Contouring – or, kontouring as it were — is something which often terrifies cosmetic newbies. But fear not! It’s not hard… when you know how.
A full face of contour is a little much in the summer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cast makeup magic and sculpt and snatch our faces for some summertime glam. The trick to summer contour is keeping it light.
The basic principle of contouring is to apply lighter and darker shades to your face to create illusions that change or define the shape of your face. This sounds tricky, I know, but with a little practice you can soon be doing a summer contour like a pro.
Apply a light base before starting. Bear in mind that, in summer, less is more so avoid heavy foundations or cakey powders as once you start to sweat they will struggle to cope. A light mousse foundation or a tinted moisturiser is a great option for a light base. Apply this across your entire face with a damp beauty sponge, and allow it to dry.
Select a concealer no more than two shades lighter than your skin tone. If you opt for a brighter shade than this, it’ll look strange against the rest of your skin. Dot a little under your eyes, creating a triangle effect from halfway down your nose and back up to the side of your eye. Blend this out with a beauty sponge. The idea is to brighten the centre of the face, making you look more youthful and awake.
Apply a little of the same concealer across your chin, down the bridge of your nose and in the centre of your forehead. In the summer I favor using a stick concealer as its less cakey than a liquid concealer. Blend this into the base using the same damp sponge you used under your eyes. Once dry, dust your face with a light setting powder to prevent this from moving around as you sweat.
Once your base is set, you can begin to contour. Because this is a lighter, more natural sun-kissed look, I would purely use bronzer here. For a full contour, I’d opt for a contouring stick or powder, but this can be overwhelming in the summer.
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Let the contouring begin!
Taking an angled brush, apply bronzer into the hollows under your cheekbone sweeping back towards your ears following the line beneath your cheekbones. Now, take a compact bristle contouring brush and apply the same colour up the temples and across the outside of your forehead on each side. Keep just inside your hairline as you’re creating definition by the illusion of shadow.
Taking a small brush, apply a little of the same bronzer down the sides of your nose. Apply sparingly in a line tracing the sides of the bridge of your nose to frame the concealer you just applied.
Using a thick contour blending brush, blend the bronzer out. Use sweeping motions and keep a light hand to blend the lines upwards from beneath your cheek bone into your skin. Work it until there is no definition to the line at all. As you turn your face, it should look like shadow giving you cut cheekbones.
Pro-tip: A long cheek contour can look severe and aging. Finish your contour under the apple of your cheek.
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Summer look, done.
Use circular motions to blend the colour into your temples and across either side of your forehead, leaving the center of your face light and the outside slightly darker. This creates definition and shape.
Take a fluffy brush (I use a shadow crease brush for this), and blend the lines either side of your nose out. Blend for your life! There should be no definition to any of the lines after you’ve blended.
You can take nose contouring one step further by using the same shade and original brush to apply a little V beneath the tip of the nose. This creates a shadow beneath the nose forcing an illusion of a button nose. Again and again: don’t forget to blend. Nobody needs to be going on cam with dark stripes up their face.
Now we have definition to our face. It’s time to finish the look. Sweep a little summery blush across the apples of your cheeks. Resist the urge to go mad here. It’s just a little sun kissed color, not a full sunbed. On top of this, using a fan brush, sweep a natural looking highlight. This will finish the look and create a little more definition. This can also be applied to the cupid’s bow, brow bone and tip of the nose for extra glow.
Contouring doesn’t need to be scary. Use these tips to play with adding some definition to your look — you’ll be amazed how much difference a little light contour can make!
Katy Seymour is a super-sex-positive writer in the U.K. who believes kink is life. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No one contours like Mario!
Image via Ian Beeby.