Since I’m a makeup artist who’s worked with makeup for many years, you wouldn’t think that I’d get very excited about new makeup products anymore. But, as you can probably tell from my videos, that’s definitely not the case. I think all the textures, colors, brushes, pencils, pots and eye shadows are enough to unleash the finger-paint loving five-year-old in most of us.
And the aspect of makeup that is most exciting to me is its amazing, transformative power. If you’ve ever seen those tabloid headlines that say “Stars Without Makeup” – and then looked at the photos, you know exactly what I mean!
Makeup can help our eyes look bigger and more lifted and our mouth look fuller. It can even slim our face and our nose, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on in today’s article and accompanying video.
Through the magic of just three makeup products – dark and light contour, blush and highlight – we can slim our face, chisel the jawbone and lift our cheekbones. In the video you’ll see that my foundation has done a good job of evening out my skin tone by covering up age spots and discoloration.
But after evening out my skin tone with foundation, my face has no definition or dimension: it looks flat. And that’s why even just a little bit of contouring makes such a difference. Be assured that I’m definitely not talking about the major Kim Kardashian version of contouring here! And most importantly for most of us, contouring helps the face look slimmer.
In order to create a slimmer looking face, we need to make certain areas of the face recede (or go backwards) and bring other parts forward. The areas that recede will seem to almost disappear.
To achieve that effect, we’ll use a darker color that mimics shadows. And since shadows are always cool-toned rather than warm-toned, using a darker, cool-toned contour product will make the sides of the face recede.
Contouring with makeup is basically doing what artists have done for centuries to create perspective by painting things in the foreground of a painting in lighter colors and things in the background with darker colors.
A painting by the French painter Monet titled The Luncheon – which I’ll show you in the video – is a perfect illustration of this concept. The part of the tablecloth in the painting that is closest to us is the lightest color and the walls in the back are a dark brown.
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In the video I’m first going to reduce the size of my forehead and my face by using the Fenty Beauty Match Stix contour in the shade “Amber.” This is a good, cool tone color, but there are, of course, many other similar products available.
If you don’t have more than three finger widths of forehead above your eyebrows, it’s not necessary to contour your forehead. For those of us who do, follow the video to apply some dark, cool-toned contour slightly below the hair line and then blend it up and out.
Next, to slim the sides of the face apply the contour along the areas from just below the top of the ear straight down to the jawline. Also, apply the contour right under the bottom of the cheekbone to create a hollow.
To find the right spot below the cheekbone to contour, create a “fish face.” The area of the face that gets “sucked in” is the area where contour should be applied. Another way to get the right placement is to take the contour from the top of the ear down toward the mouth, but be sure to stop at the outer corner of the eye.
Applying contour right along the very bottom edge of the jaw line also helps to camouflage any double chin appearance and tighten the look of the jaw line. Then take a buffing brush and buff everything out so it blends into the skin and there are no visible, harsh lines.
On the forehead, blend across and up. On the side of the face, blend the contour outward and upward. Along the jaw line, blend downward.
The nose can sometimes be a bit more challenging to contour for many people. The key thing is to use a cream or powder contour product that blends easily. Apply the product right along each side of the nose.
To blend in cream contour, it can be easiest to first use the fingers. Then it can be helpful to use a soft, but somewhat dense, angled eyeshadow brush to finish blending.
Two brushes I really like for this step are Real Techniques’ Insta-pop Shade Brush and Eve Pearl’s Crease Blender 205 brush. If you want an even softer look, you can take a powder puff and just press in some powder along the sides of the nose.
You could certainly just stop her because we’ve definitely slimmed down the face by making several areas recede. But if you want to create an even more slimmed down look, it helps to bring areas of the face forward that naturally protrude by highlighting these areas: the chin, Cupid’s bow, nose, cheekbones, forehead and brow bones.
To bring these areas forward use a product such as a concealer which is slightly lighter than your skin tone.
It can also help to highlight above the area where the contour was applied and below the hollow under the cheekbone. After applying the highlight product, using a damp sponge and just pouncing it on to blend in the highlight gives a really flawless look. And the sponge also picks up any excess product.
Applying blush to the apples of the cheeks can sometimes make the face look fuller, so to slim the face, start at the outer corner of the eye with the blush and go upward toward the temple. Tap the blush in with your fingers and then tap a makeup sponge over it to blend it in seamlessly. This blush application lifts the face which makes it look slimmer.
And the last step is to use a specific highlighting product like Charlotte Tilbury’s Flawless Filter or Rare Beauty’s Liquid Luminizer. These types of products will provide an even greater lift to the face due to the formula of the product and the placement of the highlight.
Dot on a cream or liquid highlight on all the highest points lightened earlier except the jawline: the top of the cheekbones, the chin, Cupid’s Bow, tip of the nose and brow bones.
This process of applying dark and light contour, blush and highlighter can help change our facial appearance by creating a slimmer and more structured, defined face and jawline with more dimension and interest. It’s subtle but definitely makes a difference.
Have you used any contouring techniques? If so, what has worked well for you? Do you have any particular contouring products you love? Do you have a favorite blush or highlighter? If so, please share.