The perfect makeup

stellar appeal

The perfect makeup

Ever since reality TV star Kim Kardashian took to the Internet with her contouring makeup pictures, the cosmetic industry is reeling under its effect. The contouring products used by the celebrity are flying off the shelves. Kim also held a 50-step contouring class for a select few in Pasadena, California. Yes, her contouring routine involves 50 rigorous steps. Who said makeup was easy?

In case you are wondering what the excitement is all about, here’s everything you need to know about the latest makeup technique. Imagine your face with sharp cheekbones, chiselled jawline, perfect nose and a sexy pout — that right there is what contouring can give you.

“Contouring is all about drawing attention to your facial features so that it gives an appearance of a strong jawline, defined cheekbones and a slimmer face. The parts of the face those are generally contoured include the sides of the forehead, the sides of the nose, underneath the cheekbones and underneath the jawline,” explains Lori Leib, creative director, Bodyography.

Sonic Sarwate, global senior artist, MAC India, further adds, “Contouring is used to enhance facial features using different textures and shades for a 3D effect. It can also be used for corrective makeup, such as making the cheekbones look more prominent.”

So, is it just about highlighting the best features of our faces, wherein we compensate for our big noses or small cheekbones? “No, highlighting usually is done with a lighter colour, either in a satin or shine texture. It is used to brighten the area of the face and create the illusion of the area looking bigger by reflecting or dispersing light, whereas contouring utilises a darker colour that absorbs light, creating the illusion of a smaller and
deeper area,” says Sabrina Suhail, a makeup artist and entrepreneur.

One of the biggest advantages of contouring has been its universal appeal for all types of skin tones and face shapes. It doesn’t matter if your face is long or short, fair or dark, contouring is for everybody. “If someone has dry skin, they could go in for cream-based contours, whereas someone with oily skin can use powders. Combination skin types can get away with either of these formulas. The key to getting the right look is to make sure that the blending is done perfectly,” maintains Lori.

The right way

Let’s start with the products needed first: liquid foundation, a concealer, blush, powder, bronzer, angled brush and a blending sponge. Start with foundation, one shade lighter for highlighting and two-three shades darker for contouring. Suck your cheeks in and apply the lighter foundation focusing more on the areas that need some effort. Then, apply the darker foundation under the hollow of your cheekbones, sides of your nose, edges of your jawline and the top portions of your forehead. Now, with a blending brush, blend the darker foundation in an outward fashion. You can also find many contouring sticks these days that can give you that perfect shape and angle. If your blending leads to too harsh an appeal, apply some highlighter or translucent powder and blend again.
Lori gives some quick tips for effective contouring:

 For a sharper nose, shade on either side of the nasal bone. You can also make your nasal bone more prominent by applying a thin layer of concealer on it.

 If you have prominent cheeks, starting from the outermost edge of your cheekbones shade under the cheekbones and towards your mouth. Blend the edges into your cheeks.

 For a well-defined jawline, shade from the outermost edge under your cheekbones, up to three-quarters of the way to your chin, following a line from under your cheekbones to your chin, curving towards your chin halfway. Lightly shade under your chin, just below your jawline.

To narrow down a broad forehead, gently shade the sides, as well as the top of your forehead along the hairline.

While contouring does have its look-altering effects, it also leaves the field open for many mistakes. One of the major areas you could go wrong in here is choosing the foundation shade. Opting for very dark shades can mean disaster. Another thing to keep in mind is to blend correctly. Don’t let the contoured lines show, otherwise you will end up looking like a science experiment gone wrong!

Like a clown

The latest trend in contouring is something called clown contouring, wherein you apply your foundation, concealer and powder at the right places, all at once and then blend it together. Sabrina explains, “This is something like face mapping, where you know the exact placements of contour, highlight, concealer colour and blush. And then you use either a beauty blender or stippling brush to blend the entire thing together, to give a flawless look.”

If you thought contouring was only limited to your face, think again! Your body can be contoured too. Body contouring (without surgery) involves giving an attractive shape to arms, legs, thighs, breasts and the neckline. “For instance, applying bronze powder on the top of the breasts will make it appear firmer and give a hint of cleavage,” describes Lori.

Similarly, you can slim down your neck or make your collar bones stand out or even create the illusion of strong arms with some simple contouring techniques.
To help you get started, here are some expert tricks:

 Choose a contouring colour that is two-three shades darker than your skin colour.
To know where to contour, suck in your cheeks and contour only within the
hollows that it creates. It is essentially an invisible line from the top of the ear to the corner of the mouth.

Blend the contour and highlight to form a gradation of dark into light.
Always contour the areas of your face that you want to push back.
Choose a matte or satin texture for contouring.
Start with powder if you are a beginner and you can slowly move on to cream products as well.
Now, say bye to your makeup worries.

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