Monday, 30 March 2015

How to contour: a guide for the cack-handed

Ignore Kim K - contouring doesn't have to be complicated

Contouring's most famous advocate is none other than Insta-queen herself, Kim Kardashian-West. But the candid snap she shared demonstrating her makeup artist's preferred technique shows layer upon layer of foundation, all in varying shades and no doubt requiring the mother of all blending sessions. As a wise woman once said: 'Ain't nobody got time for that'.

With my lazy girl makeup repertoire, I resigned myself long ago to sporting the round face Mother Nature lumped me with, and thought no more of even attempting such a long-winded technique.

But with a little guidance from the lovely people of Laura Mercier and blow LTD, I've discovered that contouring doesn't actually have to be so complicated. It's quite simple, in fact, and with the right tools and products, can be done super speedily too.

At a masterclass at blow LTD's Covent Garden salon last week, the Laura Mercier MUA demonstrated her fool-proof contouring technique using the brand's Contouring Palette, which is pretty much the ultimate where creating cheekbones is concerned. If you're strapped for cash though, as long as you avoid unfortunate orangey tones, you could always opt for a cheaper option like this palette from highstreet brand Sleek.

So, with your palette and creme cheek brush (or similar) in hand, you're good to go:

1) Using one of the matte brown shades from the palette, brush from your ear down the cheekbone towards your mouth in a striping motion. If you want to be more precise, the MUA suggested placing a folded tissue on to the cheek and following the diagonal line.

2) Use your fingers to blend the colour into your cheek for a natural finish.

3) If you don't have a fringe like me, brush a little of the brown along your hairline as well as onto your chin - this mimics where the sun would naturally hit your face.

4) If you have a rounder face, for extra defintion, you can also sweep some colour along the jaw line.

5) If you'd like to go one step further and contour your nose too, use a smaller brush and sweep some of the matte brown from the brow, down each side of the nose, then finish with a little on the tip of the nose.

6) Use the highlighter from the palette on the centre of the nose to give even further definition. You can also highlight the top of the cheekbones - this gives the skin a healthy, dewy look.

7) For a true multi-tasking makeup session, you can also add some highlighter onto the eyelids as a natural-looking shadow.

Other top tips to remember:

If you ever feel like you've gone too dark with the contouring, then use a little concealer or foundation and use a brush to buff it over the offending area.

Use a translucent powder all over the face to set the makeup, and stop it from sliding off your face.

You can also use some of the matte brown as an eyeshadow, blending it along the crease of the eye socket for a bolder (but definitely not OTT) look.

Voila! Contouring the non-Kardashian way.

Image credit for palette: