The brownbeauty Guide to Contouring


One of the biggest beauty trends last year which looks like staying this year is contouring. To contour means to enhance the natural bone structure of your face; defining your cheekbones, making them look higher and can be used to make a nose and face look slimmer. There are two ways of contouring, either with foundation or just with contouring powder, with or without a base. If you contour using foundation, you have to be a dab hand at blending because if you get this wrong it really shows. Just Google contouring images and you will see what I mean.

  • To contour you will need three colours of foundation - one in your normal skin colour, another lighter than your skin tone, to highlight and one darker than your skin tone to shade. I would suggest you use a sponge like the beautyblender, as it makes blending super easy. You will also need a big mirror and good lighting.
  • Many Women of colour already have a few shades of foundation to help with the natural differences in skin tone. Start by applying your 1st base all over then take your darker shade, suck in your cheeks and apply under the cheek bone, starting near your ear coming towards the nose. Stop where you can feel your cheekbone ends and use your sponge to blend in.
  • To blend, stipple the sponge into the face (Lightly pat or push the sponge into the face, no dragging.) till any harsh lines disappear. If you want to take the technique further, apply the darker shade down the sides of your nose around the underside of the chin and along the hairline of the forehead. Make sure you blend well.
  • Now take your 3rd lighter shade and with your sponge (a new/different or cleaned one) apply a triangle shape under the eyes, along the top of the cheekbone down to the corners of the nose and blend in with the darker shade previously applied.
  • Make another triangle of the lightest shade in between the eyebrows (to help get rid of any frown lines and give a youthful look) Apply a line down the bridge of the nose and blend. To make the most of your lip shape, add a touch of the lightest shade onto your cupids bow.
  • Now, take a step back. Have a good look at your face. Are there any harsh lines? It should all flow together seamlessly. The finished effect should be a natural enhancement of the face.
  • The contouring powders create a lighter more natural look. The contouring kits come with two colours and the highlighter usually has a lovely glow to it. Use in the same places as you would the foundation.
  • I use an angled brush to apply the darker colour and a small blusher brush to add the highlight (after I have put blusher on). To really highlight your contouring skills, why not enhance the cheekbones with some strobing. It gives a real lustre and glow. The best way to strobe is with powder highlighter.

For great results try Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit, BlackUp Contouring Stick, Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Stick Trio,  Clinique Contouring Range and Sleek MakeUP Face Contour Kit.

Happy Playing.