Tips and advice

Contouring - What do you really need to know.

Photo: Elena Kuznetsova / Makeup: Aleksandra Ambrozy

Photo: Elena Kuznetsova / Makeup: Aleksandra Ambrozy

     What is countering? Do we all really need this in everyday application or is it something that we should save for special events only? 

        Thanks to the Kardashians and Instagram’s “makeup artists” everyone now asks to be “contoured”. Many makeup brands have come up with new contouring products and palettes with step-by-step instructions on how to get a slimmer nose and higher cheekbones.

With all the overwhelming information many of our clients are left quite confused and discouraged, also many never learn the proper techniques by trying to follow tips of “wanna-be” You Tube makeup artists who can really only do one kind of makeup – on themselves in very controlled environment (their bedroom).

The fact is that contouring techniques have existed and have been used by professional makeup artists for many, many years.  All the Old Hollywood movie starts and classic actresses were contoured; anchors on news channels and live stage performers. Contouring was developed to add shape to a face, correct it and to add dimension in a strong light environment and on camera.

Many of us makeup artist have also have been using this technique for our bridal and special event clients; again to shape, lift and add dimension to their faces as they are photographed.  With that being said we now see more and more women who heavily contour their faces even when they just go to a grocery store….

The purpose of contouring is to create a “natural” shadow on the face which will define or shape the features. 

Be careful when choosing the product to contour with - many contouring products are the wrong shade! The color should be similar to your natural shadow. Take a look at yourself in the mirror without any makeup; what is the shade you see around your eyes, under your chin? This is the shade you should use to contour. With exception of East Indian or Black skin tones with a lot of warm undertones, most of us will be looking for a shade closer to a grey tone. I find that many of the contouring palettes are extremely warm toned! I also don’t recommend using a bronzer for contouring for the same reasons. You simply want to create a natural looking shadow on your face.


Some of my favorite contouring products include


 For creams: Smashbox


 For Powder: Charlotte Tilbury


When using a powdered contouring product use the lightest touch possible, I love a fan brush for that.

With cream products blend, blend and once more blend. You should not be able to see any harsh lines and again less is more.

In my opinion we really don’t need all of this for everyday makeup, you can get a great result with just a touch of bronzer and blush to give your face some dimension and life and leave the contouring for special occasions.

I am always a fan of natural, glowing faces!