Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Contouring Demystified

Chatting to the many beauty bloggers and twitter-folk, one of the most talked about topics is Contouring. Some people do it this way and then some do it the other way. Prior to this discussion, it never really occurred to me what a controversial and varied subject it was. So after much prompting and urging, I’ve decided to share my method.
As like most of my techniques that I employ, contouring for me is once again a multi-step technique. Think of it in a biological sense, it’ll make it easier for you to understand.
Bare-faced with only foundation

Step 1. To carve the shape out in bone.
Step 2. Add the muscle and flesh back on.
Step 3. To warm it up to a lovely blush.
Colour. Well where do we start?! Many blog posts have been written about this and personally I veer towards the colour of shadow to ‘carve’. And that for me is slightly greyish-brown with a tinge towards the dull plum shade. I actually use a product that’s not been designed for contouring but that’s my secret!
And now where to position the contour. Too many and I mean far too many place the contour far too low on the face! Ideally it should sit half way on the space between eye and jaw. Also it’s not a steep diagonal but a gentle dip, I aim for the space between nose and top lip as a guide. Any lower, you’ll end up being gaunt and it’ll drag the features and face downwards.
After you get the bone structure sorted, I ‘cradle’ the bone with a warmer skin toned shade. A bronzer or a warmer foundation will usually be perfect for this and then a little pop of blusher to tie all of it together. 
That's really all there is to say about contouring. I do all the above in the wet stages, which really means before applying powder. And if after powder, if you think you still want to do more contouring, a light dusting of bronzer in the 'hollow' of the cheek will enhance all your 'surgery' work!

So please have a read and once again, comments are welcome to discuss this most intriguing part of makeup!

21 comments:

  1. Thankyou for this post, i find contouring very hit and miss on other people, sometimes it looks great and other times it just looks wrong somehow, i think i really need more practise, love the step by step details great post x

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  2. Terrific post! But a question - does contouring work if it would take 2 men, 3 hrs and a raft of surgical instruments to find any bone structure to work from?!! If you dont have a natural "hollow" to accentuate do you just create one using this method? And as for looking gaunt, my love, what I wouldn't give for a well aimed slap of powder to make me look gaunt! Thank you again for uncovering the mysteries of using all this stuff properly! xx

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  3. I like your blog! Glad I found it!

    check out mine? I'm a photographer

    www.electricbrandon.com

    you should follow it too! Thanks :)

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  4. Thanks Brandon, that's very kind! x

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  5. @nicoletta: Thank you once again lovely! Very very kind of you to always read my ramblings. I agree but the more you practice, it becomes 2nd nature to you. I don't even think anymore when it comes to contouring. Thank you again xx

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  6. @Debbie: Now love, if it's not there, you create it. I do! U just have to be careful and make the first incision a very very fine splice and then gentle buff (there's that word again) a neutral skin tone foundation over the cut to bring it back to skin colour. Then a pop of blush over and you're good to go. I'll have to show you. Believe me, some models don't have that natural hollow too! XX

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  7. Hi - found your blog yesterday, and really enjoying it!

    Thanks for this - I'm very nervous about contouring, and accidentally looking like I've got two dirty stripes down my face! Thanks for the walkthrough - I'm going to follow your advice!

    xx

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  8. @TBBB: Don't be nervous! Just use your brush smartly. Squeeze it flat so it forms almost a fan shape and use that to do the first cut! keep it light handed and you should be ok. Thanks for reading and give me a shout if you need anything xx

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  9. Once again you are the saviour to many a novice! I'm with Debbie on the cheek issue, I'm pretty sure I haven't had a hollow in my cheeks since I was 15 and had glandular fever!! We need to get you on You Tube doing instructional videos for ding-bats like me, a la Lisa Eldridge. Another great post Kenneth x

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  10. @LeanneOCD: Haha you crack me up! Honestly if I showed you how to, you'd be like OMG why didn't I think of doing that? It's that simple. I so do not translate well on video! Already have a fat face, let alone after camera adding 10 pounds! Hehe thank you for being so supportive as always! XX

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  11. Great post. Now you've got me doubting myself. I thought I did a not perfect but ok job of contouring and now I think I'm doing a terrible job!

    Going to try it your way if I ever find a suitable colour in my stash! x

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  12. @Charlie: Well you know the product so you should be able to replicate it! Good luck and thanks for the read and comment! xx

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  13. This is a super post on contouring! The stage that is so important but still eludes me the most, lol. I'm never happy with my contouring! Thank you so much for this advice : )

    Amanda x

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  14. @Amanda: Hey Amanda, thanks and please keep at it, it becomes 2nd nature after a while. If i can be of any more help, u know how to get in touch. XX

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  15. Some good tips there, thank you. I will be practising..
    Catherine xx

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  16. @Catherine: Please please do and let me know how you get on. I'd love to see how well I have explained it. Thanks again for reading! X

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  17. The way you explained how to get the shape of the contour line and exactly where to put it has really helped, it looks much more natural. Thank you -_- I also would like to see you do a video on YouTube...maybe one day xx

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  18. @camlewis: Hey Catherine, did it work? Twitpic the result. I hope it's helped. Thanks for letting me know x

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  19. Aww, thanks so much, Kenneth! I'll let you know how I get on : ) x x

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  20. That's a gorgeous look! Definitely worth giving contouring a try - which I never have before. Oh, wait. Maybe I'll just ask you to do it for me!! ;-))

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  21. @BBB: Haha thanks for that! Yeah I could do it for you I suppose! In return, don't laugh if my self-tan goes wrong! LOL x

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