Why Contouring Is Still Your Secret Weapon (The ‘Trend’ May Be Over, But It’s Quick & Handy Whatever Your Age)

2016 was undoubtedly the year we reached ‘peak contour’ with every blogger, celebrity, makeup brand and instagrammer embracing this simple way to add light and shade to the face. We all rushed out to stock up on anything and everything that offered a way to buff pounds off our cheeks, but according to the queen of contouring Kim Kardashian, in late 2016 the trend was officially over. However, six months later she’s launched her own range of products and has proved that contouring is still very much here to stay – even if in a slightly different form to what we’ve previously been used to. If you’ve been living under a rock (or just decided that contouring isn’t for you,) then this technique is simply a way of using light and dark to create depth and shape to your face; Kim herself has used it to essentially change her face shape, slim her nose and chisel those iconic cheekbones, while there are over 800,000 video results on YouTube that help you perfect the technique. It’s big news and even bigger business.

Although it can be scary (not helped by the fact Instagram is awash with 20-somethings piling it on like its going out of fashion,) if used effectively and subtly, contouring can be a secret weapon for anyone – whether you’re 18 or 80. It can help enhance your features, slim down ones you don’t want to focus on, add definition or even take years off your complexion. The modern and fresh way to embrace contouring is with less precision, a lighter tone and the focus being on adding a sunkissed flush to skin rather than depth that makes you look like Skeletor. “The basic principal of this technique involves highlighting and creating shade. Therefore, everything you highlight ‘comes forward’ and everything you contour ‘stays in the background’. So in short, you want to highlight your good features and contour the ones you want to hide,” says pro makeup artist Daniel Sandler.

You can even use contouring to add fullness to cheeks (which can often be lost as we age,) or conceal a slightly saggy jawline that’s not as defined as it once was. Personally I use contouring most days to help my complexion look fresh, to add definition to my jawline and add fullness to my cheeks; using an angled brush helps to aid application along the cheekbones and circular motions ensure there are never any harsh lines. To help even beginners among you, Daniel has created Sculpt & Slim (£26.50), an easy-to-use pressed powder dual-purpose contour kit that helps create the illusion of defined cheekbones and a slimmer face. With two universal shades and a super soft blendable texture, it’s super easy to use and doesn’t leave you feeling uneasy about creating so much contrast.

DANIEL’S TOP TIPS FOR PERFECTING THE ART OF CONTOURING:

1. Look for matte products that are slightly darker than your skin tone – but not too dark or it will look obvious and theatrical!

2. Choose the correct professional formula that suits your way of applying. Cream textures work well for those who like using fingers, whereas those who prefer brushes should use a pressed powder formula. Remember that using a synthetic brush to apply liquids or creams will create a more sculpted, contoured finish – whereas using your fingers will provide a softer, healthier glow. 3. Sweeping sculpting powder along the jaw line creates the illusion of a slimmer face; blend the powder softly down onto the neck to avoid a tide-line. Using a small eyeshadow brush, apply the same contour powder through the eye sockets to set back over-hanging lids. Gently shade around the sides of the nose to help it look slimmer, while applying contour under cheekbones adds youthful definition and reduces the look of puffiness.4. Contrast against the sculpting by applying a light dusting of highlighting powder above it. This adds a ‘lift’ to your features.5. Practice makes perfect and always apply contour in even light so you can really see what you’re doing.6. If you over-apply when using powder, simply blend away any excess by sweeping some translucent powder over the mistake. If you over-apply when using a cream formula, use your foundation brush to blend and tone down the error.

The huge trend of contouring like your life depends on it may be over, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t benefit from a little subtle light and shade to bring out our best features. The key is to create an effortless look that’s blended beautifully, rather than creating strong contrast that can easily look dated… And finding products along the way that help us do that without breaking a sweat.

Are you a fan of contouring? Will you be embracing this effective and easy way to enhance your features?

Daniel Sandler’s Sculpt & Slim is priced £26.50 and available online.

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6 Comments

  1. Candice Petersen
    July 21, 2017 / 7:35 am

    Countouring makes such a huge difference, definitely something I still do oftenBeauty Candy Loves

    • Hayley Carr
      July 21, 2017 / 11:49 am

      Me too – when I have the time (and inclination!)

  2. Pam Scalfi
    July 21, 2017 / 10:12 am

    I use to contour religiously every single day. I've now walked away from that as I got bored of the same look and instead now just use a bronzer all over with sparkly pigments for a more healthy summer glow. I may go back to contouring in the fall but for now, I'm taking a break :)Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    • Hayley Carr
      July 21, 2017 / 11:50 am

      I think that's a good point – maybe contouring is more of AW and bronzer/highlighter is more SS? I love a good contour, but only really in the evenings or when I'm doing outfit shots 😉

  3. Anika May
    July 21, 2017 / 11:59 am

    I've literally never contoured because I can barely do eyeliner, but after this post I totally feel like I should jump on the trend!Anika xo | anikamay.co.uk

  4. The Makeup Feed
    July 21, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    I still haven't gotten the hang of contouring, but sometimes I love the way it looks!xx, The Makeup Feed

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