Follow the Hollow.

Contouring has become a definite buzz word in the last year or so in the beauty world and I am having increasing amounts of clients desperately seeking advice on how to cheat chiseled cheekbones. We are swamped by pictures of girls on social media sporting an array of scarily dark stripes and white highlights all over their face which are then magically buffed away and out pops a bone structure that would make even Kim Kardashian envious. For those of you who are unsure Contouring works by creating the illusion of shadows and so grey/brown toned products are applied to various areas of the face to withdraw while a highlight will exaggerate and bring out and so the combination of the two is what has the power to completely alter how your face shape is perceived. I have done a previous blog post on how and where best to highlight, including my top product recommendations and so do check that out to compliment this post and achieve ultimate results-

I trained originally in theatrical make up and actually contouring is a very powerful tool that has been used by theatrical make up artists for yonks to create character make up, in theatre the stronger the better and I guess what I most of all have to stress with contouring like you see in these social media clips, it looks great on stage, amazing on camera but actually face to face you might look a little strange at best and worst- a tad grubby with all those muddy/grey tones lurking under your cheekbones. And so today I will be touching on technique and where to apply for a natural, wearable contour. The results may not be as dramatic as some of the images you've seen but you’ll look a dam sight better in person I promise. 

I mentioned earlier using a grey/brown tone to sculpt, this is so important. The most common mistake made is to solely use a bronzing powder to contour, of course a little bronzer will slightly sculpt the face in the fact that in most cases it will be considerably darker than your complexion but to concentrate your bronzer under your cheekbone will most definitely result in a helluva lot of bronzer and a muddy build up of product that’ll look either Dale Winton or a little like you need a bit of a scrub. Use a little bronzer as always, applied to all the high points of the face and anywhere you would naturally catch the sun first and then use a contouring specific product like the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, £35. A beautifully silky powder that makes blending a dream with a perfectly natural grey, brown tone that mimics a believable shadow worthy of a week long juice diet bonanza. This is the only sculpting product I use in my kit and this one shade definitely suits all. I apply using my Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush, £35 it’s tapered end allows for easily sculpting and enhancing the hollows of the face while its soft bristles effortlessly blend the product meaning you can forget about any giveaway clumps of product cropping up and the dreaded mars bar stripes appearing. 

To find the correct place to contour your cheekbones you can simply suck in your cheeks or I prefer to use the length of my sculpting brush, turning it so its bristle end is facing downwards and line the end of the brush running from the top of my ear through to the corner of my mouth. This works as a perfect indication of where a good sunken cheekbone should sit. Have a good poke and prod of your face and feel where your cheekbone is-*yup I have some under there somewhere!* using both these techniques run the product under your natural cheekbone and do not panic if it looks strong at first. Use your brush in a circular motion to soften and buff in the pigment, always buff downwards as a posed to upwards as to successfully contour the lower part of the face and jawline, anything coming higher than the cheekbone and too close to the under eye will result in a grey looking complexion, instead save that spot for your mega watt highlighter. 

Always apply a little blush onto the apples of the cheeks after bronzer and contouring to add a pop of colour to your complexion. Everyone benefits from a little blush to lift and brighten the face and especially when using lots of warm, darker pigments it stops the skin from looking overly warm and ultimately flat. 

Of course you can contour other areas of the face, a little shadowing down the sides of the nose will shrink and straighten, use your sculpting powder through the eye socket crease for added definition- I could go on, the pictures below demonstrate where to contour also remember the rule as mentioned before, contouring takes away and highlighters bring out and so use that philosophy and adapt it to your face. Personally- I always sweep a little contour onto the temples to give the illusion of a smaller, less rounded face (!!) and absolutely take whats left on the brush under the jawline to eliminate any damage done by my weekly great british bake off snacks fest. 

Hope that helps guys, remember keep it natural and follow the hollow. 


Bryony DaltonComment