First, there was Kim Kardashian-style contouring—but (thankfully) the trend didn’t last. As this makeup technique becomes more and more popular, it is also getting easier to pull off, with much more natural looking results. So you can put away your flashy formula: contouring is now more discreet, created using just the tip of a makeup brush. Here is a look at the latest powder-based formulas.
The idea behind the technique
When contouring, you create areas of shadow and light in an effort to sculpt the contours of your face. First, apply a shade slightly darker than your complexion to create shadows, as well as refine your features. Then, use a different, lighter hue, on the areas of your face you wish to highlight.
More specifically: apply the darker shade to your temples, the sides of your nose, under your cheekbones, under your jaw and even on your forehead at the hairline. The highlighter is used on the cheekbones, on the top of the nose, and under the eyebrows. Adapt your application to the shape of your face, and according to the features you want to emphasize.
Although the different steps used to sculpt and emphasize different parts of your face haven’t changed, the products have evolved to make the task easier. You can purchase a single compact containing the essential products, as well as a special, often angled brush: then, simply follow the instructions. Plus, certain products also come with their own application tips.
These new products are über effective, and also subtler than ever. The end result—more defined features—is similar, but without the technique being quite as obvious.
How to do it
It is crucial to first use makeup primer, which helps minimize blemishes, smoothes the skin and gives you a matte complexion. More good news: there are also some new, super effective products in the primer department.
Then, simply apply your foundation and take a stab at the technique! And because the result can be so subtle that it’s hard to see in bathroom lighting, ensure you have an appropriate source of light before starting: natural sunlight offers the most precision.
1. Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette and Brush
In a single palette, you get three matte contouring shades, and just as many highlighters, which diffuse a very soft light. The various hues allow you to create slightly different effects, and each is customizable and can be intensified as needed. $55 and $43 at Sephora.
2. Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder
A duo of silky powders with a texture so velvety, it’s almost creamy. The result is a sculpting effect that couldn’t be more subtle, yet can be amplified as you wish. An all-around luxurious product that is also enriched with vegetable extracts and vitamins A, C, and E, it beautifies and revitalizes. Available in three shades, $59 at Sephora.
3. Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Contouring and Illuminating Powder
Two tinted universal hues by an all-powerful brand that we’ve only started to discover. One compact is used to create shadows, and the other, to highlight the features you want to emphasize. The latter has a champagne hue that couldn’t be richer, and comes in the form of a very fine powder. $75 each at Murale.
4. MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Sculpting Duo and 156 Brush
Two shimmering hues in a gel-powder formula, for beautifully radiant skin. The colours are pure, and its finish, silky smooth. Choose between two combinations: one for fairer complexions with cool undertones, and the other for darker skin with warmer undertones. So luminous, although the final result remains rather subtle. $45 and $43 at counters and Sephora.