Sunday, December 8, 2013

Antipodean Beauties: Contouring



This week's Antipodean Beauties challenge - contouring. This is often seen as a really tricky makeup technique, and is put in the "too hard" basket for some people. I used to be in this category - I never wore blush, for many years, for instance, because I wasn't sure where or how to apply it, and I was afraid of looking stupid. 

Contouring is all about using colour to shape your face - dark colours to make things look deeper, and light colours to make them look more raised. You can use these contours to give your face more symmetry - and for most people, symmetry is beauty. 

Use matte colours - anything with shine or shimmer in it is just going to make you look sweaty. Start with a light hand, and add more, a little bit at a time, to get the effect. 

The REAL trick to contouring though, and the part that usually stumps people, is how to blend all those shadows and highlights, so while they're still doing their job, they're not obviously drawn on your face. It doesn't look as though you did it - it just looks as though that's what your face looks like.

The key is blend, blend and blend some more. There really isn't anything else to it. 

For me, I have a round face - so I use contouring to make my face look more narrow - to make my nose look more fine and to give me the illusion of more prominent cheekbones. 

It makes a subtle and yet MASSIVE difference when I take the time to do it. I mean, look at this - in the left hand photo, I am just wearing foundation, and in the right hand side, I have contoured my face. 

Get out a tape measure and check if you need to - but believe me when I say my face is the same width in both photos - but my face looks significantly narrower after contouring.  My eyes look larger, and I look more awake and alert - happier even. 

When I take the time to do this people say "Wow, you're full of beans today!" and "You woke up perky this morning!". No, I just took the time to contour this morning. 

With the rest of my makeup on, the effect is still there:


I'll be honest, I probably only take the time to do this about 20% of the time, but I am getting faster and better at it. It does seem worth the effort to me. 



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