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How to contour: 6 makeup tips
The beauty of highlighting and contouring makeup goes beyond faking a chiseled, sculpted face shape. “It warms up your skin tone at the same time, so you have a nice glow going on too,” says Crystal Phillip, a makeup stylist at MYNC Lash Lounge and Brow Bar in Toronto. The trick to contouring properly is becoming familiar with your face shape, she says. “And good natural lighting is key.”
Phillip shares her expert makeup tips on how to contour properly and give your skin a natural, beautiful glow.
1. Know your face. How the light falls on your face and creates natural shadows is different for everyone. “You pretty much need to know your face shape, and what you want to enhance and what you want to hide,” says Phillip. Go at it from a makeup artist’s perspective: “When I look at someone’s face, I look at everything, I analyze eyes, cheekbone, jawline, and see what I want to play up.”
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2. Keep skin well moisturized. Especially when highlighting and contouring, “It’s really important to moisturize because sometimes when you deposit powder, it can look cakey,” says Phillip. An expert winter skin care tip? Mix up yogurt and avocado to create a paste. “Leave on the face for 20 minutes. It’s super hydrating,” says Phillip. “The fatty acids from the avocado are really good for nourishing and moisturizing skin.”
In the morning, cleanse and moisturize skin, then apply primer before highlighting and contouring. “It leaves a smooth, fresh face and covers pores.”
3. Start with foundation. Whichever formulation you use—liquid, powder—apply with a large fluffy brush, and start working in the middle of the face, between the brows. “The areas that you’re going to focus on is along the cheekbone—it’s going to highlight and create a contrast and slimming effect,” says Phillip. “Then go along the jawline, forehead, and little bit along the temples.” Finish up by brushing on the chin and down the nose.
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4. Contour your face shape. Take a flat dome brush to deposit more colour when contouring, and use a bronzer to carve out your natural bone structure (be sure to shake out the brush after applying product to avoid depositing too much colour to the skin). “I would go three shades darker than your skin tone,” says Phillip. “You don’t want it to look too obvious.”
Again, get familiar with your natural face shape. When contouring cheekbones, make a fish face and follow along underneath with your brush. Apply in soft, upward strokes. “Blend, blend, blend—that’s the key technique.” It can also double as a blush. Then work downward toward the neck, focusing on the jawline. Finish up with a few strokes softly along the temples. “There’s a lot of playing around,” she says.
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5. Highlight to brighten up your skin tone. Choose a highlighter that’s 1-2 shades lighter than your natural skin tone. Smile, and focus right on the cheekbone when applying. “That way it’s the first thing you see when you smile,” she says. Apply to the brow bone to accentuate your brows. You can even take your concealer at this point and draw along the middle of the forehead, down the nose and over the chin and eyelids. “Just make sure you’re blending.” Finish up your soft daytime look with a dusting of flush-coloured blush along the apples of the cheeks (again, smile first to get that natural, pretty finish).
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6. Make it a nighttime look. Go for a stronger contouring for a night out or whenever you’ll be in a dark setting. Simply trace over what you’ve already created. “Darken up the look by adding more,” says Phillip. “Then fill in brows to make them pop.”