoid smudging. Once you’re happy use a translucent or light powder to set your make-up, like Too Faced Primed & Poreless Loose Powder (£24, www.beautybay.com) or Benefit POREfessional Agent Zero Shine (£23.50, Debenhams).
Now it’s time to be bold. Use a non-shimmery bronzer or a powder darker than your usual shade – I love Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in Milk Chocolate (smells delicious!) to add further definition (£25, Boots).
Using a fluffy bronzer brush, swirl in the product, then tap the excess away before applying to the face in the shape of a ‘3’, back and forth from your temple, to cheekbone, to jawline in smooth motions, then add a little to the sides of your nose to slim the appearance.
To finish the look, use a highlighting powder, like MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade (£23, MAC) to add a touch of shine. Using a clean blusher brush, sweep over cheekbones, brow bones, the bridge of your nose, and use your finger or a small brush to add a dab to your cupid’s bow. Lord & Berry’s Luminizer Stick (£13, www.asos.com) can be used as a creamy concealer under make-up or as a highlighter to pop in your bag for touch-ups on the go.
To soften, don’t forget to add a little blusher. I like a matte blusher to keep the look natural, and Natural Collection blushers are just £1.99 in Boots! Using a brush, add a touch to the apples of your cheeks, and blend out towards your ears lightly and you’re done!